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Local SEO: What is local SEO?

For Google, the most important thing is the user experience. To enhance this, France’s number 1 search engine decided a few years ago to geolocate its results. A mobile user searching for a hairdressing salon, for example, obviously wants to receive suggestions close to where they are, rather than at the other end of France. This is what SEO professionals call local SEO. It’s an opportunity for entrepreneurs, SMEs and ETIs, as well as major accounts with numerous local offices.

Geolocation, one of the keys to your visibility

SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is an anglicism that defines the set of criteria and optimizations that are essential for boosting the visibility of a web page or website in Google’s search results. The ultimate objective is obviously to be among the first results on key queries for the company.

Among the thousands of criteria taken into account by Google to estimate the degree of relevance of websites to a given query, there are :

  • The user experience (UX): the bounce rate, the ergonomics of the site on all types of screen (mobile first), loading time and the user path all have a positive influence on your SEO. For some professionals, the number 1 criterion will soon be the user experience (UX).
  • Technical elements specific to the site, such as the quality of the code, the weight and loading speed of a page, the tree structure and structure of the site and HTTPS.
  • On-page or on-site optimisation: this covers all the techniques aimed at improving the quality of the content of a page or site, such as the organisation of information (Hn structure), the quality of editorial content and internal linking.
  • Off-site optimisation, which concerns everything to do with a site’s environment, and in particular external links (link building), in terms of the origin and quality of anchors, for example.
  • Local SEO: first introduced in 2006, local SEO has grown considerably in recent years as Google seeks to provide its users with results based on their geographical location whenever relevant. It is now a powerful visibility lever for all businesses whose customers are located in a well-defined catchment area.

Why is local referencing an opportunity for your visibility?

The geolocation of search results based on the location of users is one of the most significant developments in search engines in recent years. A development as important as the move from blindly stuffing advertising in letterboxes to sending targeted emailings.

Local referencing is above all a powerful visibility lever that can be used by all structures and companies whose customers are located in a defined catchment area. This is the case, for example, for a confectioner, a caterer, a driving licence points recovery centre, a fitness centre or an SME specialising in the delivery of firewood.

As an integral part of any good seo strategy, the geographical positioning of these entrepreneurs, craftsmen and other SMEs is therefore a fantastic opportunity for visibility in their catchment area and in their search engines.

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How does local SEO work?

For Google, there are two types of localised searches:

  • Queries that are not geographically specific, but which are logically linked to your geographical location. This is particularly the case for queries such as “Indian restaurant”. As far as the search engine is concerned, whether you’re using a fixed or mobile browser, it’s where you are that enables the results to be geolocated. If we go back to the previous example, it seems logical to offer the addresses of Indian restaurants located close to the user, rather than on a national scale. The results displayed by Google therefore differ depending on where you are.
  • Queries that are geographically specific, such as “Indian restaurant Rennes”. In this case, the results are made up of contacts for businesses located in the specified area or town. This time, the results are identical, because they are not linked to the geographic location of the requestor, but to the location specified in the search.

Google is also able to differentiate between a general query such as “video games” and a local query such as “video games Paris”.

Geolocation-based referencing: an advantage for local professionals

The objective of any business is the same: to appear in the first search results for targeted queries related to their activity. However, it can be very complicated to position yourself on highly competitive and generic terms related to a business or a city (the larger the city, the greater the difficulty).

For a company working in a targeted catchment area, the problem is different, since it is only in their interest to be well positioned on queries related to their business + a specific town or department. If we take the example of the Indian restaurant, a good web visibility strategy that includes a significant local seo component will enable it to appear in a good position on all the queries related to its business, regardless of whether the geographical area is :

  • Specified: in this case, the business is entitled to appear in geolocalised results
  • Unspecified: the business appears in local Google results only if the search is made by a mobile or internet user in its catchment area.

In both cases, the target is precisely that of the company, which increases the conversion rate. This can take the form of a telephone call or even a visit to the site.

Are you a very small business, an SME or a company working with local customers? Take advantage of this opportunity to boost your online visibility by requesting an audit from one of our local SEO experts.

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