Different from traditional SEO, local search is the practice of optimizing a website for local audiences. To find out more about local SEO, together with best practice recommendations for optimizing your local site, our SEO Office Hours recaps below compile insights and guidance from Google Search Central relating to local search best practices.
For more on international website optimization, check out our further resources:
The Ultimate Guide to International SEO
An SEO’s Guide to Hreflang Tags
The Challenges of Website Internationalization for Users & Search Engines
The Most Common Mistakes in International SEO
Getting Your International Website Structure Right
Mixed-language pages can be confusing to Google
In general, Google tries to use the primary content of a page to determine which language a page is targeting. However, it’s also recommended to make title tags and headings match the page’s primary language. Having various elements on one page in different languages makes it hard for Google to know how the page should appear in the index.
It is not possible to specify which countries and regions content should rank in
There is no way to prevent Google indexing content in specific countries and regions, even if it’s not targeted to that audience. The example given was a user who wanted English pages to rank only in the US and the UK. If Google deems the content as relevant to users in other locations, there’s every chance it will be indexed there too (and nothing that webmasters can do to prevent this).
Use Structured Data Testing Tool, Search Console Help Forum & Schema.org Documentation For Local Business Markup
For implementing local business markup, use the schema.org documentation to see which attributes are required, the Structured Data Testing Tool for testing that these work, and the Google Search Console forum for getting advice from peers.
Sites Removed from Google My Business Won’t Also be Removed from Search
If a website’s Google My Business listing is removed by Google, this doesn’t mean that the website will also be removed from organic search as GMB listings and organic results work separately from one another.
Location Identifiers That Require Interaction Won’t Affect Google
If a user’s location is identified in a way that requires interaction which would then change the content, this won’t impact Google because it does not interact, click or type like a user would.
Including a Physical Address on a Site is Not a Ranking Signal
Google doesn’t use the inclusion of a physical address as the sign of a good website, however this can be important for users.
Having HTTP Version in Google Listings or Snippets Can Drive Impressions Even After HTTPS Migration
If you’re seeing impressions and clicks for the HTTP version of your site after migrating to HTTPS, this could be because the HTTP version is linked to somewhere externally in a knowledge box or your Google My Business listing, for example.
Combine Duplicate Pages Across Owned Sites Into One Page
If you have duplicate pages across different sites, try grouping them into one page and listing the different locations where that service or product is available so you have one strong page to rank with.
Google Has no Guidelines for Marking Up Physical Objects Beyond Place ID
There isn’t a specific way to markup a physical object outside of Google Place ID. Google no longer uses the geo meta tag or geo sitemap extension. John recommends looking at Schema.org documentation to find relevant markup, as this helps Google understand a page even if it isn’t explicitly used in search.
Don’t Have ‘Near Me’ in Your Content for Location-based Queries
Adding ‘near me’ to your content makes no sense for location-based queries. The best way to optimise for local search is marking up your address on your site and setting up a Google My Business page to help Google understand where your company is based.