When it comes to local SEO, there’s a lot of noise.
From the latest industry buzz talk to the nuances of a specific website, a strategy to-do list can quickly become flooded with tasks that don’t consider the big picture.
However, none of these tasks matter if you ignore competitors.
A competitive analysis for local SEO can uncover:
- Who is ranking at the top.
- Why they achieved this ranking.
- Where they’ve chosen to target their strategy.
- What level of effort they’ve put into ranking.
- When you might be able to outrank them.
If you understand the effort and approach used by those who rank well locally, then you can thrive in even the most competitive search environments.
Determining your local competitors
Competitors in local SEO require a different approach than competitors in national markets.
In a national SEO campaign, competitors are usually targeting hundreds or thousands of keywords. At the local level, most competitors typically target something in the range of 20-100 keywords.
Local SEO typically has fewer keywords because it is defined by its physical community.
Local SEO is designed to support a network of small businesses, franchises and physical goods and services. Unlike national SEO, there is no SaaS or cloud-based architecture or leading national ecommerce website.
Local dealers, practitioners and businesses offer a service or item that customers will receive in their community. Products and services from these businesses are limited to the parameters of their local population. If a local business offers garage door repair, demand is limited to the number of people who need garage door repair in that community.
Because local SEO is limited to a physical community, discovering competitors is straightforward. Identify 5-10 core keywords and see who ranks first.
However, competitive analysis for local SEO quickly becomes complicated when there is more than one location for the business. Each location poses unique challenges.
Although local competitive analysis considers a smaller portion of keywords, the complexities of local search impact these keywords.
3 steps to conducting a competitive analysis for local SEO
A competitive analysis for local SEO considers keyword search visibility in the context of three local ranking factors:
- Compare proximity.
- Assess Google Business Profile (GBP) optimization.
- Analyze on-page content.
1. Compare proximity
Are you located farther from the city center than your top competitors? Does this information about your location even matter? After all, it’s not like you can move locations for the sake of SEO.
Understanding your location within the context of your competitor’s location is important because proximity might answer why they rank #1.
In the image below, a search for “kansas city defense attorney,” a highly desirable keyword for defense attorneys in Kansas City, the #1 ranking is held by a law firm that is located .2 miles from the city center of Kansas City. The #2 ranking business is located 3.1 miles from the city center.
A quick search for your top keyword can indicate whether proximity will impact your campaign. Review the distance between verified location