What is Local SEO and Why Is It Important
If you’re having a physical store in Malaysia, you should know that almost 76% of search engine users who perform local searches visit a store within a day.
Do you want to get people to your store?
Then you should optimize your website for local SEO. When you optimize your site with Local SEO you can drive your customers straight to your store and increase your revenue by selling your products or services.
This article will get to know everything about Local SEO and how you can optimize your website and get better results.
What is Local SEO?
Local SEO is an online marketing strategy that helps you to optimize your website to rank higher for local search results and reach your local audience. You just need to optimize your site for your city and address. It will help your potential customers to find your business and visit your store. Local SEO is one of the best methods to bring in more customers in your location to your store.
For example, if you have a dental clinic in Klang, you want to make sure your website ranks high on search results when someone searches for “dentist in Klang” or “dentist near me”.
How Does Local Search Look Like?
Have you seen how local SEO appears on Google search result pages?
The local search uses keywords related to locations and local businesses.
When someone is looking to visit a store, they will use keywords or phrases like:
- X “near me”
- X in [city]
Try using those phrases and conduct a local search. When someone uses local search keywords or phrases, Google will generate Google Map Results at the top which we call Local SEO 3-pack. There will be a list of three local businesses which is relevant to the user’s search query in the relevant location.
Let’s use the same example we used previously. Let’s say you want to find a dental clinic in Klang. When you type in your search query on your desktop or smartphone, like “dentist near me” or “dentist in Klang”.
Your search result page will look like the screenshot below.
You can see that the Local SEO 3-pack has been generated with one additional listing via Google Ads. The advertiser of the listing with the “Ad” tag will pay Google when someone clicks on it. The remaining three results appear organically.
The organic listing that you see in the Local SEO 3-pack is Google My Business pages. When you create a Google My Business listing for your business, you will appear more in local search results.
Factors That Influence Local search rankings
It doesn’t matter what local business you’re running; you need to understand the factors that influence local search rankings and how local businesses appear to the people searching for them.
If you want your website to appear on local search results, it’s important to understand these factors:
Relevance: Google generates relevant results for its searchers. The placement of your business on local search results depends on the relevancy of search queries with the products or services you offer. If someone is searching for skin clinics, Google will generate a list of local skin clinics.
Proximity: The distance between your business and the searcher is another important factor in local search ranking. Google focuses on generating a list of businesses that are located close to the searcher. Although you don’t have control over this factor, optimizing your Google My Business page can help you rank for the locations you want.
Prominence: This factor is all about what your customer is saying about your products and services. When you look at your Google My Business listing, you can see that people can leave their comments and reviews along with star ratings. Google focuses on showing businesses that have good ratings as it indicates that those businesses are well received by people.
Your local SEO strategy should always include these three important factors. Including these factors in your local SEO will help you position your business website higher on local search results and generate traffic to your website or get more people visiting your store.
8 Best Local SEO Strategies For Businesses in Malaysia
Now you know about local SEO. Let’s look at some of the best local SEO strategies you can implement to get your website to rank higher on SERPs.
Conduct Keyword Research
Keywords are important not only for general SEO but also for Local SEO. You need to optimize your Google My Business listing with the right local keywords.
To find the right local keywords, you need to conduct keyword research. Keyword research will help you identify the keywords or terms that are relevant to your business. Once you have the list of keywords, you can integrate them strategically into your business listing and website.
You can’t target short-tail or generic keywords to drive local search traffic to your business. Long-tail keywords are the ones you should focus on for local SEO. This is because your local customers won’t be searching for “dentist’’ or “skin clinic”. They will search for something like “dentist in Klang” or “skin clinic in Petaling Jaya”.
And that’s why you need to integrate long-tail keywords to your site and business listing to be found online for local searches.
You can learn how to conduct keyword research from the following resources:
- How to do Local SEO Keyword Research in 2021 – LoganiX
- How to Do Local Keyword Research in 2021 – Ahrefs
Create and Optimize Your Google My Business Listing
Google My Business listing is one of the most important elements of a local SEO strategy. It is the heart of any local SEO. If you’re serious about driving local customers to your website or physical store, you need to create and optimize your Google My Business Listing.
You can use the following guide to create a perfect Google My Business Listing page:
Google My Business (GMB) Guide for Malaysia Businesses
Develop localized content
You need to go beyond your Google My Business listing to solidify your online presence on local search results. That’s why you need to focus on the content you develop for your website.
So, how do you develop localized content for your website?
Using country, city, or region names in your content can help you localize your website content. For example, even this content you’re reading right now is catered for businesses based in Malaysia. And you can see I have mentioned “Malaysia” in the title and throughout this article.
Even if you check out some other articles on our website, it is focused on providing value for local businesses owners. Consistently publishing local content on your website will help you improve your ranking on local search engines while attracting high-quality local customers.
We often suggest Malaysian businesses focus on the content development part as it produces long-term results.
Don’t you want to generate local search traffic that grows exponentially over time?
Manage your customer reviews
Reviews play a crucial role in choosing the right local business. When your potential customer doesn’t know about your company, they may want to check the experience of your customers. It will help them to decide whether to purchase your products or services.
Even your Google My Business listing show customer reviews.
And these customer reviews can influence your placement on local search results especially on the Local SEO 3-pack. Studies show that Google places local businesses with a significant amount of reviews at top spots.
You need to understand that having reviews does not get you top placement automatically on local search results. It’s important to focus on other strategies as well.
When you get reviews for your business, you can’t expect them to be 100% positive. You’ll be getting negative reviews as well. If there are only good reviews with high ratings, Google and people will doubt the authenticity of the reviews. A mix of reviews is good.
For positive reviews, thank your customers for sharing their feedback. If there are negative reviews, understand their issues and provide solutions to them. This will also help you improve your business in the long run as customer feedbacks are important to have a sustainable business.
Always expect negative reviews. It’s all about how you handle negative feedbacks of your business. When you start addressing the issues and providing the solution, it will create a good perception about your business and increase confidence among your potential customers.
Don’t avoid negative reviews. It is important to show your target audience the value you’ll be providing them when they decide to associate with your business. Moreover, it also helps in improving your brand awareness.
So, managing your customer reviews is not only essential for local SEO but also for your overall business growth.
Add NAP+W to your website
Google crawls your website and finds the most relevant information related to the search conducted by users and shows them on search result pages. When you add NAP (Name, Address, Phone Number, and Website) on your contact page, search engine bots get your detail and index them on local search results.
NAP is extremely important for local search ranking as Google uses them as an indicator to rank a website on a specific location. And don’t forget to add the map of your business location to your website. Show your location via Google Maps.
Be consistent with your NAP+W
Having NAP+W on your website is not enough. If you want Google to show your business in search result pages of your preferred location, you need to make sure your NAP+W is consistent everywhere online.
Whether it’s your social media accounts or business directories, you need to use the same business name, address, contact number, and website URL. Be consistent with the information you provide on your website. You also need to update your Google My Business listing with the right NAP+W.
Build Citation to boost Local SEO
What are citations?
It’s like backlinks.
But it does not involve anchor text. They’re mentions of your business name, address, phone number, and website. According to a local SEO study, citations are important for your local SEO initiatives because it’s a ranking signal that makes up 11% of local pack ranking factors.
Citation only works for physical locations and does not work for virtual offices or P.O Boxes.
These are the top business directories to get your business listed for citation purposes:
- Google My Business
- One Stop Malaysia
Focus on Local Link Building
It is easy to acquire links. But it’s hard to acquire high-quality links especially when you’re focused on local link building. When you get link placement on websites related to your niche, Google will give priority to ranking you on local search result pages. If you’re in a competitive niche, you need to get serious with your link-building campaign. And the best way to do it is through manual blogging outreach. Provide valuable content for the site you’re looking to acquire a link from. Send them irresistible outreach emails and build a good relationship before getting your content published on their site.
Sadly, most of the sites in Malaysia are focused on sponsored posts where you need to pay to get your content published. However, you can manually gather a list of websites related to your niche and get in touch with them and tell them the benefits they will get with the valuable content you have to offer.
Link building takes time. But it’s worth it for long-term local SEO success.
Improving your rankings on search result pages can be difficult for small and medium businesses. But Local SEO can help you rank high on local search results and drive local customers to your website or store.
As people are relying on search engines like Google to get to know about a business and read their reviews before making their decision, you need to understand what they need and focus on boosting your local rankings.
Optimize your site with local SEO strategies by getting your Google My Business listing published, developing local content, building citations, focusing on local link building, and managing your reviews.
Don’t limit yourself to local SEO strategies, build a relationship with other businesses in your location that can add value to your business. Referral marketing remains one of the top marketing strategies in Malaysia.
Focusing on local SEO alone is not enough. You need to combine local SEO with other digital marketing strategies like social media marketing or email marketing to get more customers to your doorstep.
On the other hand, you also need to understand that your digital marketing efforts reflect your offline efforts. If you’re not providing the best products or services for your customers, your online reviews will reveal them.
So, you need to focus on your business too. Think like a customer and identify the strengths and weaknesses of your business. Rectify them and go full out with your local SEO strategies.
Have you implemented any local SEO strategies and gained great results?
Share them with us by commenting below.