Top Three Reasons Why I Include Local Keywords in my Website
- More and more users include local terms in their search queries
- Search engines use your location to determine the relevance of search results
- By narrowing down your competition to a smaller area, you increase your chances of ranking well
You probably have noticed that it is getting increasingly harder to rank well on search engines like Google. Your competition grows everyday, and I am not even talking about direct competitors with similar services and products, but about other websites that publish similar content to yours. Search algorithms get more and more complicated and factor in a diverse range of clues to show the user relevant results.
This makes it almost impossible for small businesses to compete online for a ranking that is truly worth pursuing. Almost all important keywords are already taken and many websites have gone through great lengths to ensure they keep their positions.
You can overcome this by shifting your focus from optimizing single keywords to whole sentences – like questions – or keyword combinations (although this is also becoming more difficult). This technique is called “long tail keyword” optimization and can be combined into your local SEO strategy.
While website owners try to keep up with the new algorithms, the search engines try to keep up with the website owners in order to show relevant results to its users. You can experience this in full effect when searching for a “barber shop.” Even if you only Google “barber shop” and leave out your city name – Google will only show you nearby results. If you add your own city name, even more results from your area will show up.
The search engines basically have a dilemma when trying to identify your best search results. While backlinks are still a huge ranking factor, this can not be the determining factor for the search engines any longer. They have become too smart to just show the website with the best overall ranking. In fact – for small businesses, the opposite is mostly true: They do not have a high authority ranking in terms of backlinks – however, they would be your most relevant result. People in Cleveland, Ohio will most certainly not care about a barber shop somewhere on the other side of the country. They are looking for somebody in the neighborhood like Tremont, Shaker Heights or somewhere else on the East-side.
Another prime example that shows why local SEO is very important revolves around the local index-type platforms that aim to list all businesses in one area. These are usually focused on one specific industry and have already claimed a majority of local rankings. With their strong focus on local aspects, they are often times many steps ahead of the local businesses themselves. The local businesses now have basically no chance aside from signing up on that platform and creating an entry for themselves, in order to not stay behind (i.e. Angie's List). And many of these platforms offer premium entries; welcome to paid space.
With a nationwide platform that is executing a local strategy, they often take the ranks before any local website. They have two advantages: user generated and crawled content as well as their combination of all local results under one “global” or nationwide platform. However, their success in stealing local companies search rankings, highlights the importance and relevance of local optimization.
And we can learn from them: if you are a local business with a nationwide service – why not try to take over a region or city that has not been saturated already? Instead of writing content directed towards an audience all over the United States, you could tailor your content to specific regions and make it more meaningful to search engines. Once your ranking picks up in one region, your overall traffic increases as well and with the right strategy, local users can become multipliers for your content. Besides the search engine optimization, online marketing gurus like Neil Patel have also discovered that landing pages convert a lot better when they are localized.
That being said, you can check out one of these articles to dig in deeper on how and why you should optimize your website for local audiences.