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How to Use Local SEO to Improve Your Public Relations Strategy in 2022

Steps for Improving Your Local SEO

So, you want to improve your reputation as well as your visibility in the local market.

To attain this aim, two key methods emerge as pillars: public relations and local SEO.

These two pillars are frequently tackled independently, typically by distinct teams, but connecting the two from the start is a formula for success.

 

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Complementary Strategies = Local SEO & Public Relations

At the same time, SEO falls mostly into the owned media bucket in the PESO Model®, which you can learn all about (and even get certified in) right here on Spin Sucks, while PR (particularly media and influencer relations) fills the majority of the earned media bucket.

However, especially in local SEO, these techniques straddle the two categories and compliment one another.

What are the local SEO strategies? How can SEO help PR? How do I create a local SEO strategy? What is SEO in PR?

(Confession: I was unsure which bucket SEO belonged in and, like a true nerd, wrote Gini directly to ask her opinion.) Fortunately, she was gracious enough to provide the solution. "We sandwiched it between owned and earned," she explained. "You can't have SEO without content, and earned linkbacks assist in raising ranks."

If one of your PR goals is to improve your local reputation and exposure, local SEO strategies like listing consistency, on-page optimization, and reviews can assist. The primary goal of local SEO is to increase local search rankings; quality backlinks and in-market content from PR are critical to ranking success.

In summary, public relations and local SEO go hand in hand.

 

Local Search Engine Optimization 101

As a Spin Sucks reader, you are probably reading this post from the perspective of a PR professional. 

You may not have a ton of experience with local SEO, so let’s start from the beginning. 

Local SEO is a sub-practice of Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and focuses on how your business ranks in search engines for local searches.

Most experts agree that Google’s algorithm for local searches is slightly different from national or global searches. 

One main difference is that local searches provide you with a map and top listings in your area above the organic search results.

Go ahead and Google "hair salons" or "grocery stores" and you will get local results with a map.

That map and the associated listings are known as a "Local Pack."

Although Google never gives away its exact search ranking algorithm, experts have given insights into exactly what matters.

Whitespark did a great study in 2020 on local search ranking factors.

The importance of those factors differs slightly for the Local Pack in comparison to local organic results.

 

BrightLocal does a nice job of averaging the importance of the factors across both types of local results:

  • Optimization of the website (24%)
  • Links (23%)
  • GMB (20%)
  • Reviews (11%)
  • Behavioral (9%)
  • Citations (7%)
  • Personalization (7%)

All these factors may seem overwhelming, but there are a few simple steps that can get you started.

For the purposes of this post, I’m not really going to address behavioral or personalization issues—these factors are based on the searchers and people coming to your site, they aren’t the most important factors, and there’s little you can do to improve on them.

Let’s explore the other five factors, what you can do to improve them, and how they can impact your overall PR strategy.

 

(Confession: I was unsure which bucket SEO belonged in and, like a true nerd, wrote Gini directly to ask her opinion.) Fortunately, she was gracious enough to provide the solution. "We sandwiched it between owned and earned," she explained. "You can't have SEO without content, and earned linkbacks assist in raising ranks."

If one of your PR goals is to improve your local reputation and exposure, local SEO strategies like listing consistency, on-page optimization, and reviews can assist. The primary goal of local SEO is to increase local search rankings; quality backlinks and in-market content from PR are critical to ranking success.

In summary, public relations and local SEO go hand in hand.

 

Optimization for On-Page

This may appear to be the most complex and perplexing component, but there are two primary methods for optimizing your site for local searches:

NAP (Name, Address, Phone): Google requires these three pieces of information in order to evaluate you for local search results.

To identify your keywords, consider what people will be searching for and avoid jargon. There are other free keyword-finding tools available, including Google's own Keyword Finder. Keywords should be used in landing page titles and meta descriptions. As you create your content strategy, incorporate as much of your city and local material as possible.

Your domain authority will increase as you optimize your site and enhance other aspects.

 

Links

Backlinks are the internet's currency.

The more respectable sites that link to your site, the more Google considers you to be an authority.

Attention: Public Relations!

This is most likely the most effective technique for you to include local SEO in your PR campaign.

Mentions of your keywords and location with links back to your site are vital, and the better the link, the more trustworthy the site.

A key approach for obtaining high-quality backlinks is media relations.

Looking for PR placements in local magazines and blogs might assist you in improving your rankings in your city.

 

My Business & Customer Reviews

When you combine these two, they account for the majority of your local search rankings.

A Google My Business (GMB) listing is required to appear in local search results.

This is a simple step that has a significant impact.

Your core category and, if feasible, including keywords in your GMB business title are the two most important factors influencing your results.

Focusing on your GMB reviews, on the other hand, necessitates more effort.

In GMB Reviews, Google considers three factors: quality (star rating), quantity, and keywords contained in the reviews.

In local search, having a great review-generating strategy makes all the difference.

 

Citations

Although this is a smaller factor, it can be an easy thing to do to improve your local search rankings.

You can look at the big directories like Yelp! and Facebook, but also look for more niche directories that show up when you search for your keywords.

For example, UpCity lists B2B service providers like digital marketing agencies and IT services companies and ranks well in local searches.

Make sure your NAP matches across your site, your GMB, and any of these other directories or citations.

 

Including Local SEO in Your Public Relations Strategy

Companies invest hundreds of hours and thousands of dollars in their local SEO campaign, and merging all of these methods into your public relations plan might appear daunting at first.

However, keep in mind the two primary areas to ensure your PR plan has a significant impact on your local SEO: identifying your keywords and putting them into your material, and developing localized, high-quality links back to your site.

Not only will your local search rankings increase, but you will also have an impact on your total local reputation and presence.

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