Four out of five consumers use search tools to discover information about local businesses. To put that another way… 80% of your potential customers wont walk through your door if your business doesn’t rank well in the SERPs (search engine results pages), which makes local SEO the most important bullet point on your marketing to-do list.
But you don’t have hundreds of pounds a week to fork out for a local SEO specialist. So, what can you do? Luckily, just like there are plenty of ways to build your small business website for free if you’re willing to do a bit of digital DIY, there are plenty of places that will teach you how to get to grips with local SEO for free.
Lets take a look at five of the best.
What is Local SEO?
Search engines like Google rely on signals to rank the content on websites and webpages. By doing so, they privide the most relevant search results in response to a user’s query – and by ‘query’ we mean the search term the end-user enters into the search engine to find the content they need e.g.
As a local business, you can improve your chances of being at the top of these search results and even featuring in Google’s local search map by learning about and implementing local SEO best practices like:
- Completing and optimising a Google My Business profile
- Maintaining active social media pages
- Optimizing your webpage content for key information like your business’s name, address and phone number (NAP)
- Adding location pages to your website
- Creating relevant local content
And much more.
If that all sounds overwhelming, don’t worry. Next, we’re going to cover the five places you can learn all there is to know about local SEO for free.
Moz is one of the most popular SEO tools on the market. So, like other tools in their niche (SEMRush, Ahrefs, Screaming Frog etc.) they provide learning resources for SEO. The best part? They’re completely free! Moz’s SEO Learning Center contains guides and videos on a range of SEO topics, including local SEO.
Moz’s content is designed to suit all levels of abilities, including beginners. And their local SEO guide is a comprehensive resource, covering a wealth of fundamentals including:
- Local search marketing
- Local listings and SEO
- Setting up local business listings
- Local business categories
- Claiming local listings
- Local citations
- Duplicate business listings
- Reviews and ratings
- Building your website
- Local search terms glossary
One of their best learning tools is the Local SEO Cheat Sheet – a free PDF download that will help you organise the essential tasks needed to springboard your business’s local SEO..
Hubspot is a CRM software that produces a wealth of marketing resources for individuals, businesses, and developers, including ebooks, guides, and valuable blogs.
Whilst their Comprehensive Guide to Local SEO isn’t as in-depth as Moz’s, it does link to further relevant resources and provides a good foundation for newbies. The guide covers some useful local SEO tips that are a must when considering how to optimize your business and website, including:
- Google My Business
- Internal linking structures
- Optimizing URL, meta descriptions, etc
- Location pages
- Local content
- Mobile-friendly website
- Consistent contact details
- Online directories
- Inbound links
- Social media engagement
Hubspot also recommends some great local SEO tools to complement your newfound knowledge.
3. SEMrush Academy
SEMrush academy provides free tools and courses on a wide range of digital marketing topics. The popular SEO tool has developed a learning platform to complement its software that includes series’ of lessons on topics like on-page and technical SEO, link building, local SEO, and lots more.
The Local SEO course will give you the knowledge to improve your website’s visibility locally, and more specifically on mobile search. There are 8 lessons and the course is 100% free.
Once you’ve complete SEMrush’s local SEO course, you have the option to further your knowledge with local SEO expert Greg Gifford’s course. Again, this course is free and will take around 1 hour to complete, covering the following topics:
- What is local SEO
- Local ranking factors
- Google posts
- Other signals
Coursera offers a wide range of free courses supplied by universities worldwide. Their SEO specialization course covers everything you need to know about SEO at a beginner level. They estimate the course will take around 5 months to complete with 7 hours of study per week.
It’s available in English, Greek, Arabic, Portuguese, Turkish and Nepali. The SEO specialization topic includes 5 courses:
- Introduction to SEO
- SEO fundamentals
- Optimizing a website for search (including local SEO)
- Advanced content and social tactics to optimize SEO
- Website optimization client report project
Local SEO is covered in its own course of around 5 hours in length. It’s designed to help you learn the history of local SEO as well as how to actually put it into practice. Once you’ve completed a course, you can share your certificate on LinkedIn to prove you’ve got what it takes to become a local SEO expert.
Smazzit is an online training institute that offers courses in SEO. Due to the global pandemic, their local SEO training course is free! The course is geared towards beginners and advanced users, making it an ideal solution for anyone wanting to learn for free, regardless of their skill level.
The content makes use of real-life examples and covers topics like:
- How to get ahead of your competitors
- How to scale your online business
- Best website practices
- Increase website traffic
- GMB optimization
- Link building
- How to make your website search engine friendly
- Content marketing strategies
- Full ranking breakdown
- And lots more!
To add Smazzit’s local SEO course to your list of new skills, you’ll need to invest around 3-6 hours. The course is lead by Pat Johnson, who is a Google certified SEO expert.
Whilst there are plenty of SEO resources and courses available, many require payment, and not all of them will teach you the correct way of doing things.
All of the courses listed in this article are 100% free and are designed by experts in their field to provide you with in-depth knowledge about SEO as a whole, whilst focussing specifically on local SEO and optimization techniques to increase your website’s conversions.
Author bio: “Georgie is a Content Contributor for WebHostingProfessor. She is passionate about sharing her enthusiasm for technology through her content writing work, with a mission to help others learn and understand what makes the digital world so successful.”