What is local SEO and why is it so important?

To understand local SEO we need to know a little about the history of search and how Google has made advances in IP recognition.

Local SEO and local search


In the early days of the internet, it was common to Google say “electron” and then telephone the website. Unfortunately, it was often the case that the electrician was based in Newcastle or Edinburgh and would not come all the way down to London. There had to be a better way. Users started searching for “boiler replacement + London.” In this way, they could be sure of getting a plumber who actually covered London.
All good.

Google then changes the rules

Google was aware that websites would often list products or services in cities where they were not based. Google made changes to its algorithm to be able to identify which company websites were in which location. This is actually quite hard to do as most companies have their office address and perhaps a Google map.

The launch of Google Local

So Google decided to launch Google local or Google my business as it is now called. This cleverly forced companies to verify their actual address by receiving a postcard from Google with a verification code. Not very technical for the most advanced software company in the UK. It also could not account for most businesses who have never heard of Google my business and have no intention of finding out. If so what do you do with the businesses that are not listed on Google local but are still based in a certain area?

Simple local Optimisation

One of the simplest of solutions was to could the number of times a location was mentioned in a website and to note any URLs that may have the name in them. This is why our own Local SEO system is so successful. If business A is based in Chelsea SW3 and has 20 pages that include this key phrase, then another website with 40 pages with ‘Chelsea SW3’ must be more likely to be actually in Chelsea and is in fact twice as optimised for keyword + Chelsea SW3.

OK, So what now?

Then in 2015 Google further changes the local SEO goalposts by introducing IP geo-mapping. Put simply Google now knows where you are located by mapping the IP address to a location. This technology has been around for a while. However, Google has perfected it.

What does this mean for Local Search?

What this means for local search is that sites optimised for a location are more likely to appear in search results where a users IP is also in the same area.

This change meant that big successful websites that ranked highly for very competitive keywords but were not targeted at any particular location saw themselves beaten by any small website that just happened to be based in the same IP location as the large site.

What it means for local optimisation is that it is no longer enough to create a single page your-product-london.html and that the rules have changed on both sides of the fence, your website owner and the user.

It is however very exciting for local search experts like ourselves who revel in challenges.

Last checked and updated on June 3, 2021

Last checked and updated on June 3, 2021