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FREE online SEO course: Local SEO Course with Greg Gifford 

What is Local SEO

10 lessons


What Is Local SEO and Why Is It Important for Your Business?

Hey, I'm Greg Gifford! In this lesson, the first in the Local SEO course, we're going to be talking about how Local SEO is different from regular SEO and why it's important.

Most people don't realize that Google uses multiple algorithms to return search results. Search engine optimization, commonly called SEO, is the strategy of optimizing signals on and off a website to influence how the site shows up when certain keywords are searched for.

When most marketers and business owners talk about SEO, they're talking about regular, traditional SEO that targets Google's traditional algorithm.Google uses a different algorithm to return localized search results, and Local SEO is the strategy of optimizing signals to target that specific algorithm.

How Google's Local Algorithms Work

Google is able to analyze the gazillions of queries it receives, and it's figured out that for certain business types, even when the user doesn't include any geographic modifiers in a search query – something like a city, a neighborhood, or a phrase like 'near me' or 'nearby' - that user still needs search results in the local area.

I love to use the pizza example here, and not just 'cause pizza is delicious… If you're in a new town and you need to get a pizza, you'd pop on to Google and do a search for something like 'pizza delivery'. Google will show you pizza joints that are nearby, even though you didn't specify a location.

That's Google's local algorithm in action. Even if the best SEO in the world optimized a pizza restaurant in New York City, Google's algorithm is smart enough to only show you pizza spots in your immediate area.

How to Make Sure the Local Algorithm Applies to Your Business

Any business with a physical storefront or that serves customers in a particular geographic area needs Local SEO. The easiest way to check whether the local algorithm applies to your business is with a quick Google search. Search for a handful of your most important keywords and check out the search results.

If you see a map pack – a map with three results underneath, that's a clear signal that the local algorithm returned those results, and that means your business needs Local SEO.

But Local SEO isn't only about the map pack. With Local SEO, you're also targeting localized organic results and searches on Google Maps. Your business's physical location is important, as is proximity – how far away you are from the user who's doing the search.

The radius for local search results varies greatly between different verticals and even different cities. Typically, the more concentrated the competition, the smaller the search radius will be.

In later lessons in this course, we'll cover the important signals that influence your visibility in local searches.

Introduction to Local SEO: Lesson Summary

So that's it for Lesson 1 of the Local SEO course, we hope you learned something awesome. If you've got any questions, feel free to tweet them to me directly at @greggifford, or the awesome team of pros over at the SEMrush academy at @semrushacademy.

Don't forget to check out the next lesson, and when you think you're ready, head over to the SEMrush Academy page and take the test for this course so you can get officially SEMrush certified.