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How does Local SEO work?

In this week's video, we're talking about pizza... A few simple searches for "pizza delivery" are a great way to demonstrate how Local SEO works. Check out the video and see how it all fits together!

VIDEO TRANSCRIPT

Welcome to another episode of Local Search Tuesdays. In this week’s video, I’m here at world famous Pequod’s Pizza in Chicago, 'cause this week, I’m talking about pizza. Delicious, yummy pizza.

SearchLab is based in Chicago, so of course we’re all fans of pizza. For you noobs out there, pizza is a delicious Italian dish of flat bread topped with sauce, cheese, and various toppings.

But I’m not just talking about pizza because we’re here in Chicago. I’ve been using pizza as a Local SEO example for years. 

Most business owners - and many marketers - still haven’t heard of Local SEO. Google uses several different algorithms to return search results - and the different algorithms are used based on the perceived intent of the search query. In other words, Google tries to figure out what you’re looking for, and chooses the algorithm that’s most likely to get you the right answer.

Google’s local algorithm is different from the standard algorithm because it returns search results constrained to a particular area. Local SEO is the practice of optimizing signals on and off your site to target Google’s local algorithm.

In other words, if you’re a business with a physical storefront - like a jeweler or an attorney - or a business that serves customers in a particular area - like a plumber or a locksmith - then you need Local SEO, because you want to be sure you’re showing up in searches in your geographic area.

I came up with the pizza example to demonstrate how the local algorithm works several years ago and shared it in an article on Search Engine Land, and the idea really stuck. To be honest, it’s probably more because people love pizza than because it was a ground-breaking example.

So let’s get to it - 

Imagine you’ve just gotten a new job, and just moved to a new city for this awesome job. It’s your first day on the job, and you’re really craving a pizza. You have no idea what’s around, so you open up Google and search for just two words: pizza delivery. Google spits out a list of all the pizza places near your office.

And then that night when you get home, you still have a killer craving for pizza, so you decide to get pizza for dinner too. But again, you just moved to the area and don’t know who to call, so you open up Google and type in two words - “pizza delivery” - and you get a list of all the pizza places near your house.

But those search results are completely different than the results you got when you searched at the office… even though you typed the exact same query into Google. It makes sense, though, cause you need a pizza delivered from somewhere nearby.

Google gets trillions of search queries, and it can analyze how people search and what they click on at a massive scale. Google realized that for certain types of searches, users are looking for results in their immediate area, even if they didn’t specify that fact in their search. So even without a city name, a neighborhood, or a phrase like “nearby” or “near me”, Google will give users results that are in close proximity. That’s the local algorithm at play.

There’s a decent amount of overlap between the signals that matter for traditional SEO and Local SEO, so you’ll still see benefits from doing standard SEO - but if you’re a local business, Local SEO will be much more beneficial and have significantly better ROI.

There are signals that matter for Local that don’t matter at all in traditional SEO. In fact, some of the most vital elements of local are totally ignored by traditional SEO agencies. That’s why it’s important to make sure you’re partnering with someone who truly understands all of the intricacies of Local SEO.

So now, thanks to yummy, delicious pizza, you know HOW local SEO works. In next week’s video, I’ll be sharing a simple example that helps prove WHY Local SEO is necessary.

And now it’s time – put your hand on the screen right here…

We totally just high-fived cause you learned something awesome.

Thanks for watching, and don’t forget to come back next week for another awesome episode of Local Search Tuesdays.