SEO location targeting is crucial for all businesses looking to attract customers from specific geographical areas. Over the years, search engines like Google have become better at optimizing results for specific locations based on where the user is searching from.
Mobile searches tend to deliver results from close locations, while desktop searches often cover wider areas. Prospect customers may also use specific location-optimized search words. Here’s an overview of location-based SEO, how it works, and how to leverage it for your business.
What Is SEO Location Targeting?
Also known as geo-targeting, location targeting is precisely what the phrase suggests; targeting specific locations with your website. Optimizing the website for local searches makes more sense than targeting global traffic if you rely on walk-in customers.
SEO location targeting involves optimizing your website, pages, and content to appear for the targeted geographical area. Say you own a restaurant in Philadelphia. You can optimize the restaurant website to appear on searches from people in Philadelphia.
Web content can also target specific keywords and phrases people use when searching for restaurants in Philadelphia. Like standard SEO, location-based SEO involves keyword optimization, link building, directory and citation building, and more to rank highly for specific local searches.
How Does Location-Based SEO Work?
SEO location targeting differs slightly from traditional SEO due to a difference in ranking factors. Local ranking factors place a heavier weight on Distance, Relevance, and Prominence (learn more about that here in Google’s documentation). Google takes into account the proximity of your business in relation to the location-based search query, how relevant your business is to the intent of the search query, and the reviews and social signals associated with your business website. If a user searches “restaurant in Philadelphia,” they expect results featuring reputable restaurants in the area.
Businesses can target customers from a specific location or those looking for products and services in particular areas. Google and other search engines also use location information to determine where users are searching. The engine will then optimize results to feature businesses in close vicinity.
6 Ways To Utilize Location-Based SEO
SEO location targeting can help your business rank highly for locally-optimized searches. The main benefit of targeting customers from specific locations is higher conversion rates. Here are six ways to leverage Google’s SEO location targeting for your business:
1. Use SEO Regional Keywords
Also known as location-specific keywords, SEO regional keywords refer to any search phrase with a location. They offer a powerful way to optimize your website and pages for prospects in a given area. If you sell used cars in Utah, you may include the following keywords:
- “used cars Utah”
- “Utah used cars”
- “best used cars Utah”
- “affordable used cars in Utah,” and more
Marketers should consider your postcode, town, and general area. Keywords are at the heart of all SEO, especially when targeting specific geographical regions. They should also research the target location to understand the local vocabulary search patterns.
2. Use Google Business Profile
A Google Business Profile (previously known as a Google My Business) offers a free tool for any business looking to manage their online presence across the engine. Having a complete profile makes it possible for users to find your business on Google Maps and Search, so you need to fill the profile accurately.
To optimize your Google Business Profile, complete the different sections using your location on the landing page. Important information to feature includes the business’s name, short description, address, hours open/closed, phone/contact number, and more.
You can also include information about the business, reviews from past customers, and the latest news. The Google Business Profile should be up-to-date with clear information people can use to learn more about your business. Your location should also be owner-verified.
3. Use Top-Level Domain (TLD)
There are two primary types of top-level domains; country code top-level domain and generic top-level domain. Country-code top-level domain (ccTLD) refers to two-letter codes indicating the website’s country, region, or territory.
Popular examples of ccTLDs include .us for the United States, .ca for Canada, .uk for the United Kingdom, .cn for China, .de for Denmark, and .sg for Singapore. You can use country code top-level domains to target international locations.
ccTLDs also help search engines recognize the country you are operating from or targeting. Generic top-level domains feature generic suffixes, such as .com, .org, .edu, and more. In short, a ccTLD and generic TLD can help to optimize your website for specific countries.
4. Join Local Directories and Forums
Search engines, like Google, pull location information from various sources. Popular sources include TLDs, URLs, IP address data, links, web traffic, business profile, published content, and online directories. For local businesses, aim to get listed in relevant local directories and forums to help capture location-based searches.
Participating in such forums will make your business visible across multiple platforms and searches. Make sure the company is adequately described and optimized with location-specific keywords and content. Providing vital business information, like an address, phone number, directions to the business location, and descriptions of the products and services is essential for a successful local SEO campaign.
The goal is to build local business citations and appear in relevant map packs and location-specific searches. You should also build links from other authority local businesses to your website. Try to get more companies in the target location to mention/recommend your site.
5. Leverage Local Search Ads
While this doesn’t directly impact SEO, geotargeted ads on Google can help your business rank for location targeting. You can leverage Google ads to bring your business to the forefront of local searches for specific keywords. Local search ads result in more store visits and include options for customers to call your location. Ads also generate faster results than SEO, so incorporating advertising into your marketing strategy can help obtain leads more quickly while SEO generates sustainable value over time.
People can use photos, descriptions, and customer reviews to learn more about your business, address, and open hours. Ads feature standard cost-per-click charges, so you should set aside a budget for local search ads on Google and other search engines.
6. Review Your Competitor’s Profiles
Optimizing a website for a specific location requires thorough research of the target market. Marketers should also observe and learn from their competitors. If another company is successful with its local SEO and geotargeting, you should check what they are doing right.
Competition is always a source of insights, especially if they successfully target the same location as your business. Borrowing from others allows you to gain a competitive edge and leverage the most successful SEO methods.
Google allows you to check other companies’ business profiles to identify their keywords. You should also explore competitor websites to learn more about their SEO antics, including content and link strategies.
Google SEO location targeting is essential for successful local business performance. If you target customers from a specific area, you must optimize your website and business presence for those customers. Location-specific keywords, listings, and Google business profiles are the top solutions for marketers. It’s also advisable to work with a reputable SEO company. Learn more about Boostability’s white label SEO program and the approach we take with providing our partners with data-driven campaigns for their clients.