Hyperlocal SEO: All You Need to Know to Get It Right
Hyperlocal marketing is every small business’s ace under the sleeve: a Google results page (or SERP) is one of the most competitive places on the Internet, but hyperlocal strategies make it a lot less so.
For years, it was taken as gospel truth that massive corporations would always have an advantage over small businesses; after all, they are the ones with the budget, the people, and the access to industry tools.
However, the status quo began changing when Google’s algorithm started favouring local SEO and, lately, hyperlocal SEO. So what exactly is hyperlocal SEO? Before exploring the concept, let’s start by defining local SEO.
What is local SEO? What is the difference from traditional SEO?
Both traditional and local SEO aim at improving a website’s visibility and ranking in online search results so more people can find it, make contact, and purchase from it. While traditional SEO focuses on national or global scale rankings, local SEO allows you to capture regional search territory.
Most small businesses are locally or regionally owned and operated; because local SEO operates on a separate algorithm, large, national businesses are at a distinct disadvantage when it comes to being featured in local results.
What is the difference between local SEO and hyperlocal SEO?
In a nutshell, local SEO targets cities and regions whereas hyperlocal SEO targets smaller areas within them, such as communities, neighbourhoods, streets, landmarks, etc. This makes hyperlocal SEO much more targeted than local SEO.
How does the hyperlocal SEO algorithm work?
Results based on the searcher’s location appear for people who search for businesses and places near where they are (for example, when they enter “near me” in their query”). These results are shown in places like Maps and Search, and the local results algorithm ranks the listings according to factors that differ from the standard search algorithm. These factors include:
- Proximity (“How close is the business to the searcher?”)
- Relevance (“Does this business offer what the searcher is looking for?”)
- Prominence (“Which businesses are the most popular in their local area and what do other consumers say about them?”)
Google is increasingly favouring local search results and allocating a three-result section of the search engine results page to the “local 3 pack” based on a user’s physical location. This pack is a Google Map entry featuring 3 local businesses for a given query and listing the businesses’ names, directions, websites, and direct contact options.
Google’s pigeon update
Google’s Pigeon update in 2014 was a turning point towards hyperlocal search for SEO strategy; the update aimed to tie local search results more closely to traditional web search ranking signals.
“The rollout of Pigeon tried to eliminate duplicate results—businesses were less likely to show in both organic and a map pack—so those featured prominently in the pack were seeing favourable results. In order to give the best possible results, Google’s Pigeon reduced the search radius for local queries as much as possible. This continues to have an effect on businesses that used to rank for their closest metropolis—now without a physical address in the query city, you likely won’t rank high in organic search and probably not at all in the local packs.” – Source: BrightEdge
Hyperlocal results are simply the consequence of an update to the workings of the local algorithm. The logic behind the location-based algorithm is pretty much the same; what’s changed is that businesses in the searcher’s community, neighbourhood, or street take priority over others for being featured in the 3-pack.
How do I optimise for hyperlocal SEO?
To win the hyperlocal SEO game, you need to apply hyperlocal marketing strategies. In other words, you need to work in raising foot traffic from those consumers who want to buy from businesses near them.
If you own a brick-and-mortar business and/or cater to a local customer base, you optimise for the right keywords, and you have your local reviews in order, your business stands a good chance of getting listed in the local 3 pack. Find a few ideas below.
Make sure to register for Google My Business
If you create a Google My Business page, it’s more likely you’ll show up when people are looking for your particular products or service in your area. When someone looks for your business and sees that you have a listing, they are more likely to click on it. As a result, your business could come out ahead of businesses that do not have a presence yet.
The more thorough your listing is, the better. Google tends to ask lots of questions and it’s important to reply to them in detail.
Just as important is to choose the correct categories for your business and to add quality, optimised photos, and video clips to the listing.
Check your contact information
The more local your contact information is to the searcher’s location, the better. In other words, if you are a business that is local to Detroit, Michigan and your listing has the phone number of your headquarters in New York City on it—that’s not going to work for you. The presence of good and local contact information greatly improves your chances of being included in the local 3 pack searchers see.
Double-check that the contact information on your website is updated and easy to find. If you have business profiles on social media platforms, include your store or office location in them, link them back to your website, and state your contact information clearly.
Improve your website for local SEO
Hone your website’s content so it is all about what customers are looking for in their neighbourhood. In other words, try to optimise your website content for local search. Does the language you use reflect the local lingo? Are you using pictures taken locally? Are you using geo-tagging techniques to include local information on them? Do you have your address on the page? Are your business hours visible and accurate?
If you can improve or optimise any of these elements in order to rank better for local search, it’s a win-win. It helps searchers find what they want nearby and it raises foot traffic to your store.
Additionally, hire an SEO specialist who will review your URL structure, use of hyperlocal keywords, language settings, etc. so that Google knows what your business is as local as it can get. If you have a multilingual website, enlist the help of an SEO translation specialist—contact us to discuss how we can support you.
Create hyperlocal content
Hyperlocal content creation includes articles, videos, infographics and news that are specifically relevant to your community. Hyperlocal content helps you build awareness in the local area around your business.
Producing content that’s hyperlocal will take you a long way in hyperlocal SEO. Businesses that leverage ideas that centre around their vicinity, like blog posts about local events or the history of a local landmark, can increase their rank on pages that concern location.
Another good tip is to make sure that your social media presence is full of pictures of your businesses participating in local activities, like local trade shows or networking events, and including the location before posting them.
Launch hyperlocal ad campaigns
Launching hyperlocal ads is a good way to get your local 3 pack search presence going. Hyperlocal ad campaigns have the potential to increase awareness, engagement, and visibility of your business in the local area. Some successful hyperlocal advertising tactics include fliers, social media promotions, targeted Google AdWords campaigns, retargeting strategies, and traditional forms of offline marketing that speak about your products or services to those who are geographically close by.
“Because it is a very niche marketing technique, hyperlocal marketing has the advantage of bringing in leads that are ready to make a purchase. That’s because most of the people targeted by hyperlocal ad campaigns are already looking for the product or service you offer.” Source: Neil Patel
Ready to get hyperlocal?
Hyperlocal SEO has seen a lot of action lately. Many companies have already started leveraging hyperlocal SEO in their marketing strategies and the ones that haven’t are going to be left behind. Hyperlocal businesses stand a chance against big companies, all they need is to adapt to this new way of doing business and show up when people are looking for them.
If you’re ready to start working towards your local 3 pack presence in foreign markets, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org so we can design and implement a localisation strategy that will get you there.
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