There has to be an incredibly effective way to market your local business online, and how this method help businesses promote their products and services to local customers at the exact time they’re looking for them online? This article, answers that and more — Local SEO has been a mystery to many internet business.
You’ve probably heard a lot about SEO being one of the most important facets when it comes to digital marketing. But you may not have been hearing about Local SEO because it’s not general phrase on the lips of digital marketing agencies.
Many businesses are using digital marketing tools for promoting, creating awareness for their brands. Many have studied how these digital marketing tools work or how to conduct an effective digital marketing campaign — and yet they fall short of their expectations and fail to reap a successful outcome from all their efforts.
As a local business owner, you may feel there’s little point investing time and money in your Google presence when a quick search shows you competing against the likes of Walmart and Amazon for positions. That might be true when it comes to the main organic listings but, for local prominence, it’s a different matter entirely.
Both Google itself and the shopping public recognize the value of local businesses. Google has a specific set of local ranking factors that it uses as a measure to determine whether or not your business is geographically relevant to a user performing a ‘near me’ search. That means you don’t necessarily have to worry about competing against large corporations to get your local business in front of local consumers.
So what exactly local SEO is, its relevance in today’s world, and how it impacts businesses? That’s the purpose of this article, as it breaks down that information for you, so you can have a clear idea of why local SEO holds such a dominant position in online marketing, and how it can help you grow your business.
What is Local SEO?
Local search engine optimization is similar to SEO in that it is also a process affecting the visibility of a website or a web page in a web search engine’s unpaid results often referred to as “natural”, “organic”, or “earned” results.
Local SEO (Local Search Engine Optimization), sometimes referred to as local search engine marketing, is an incredibly effective way to market your local business online, as it helps businesses promote their products and services to local customers at the exact time they’re looking for them online.
Local SEO serves to promote your business’ visibility on location-based searches. It is merely a variation of your run-of-the-mill SEO, and is aimed at making sure your business gets found online by people searching for it at that locality.
There a huge difference between SEO and Local SEO that must be noted. Local SEO has a geographical component which organic SEO does not necessarily have. It is the practice of building signals of relevance around a specific location; a brick-and-mortar business. Organic SEO is a marketing practice that revolves, more or less, around a website.
The first thing to understand here is that this is SEO for location-based searches. Which means a physical address or location is a prerequisite for a business to show up on local search results. If your business’ address is not updated in Google My Business and other online directories, it will not show up when a customer runs a “near me” or “in *locality name*” search.
The next thing you need to ensure is that your business’ NAP (Name, Address, and Phone number) is consistent across all the online directories you’ve enlisted in. if there are any discrepancies here, Google will most likely avoid listing your business in the local 3-pack. You can even choose to go with a tool like Synup that manages all your online listings for you, so you can avoid the hassle of manually updating every directory.
Another way to improve your business’ local SEO is through citations. A citation is when a third party website lists your business as a point of reference. This could contain your business’ name, location, or contact info. It does not require a backlink to your business’ website.
An example of a citation would be a fashion blog naming your office as a good place to buy designed clothes in your locality. This lets Google know that your business is trustworthy, and it will increase your chances of getting in the local search.
What are the Benefits of Local SEO?
- Visibility and Improvement in Local Rankings: When you’re researching how to learn local SEO, one of the first phrases that you’ll hear from your SEO consultant or see in online research is ‘online business citation’. An online business citation is simply any online mention of your company’s name, its physical address (ideally including zip code) and phone number. This set of data is known as your NAP (Name, Address, Phone Number).
- Directory listings are a very common source of online citations but they can also be built elsewhere. When you fill in your Facebook Page profile information and add your address, for example, you’ve built a local citation. Building citations on sites like Google, Facebook and within relevant online directories such as Yelp or TripAdvisor gives your business more online visibility.
- It also helps your business to be found by the right people (those interested in your specific product or service in their local area) at the right time (when they’re actively searching for a business like yours). If you’re running a B&B in Upstate New York, let’s say, a TripAdvisor NAP could help interested guests find you and make a reservation.
- Reach every Customer: You’d probably agree that Google my Business is Local SEO. While customers are on the go, they use their tablets and mobile phones to locate the best local businesses that would give them what they want, when they want it.
- Converts Searches to Purchases: According to Go-Globe, 78% of local-mobile searches result in offline purchases! The “consumer’s intent” to get search engine results with local businesses is what sets Local SEO apart from other SEO methods. If you’re able to show when your customers are actively searching, you have a much higher chance of converting these leads into actual purchases.
- Free Tools are Available: The good news is, there are tons of local SEO tools you can find online that won’t cost you a single dime. These tools come in handy not only when you’d need to quantify, track, and evaluate your local SEO efforts, but also to implement the tactics as well.
- According to Google, businesses that verify their Google My Business information are twice as likely to be considered reputable by consumers. Google My Business is a directory of sorts; when you claim your listing you’ll able to provide a host of useful information such as business category, opening hours, web address and phone number.
- Be Seen Before Your Competitors: According to Local Marketing Institute, 56% of local businesses have NOT claimed a Google My Business listing. It can be safe to say that a large percentage of the 44% of businesses that have claimed their Google My Business listing aren’t reaping the benefits of local SEO that can be achieved through SEO best practices.
As we mentioned above, ranking on the first page of search and maps is critical to get a lion’s share of all clicks and views for your business. This local SEO benefit can help your target customers see you before they ever see your competition.
There are many Benefits of Local SEO, the primary one being that your marketing cash are being spent (and tracked) against your local growth. Again, it provides tons of value to SMEs and even larger scale business too. So when you think of SEO, rightly add Local SEO to your to-do list too.