How Can Local SEO Help Your Business Succeed?
Local SEO is optimizing your business’ online presence to ensure it will be found when people are searching for products and services in their local area. Local SEO is a powerful tool for small businesses, it’s inexpensive and has a great ROI, it’s timely and highly targeted, and since many companies don’t take advantage of it, it is a great way to stand out amongst your competitors.
Local SEO is important for any small business wanting to promote their products and services to local prospects, and it’s absolutely essential to any company that provides face to face interactions with customers.
What Is Local SEO?
Local search engine optimization (SEO) is when you optimize a business, product, or search query that is location-specific. Search engines like Google consider a user’s location to determine what results to show them. To gather information for local search, search engines rely on specific signals, like local content, social profile pages, links, and citations to provide the most relevant local results to their users.
Who Needs Local SEO?
According to Google, 46% of searches have a “local intent”. This is the difference between someone who searches “how to fix a blocked drain” versus “plumbers near me” or “best plumber in Fort Lauderdale”. If a user is searching in Google Maps, they don’t even need to use the terms “near me” or the name of their location, Google knows they are looking for results in their area. Any business, small or large, that provides products or services to local customers needs local SEO. Local SEO is perfect for healthcare providers, home services companies, brick and mortar businesses that require customers to come in, and service providers that send a representative out to their customers.
Why Does It Matter?
Local search is the yellow pages of the 21st century. So, if your business isn’t optimized for local search you are missing out!
- 4 out of 5 consumers use search to find local information
- 96% of PC owners conduct local searches
- 46% of all Google searches are local
- 64% of local customers use search engines and directories as their main way to find a local business
- 50% of local mobile searchers look for business information (like a company’s address, hours or phone number)
- 78% of local mobile searches result in an offline purchase
How to Optimize for Local Search
#1 Claim your Google My Business Listing (GMB)
This is by far the most important way to optimize for local search. (Next week we will devote an entire blog post to the importance of the GMB, so stay tuned for that!) Only 44% of businesses have claimed their Google My Business Listing so there’s a good chance that just by doing this you will stand out from the crowd. Google is most comfortable sharing information that it can support and verify, and the GMB is their tool to help you show them what they need to see. Once you’ve claimed your GMB, make sure you fully optimize it by including as much content there as possible, which includes adding photos, posting, and responding to reviews.
#2 Localize your Website
Including your city, county, or region name naturally throughout your site helps search engines understand where you’re located and can help you rank for key phrases that include the name of your location. If you have multiple locations, create location pages for each one. Create a locally descriptive “About Us” page and add a Google Map to your website. Create local content on your site by including relevant information for your local community. This could include things like local industry gatherings, relevant local news, employee features, or a calendar of city-wide events.
#3 Ensure Your Website is Mobile-Friendly
Local search and mobile search go hand in hand. Nine out of ten smartphone users conduct local searches on their devices. People use their phones to find a business’ location, look up reviews, get directions, and search for contact information. Make it easy for prospects to find this information for your business by ensuring that your site is mobile friendly.
#4 Verify your Business Info is Consistent Online
Discrepancies in how your business information shows up in different places online can be problematic. This includes misspellings, abbreviations, lack of suite number, or wrong phone number. Google needs to be able to determine which information about your business is correct and if it can’t, it may not show your business in search results at all. If your business is listed in Google, Apple, Bing, Yelp, TripAdvisor, etc. make sure the information appears exactly the same way in each of them.
#5 Engage on Social Media
Google considers content shared on social media more important now than ever before! This is where your business is able to engage directly with your customers and your community so take advantage of it. Which social networks are best for your business depends on where your existing customers already are and where prospective customers are likely to be.
Local SEO is an important strategy for any local business and should always be part of your company’s overall digital marketing strategy.