In today’s competitive market who does not want to rank their local business on search engines – Google, Apple Maps, and Bing, etc.? Since Google holds 90.1% of the total search engine market share (source: Junto), most businesses optimize their website for Google search engine. However, what many businesses fail to realize is that they are losing a huge chunk of customers because they don’t use local SEO.
Today, we will talk about what local SEO is and why it’s important for the growth of your business.
What is Local SEO?
Local SEO stands for Local Search Engine Optimization and refers to how local businesses can optimize their local search engine ranking. Local SEO is also known as local SEO marketing. It is a very effective and efficient way to promote your business online by marketing your services/products to the local customers when they search for them online.
As SEO enables you to improve your search engine rankings by different strategies. Similarly, local SEO enhances the performance of your site on search engines when the search query has a location-based intent. It is achieved by various techniques both similar and different to regular SEO practices.
To understand the concept of local SEO better, it is important to know what local search and local SERP mean.
Many consumers searching the internet with a purchase intent do not search for the product/service directly because their searching may include more detail of the product itself, such as location plus product or service. Hence, they usually enter long-tail keywords, for example, “hair salon near me” or “plumber in my area”. By adding the location-specific term, you allow Google to limit its search results to businesses within your area or community.
Thus, the website with local searches will rank higher. Similarly, Google map SEO will also enhance your local search rankings.
The difference in search behavior and the result is exactly why local SEO is important if you want to grow your business. According to research, 97% of consumers search online for a local business (source: 99 firms). Thus, search engine marketing services are worth investing in.
Businesses need to understand that to significantly improve traffic is to end up on the 3-pack or local pack. This is a section of 3 popular business listings that appear right after the map at the top of the search engine result page (SERP). What you will notice is that local SERPs are a bit different from stand search result pages as they contain opening times, addresses, feedback, review ratings, photos, etc.
Hence, if you have managed to get yourself on the face of a local SERP then you will attract a lot of traffic for your website and business.
Now you must be wondering: How do you get on the local pack?
Well, the information displayed on the local pack is generated from Google listing of the business in Google My Business. So, to make it to the local SERPs you must join Google My Business as it is a crucial part of your Local SEO marketing.
To put it concisely, your business will perform better in local searches and local SERPs, if you use local SEO tips and strategies.
Now, let us discuss some important factors which form an important part of your local SEO.
Factors of Local SEO
If you know about SEO strategies, you must know SEO changes constantly. With regard to local SEO, it has become more critical now than ever. The local rivalry is warming up and if you don’t claim high rankings then you can bet your competitors will. To rank inside the local listings you should focus less on link building and more on local NAPW references, local audits, and Google My Business profile.
Here are some important factors influencing local SEO:
Google My Business
Google My Business (GMB) was previously known as Google Local and is a type of citation. A citation is any place where the NAPW (Name, Address, Phone number, Website URL) of your business appears together online, for example, in an online directory or business listing website.
GMB is a platform by Google to allow your business to sign up and create an official business profile. Your business has a better chance of ranking on Google Maps and Local Pack if it is listed on GMB. Your profile will give Google information about your business such as services you offer, business description, contact details, category, opening times, reviews, etc. Google then uses this information when there is a local search query relevant to your business. Keep your GMB profile updated so it can appear in the local pack. Moreover, it adds credibility and makes you look trustworthy and attractive enough to get a click-through.
Did you know: 56% of local retailers have not claimed their Google My Business listing. As you know GMB is the cornerstone of local SEO so if you are not even claiming that then what are you even doing?
If your business is not listed on GMB or other citations then your competitor has a better chance of ranking up and taking over the consumers.
Localizing Your Website
Localizing refers to adding the name of your town, city, county or region throughout your website in an organic manner. In case your business has several locations then you can either create content hubs or a separate page for each location. You can also add other localizing tactics to your local SEO checklist such as featuring articles or blogs about local events.
As stated earlier, the citation is an important local SEO ranking factor. Allowing your website to get featured on online business directories and citation websites will help customers find your business easily. Moreover, NAPW along with other information also improves your search engine ranking for local searches.
Positive reviews are a game-changer. Good word of mouth will not only improve your online reputation but it will affect your local SEO. Genuine and honest reviews send signals to search engine algorithms that your website or business is trustworthy and well-liked. Thus, generating positive organic reviews will enhance your local search engine rankings.
Backlinks also help improve the performance of your business on local SEO. Naturally obtained backlinks from popular and reputed websites will allow search engines to identify your website as a trusted source and will make you more prominent in the local search algorithm. Try obtaining links from bloggers, local newspapers, business associations, and citations. This will also improve your search visibility which enhances your ranking.
Local search marketing is not a new trend, it has grown tremendously over the past few years and it will continue to grow. Now is the time for all businesses to make most of this opportunity and implement local SEO to boost their online business.
All types of businesses can make more money through local SEO but it can be a game-changer for small business SEO like florists, plumbers, accountants, hairstylists and boutiques. So, without wasting any more time, get started today!