In this week’s episode, I answer the question “What is Local SEO?” for all of you out there who are still new to the local marketing game. I realized I’ve been talking about it, but not really explaining what it is at a basic level – so check out this week’s video to find out! I also share a quick test that’s simple to run yourself that will show you if you need Local SEO.


Welcome back to another episode of Local Search Tuesdays. This week, I’m answering a few basic questions – What is Local SEO, and how do you know if you need it?

I’ve been doing Local SEO for almost 14 years, and I’ve been speaking about it at conferences for the last 9 years – but there are still tons of people out there who don’t know what Local SEO is, or that they probably need it.

So let’s answer that question. Local SEO is the strategy of targeting Google’s local algorithm. Google uses multiple algorithms to return search results. When you type in a search query, Google tries to assess the intent of your question, and then it chooses the right algorithm to return those search results to you.

Over the years, Google has been able to analyze the search behavior on the trillions of queries it’s received, and has figured out that for certain types of businesses, users either want or need results in their local area. Google will use the local algorithm for any search queries for terms related to those businesses – even if the search query doesn’t include a location-modifying term like a city or something like “near me” or “nearby”.

The local algorithm is a bit more complicated than Google’s standard algorithm – it looks at additional signals, so there are more things you need to cover in your SEO strategy. Let’s look at it this way. This circle represents the signals that matter for showing up well in Google’s traditional algorithm, and this circle represents the signals that matter for showing up in Google’s Local algorithm. There’s overlap in the signals that matter, so if you do “traditional” SEO, you’ll still get some benefit in those areas. But if you do Local SEO, everything will help your visibility.

The local algorithm applies to several different areas in search results – the most obvious is the map pack at the top of search results. The standard search results under the map pack are also localized results if the local algorithm is being used. If you click the “more places” link at the bottom, you’ll see the local finder page, which also uses the local algo. Searches on Google Maps also use the local algorithm.

Basically, if your business has a physical location where customers come to you to do business – or, if you’re a service business like a plumber or an electrician, and you go to a customer’s location to do business, you need Local SEO.

Here’s an easy way to check if your business needs Local SEO. Do a Google search for a few of your important keywords – the phrases that potential customers might use to look for your business. If any of those searches pull up a map pack like this… then you know your business needs Local SEO.

Make sure you check back every week for the next few weeks – I’ll be sharing the various signal areas that matter for local search visibility.

That’s all the time we’ve got for this week’s video, so you know what that means.
Put your hand on the screen right here:
We totally just high-fived ‘cause you learned something awesome.

Thanks for watching, and we’ll see you again next week for another episode of Local Search Tuesdays.