As simple as it sounds, local SEO is applying SEO strategies for promoting businesses locally. This serves great for the businesses that have a brick-and-mortar presence and want to extend their reach to their potential online customers.
By relying on social pages, available local content, links, and citations, search engines are able to produce results that are most relevant to the user. But do businesses still understand its importance? Let’s understand why it is so crucial for businesses to expand their online reach locally.
So, What Exactly is Local SEO?
It can be called a part of SEO, which helps customers near you reach you. For example, if you are listed on the third or fifth page of the search engine, the chances of a customer finding your business drop drastically. However, with the effective implementation of local SEO strategies, your business page can appear much higher on the top of the first page itself.
People unfamiliar with your business can find you through your listings on various search engine pages. Harnessing the benefits of the several tools that facilitate SEO implementation through local listings can improve the overall sales, revenue, and customer reach of your business.
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How is Local SEO Different from SEO
The strategies could be the same but traditional SEO focuses on increasing page rankings and visibility on a worldwide scale, whereas local SEO targets the local territory for relevant searches. While organic SEO’s main goal is to rank your pages higher on the search engine result pages, local SEO strategies aim to serve the local customers with their queries and are mainly for the brick and mortar businesses who want to now reach their local customers through online marketing. Both can boost your website’s overall performance and strengthen your business if implemented correctly.
But why is it so crucial for a business to expand in its local territory? Let’s understand its importance through various surveys and studies conducted to derive the following statistics:
There has been an incredible 900% increase in searches for “near me” or “close by”. The percentage of people enquiring about a local company on the internet, than anywhere else, is around 97%. Out of these, 54% are looking for such information once every month, whereas almost 12% are looking for it every day.
- A study found that 92% of the consumers traveled just 20 minutes to get their daily essentials. Businesses can take advantage of this fact and form strategies to reach their existing and potential customers within that radius.
- The search engine giant, Google has also observed that 46% of its searches end up in information looking for local information. Start-ups or midsized businesses, which are not using this for their benefit, are missing out on a lot of potential customers. Statistics have also found that out of the potential buyers searching on the mobile for their product or service, 78% of them will go ahead and make a purchase. This is a great market to pitch in that can be used to boost business.
- The fact that about 62% of the consumers will overlook a business if it’s not found on the internet. And around 70% will only visit the store because they found some information about it online. Reviews or feedback has always played a very crucial role in the buying decision. But did you know that 88% of the customers rely on reviews for making a purchase? That’s indicative of why marketers should not ignore getting positive genuine reviews from their existing customers.
- Another very important feature is Google Maps, on which customers rely heavily to reach the physical store. To find local businesses, around 86% of people will take the help of Google Maps. Despite more and more marketers being now aware of the advantages of local SEO, there are still around 56% of them who have not marked their presence on the Google My Business listings.
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Strategies to Boost Local SEO
Google My Business (GMB):
A powerful and free tool offered by the search engine, which works in collaboration with Google Maps. It enables businesses to upload and manage their information on Google, making it easy for users to find.
Google’s totally free Google My Business tool makes efficient use of the available content on the search engine to provide users searching for your business or a good or service that your business can offer. To optimize your business with GMB, you need to first create and verify a GMB page. You will also need to use Google Posts within your account.
Get those Happy Customer Testimonials:
The statistics have pointed out that 88% of the customers rely on reviews for making a purchase. Therefore including testimonials of your happy customers can be a great strategy.
At the same time, actively responding to those reviews (either good or bad) is extremely important as well. Studies have found that 85% of the customers apparently believe a review similar to a personal recommendation. Google’s algorithm crawls through the reviews that a website has on its GMB page, while it looks up for a search inquiry. Reviews are also a great way to validate that whatever you have mentioned is genuine and verified.
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Best SEO Practices:
Well plan your content marketing and link-building strategies. As a part of the local SEO strategies, it is very important for companies to understand the importance of localized content and the popularity of local linking. Building local landing pages, which have details such as the address and phone numbers will be highly beneficial.
This is especially helpful if you have a business operating at multiple locations. Do not forget to optimize Meta descriptions or title tags, and follow the best SEO techniques to optimize your pages. Basically, your overall SEO implementation and its effectiveness will play a huge role in getting desired results.
Sharpen Your SEO Tactics with Local Keywords:
Find keywords that are relevant to the local customers. Then, you need to create content that has keywords specific to the given region, landmarks, or other hotspots. Including these keywords in the URLs, Meta content and copy of your website will be a great technique to enhance your visibility locally.
Take Advantage of Local Directories:
Citations and listings on local directories can help you greatly. You need to copy the exact same entries as in the Google My Business page in terms of formatting and representation on your local directories. It is a little daunting process, but there are several tools that can make things easier.
Direct using Social Media:
Having a presence in social media pages such as Facebook, Twitter, etc., is a must for overall SEO implementation. The page not only will mention your business but also direct customers to your location. SEO experts say that the mere existence of a business on a social media page can do wonders, especially if you are present at multiple locations.
Build a Mobile-Friendly Page:
A study on Web FX found that 76% of people, who look up something on their smartphones, visit the store within a day. This is enough to understand how important it is to build a page that is mobile-friendly.
The usage and popularity of mobile have increased dramatically over the years. People are mostly on the go while looking for something and will use their phones to search for it. Therefore, adapting to the dynamic version of your website, which can work on both desktop as well as mobile, will be advantageous for your SEO goals.
Do not Underestimate Voice Searches:
Did you know that there are more than one billion voice searches taking place each month and it’s predicted to grow? People mostly use voice searches when they are on the go and can’t type. Missing this aspect can make you lose leads for your business.
So, optimize for how people ask questions in the form of voice commands on their devices. The content of your website also needs to be created accordingly, including the long-tail keywords that the customers will ask in the form of questions.
Creating Local Content:
In today’s date, you need to write content to satisfy users and not the search engines. This means what the users are looking for – the more specific you are, the more relevant is your content. You can write about local news and stories to lure local customers.
Local Link Building:
Link signals are one of the most important factors contributing to boosting SEO. But, at the same time, it is also important to get links that are of good quality. For this, the foremost important thing is to create good quality content so that sites want to link to your content. You can also try guest blogging on other sites which have high domain authority or find a way to attract local social influencers who can promote your site by linking back to you.
With search engines frequently changing their algorithms, it is very important to stay on top of your SEO game. The ten points mentioned above will give you a fair knowledge and understanding of why you must immediately start harnessing its benefits if you still haven’t. However, don’t be overwhelmed, if it seems arduous as there are several tools to assist you with every step.
A few of Them are Explained below (in Alphabetical Order):
1. BiQ: Powered by AI, this tool will assist you in both attracting more traffic and ranking your pages higher as well. The tool also helps in finding high-value keywords and can monitor the progress of SEO. You can find mistakes and fix them using this highly efficient tool.
2. BrightLocal: A local marketing platform that uses social media as the medium to fetch new customers and improve online and social presence. BrightLocal is a very cost-effective tool. By the use of features such as feedback surveys and personalization, BrightLocal becomes an excellent SEO tool for reputation management, rating & review management, and white labeling.
3. GeoRanker: This SEO tool has a unique feature of tracking rankings of your website by multiple locations around the world. Users are able to develop specific campaigns targeting locations where rankings are high.
GeoRanker also specializes in acquiring customers, increasing social and digital presence, and entering new local as well as international markets. It has a citation tool that helps its users to identify the source of the citations that their competitors are using.
4. GrowthBar: It can be easily downloaded as an app or used as a Google Chrome extension. GrowthBar will be helpful in fetching local keyword searches or competitor analysis. A low-cost SEO tool, GrowthBar, will also determine insightful data on domain authority.
5. Listing Management Tool by SemRush: This is a great tool to use as a platform, which acts as a centralized dashboard to keep your listings, reviews, or local pages in one place and provide it when people search for it. SemRush’s Listing Management Tool is made in collaboration with Yext (see #9.)
6. Moz Local: This is one of the most favorite tools used by SEO professionals. Developed by Moz, this tool will strengthen the local visibility of your business, claim, verify and manage the local listings. Moz Local is a great tool in identifying errors in your citations that could be damaging your SEO implementation.
7. Screaming Frog: If you are searching for a free SEO tool, then Screaming Frog is for you. Only the advanced features will come with a cost.
8. Synup: This tool crawls through your local directories and search engines to monitor your business performance. Synup will also go through review sites and allow you to reply to comments.
9. Yext: Businesses across the globe have been taking advantage of Yext, as it is one of the very few SEO tools that have an automated listing management feature. You can also update your NAP information in real-time.
10. Whitespark Local Citation Finder: To improve your SEO rankings, this tool can be the best choice to invest in. Whitespark Local Citation Finder will also identify where you should list your business. A much cheaper tool, compared to others, this has additional features including the ability to review local search rankings by a city.
Other than the above-mentioned list, there are several others that are being widely used. These include Ahrefs, Navads, Grid My Business, Buzzstream, Google Analytics, Google Trends, and Google AdWords Keyword Planner, and many more.
Frequently Answered Questions:
- How do I create a local SEO strategy?
An effective strategy will start from taking stock of and auditing your own business. It will include competitive keywords that are also geo-centric; entail local link building and optimizing landing pages for local listings, and will also comprise adding positive reviews.
- What is the proper method to optimize my business for local SEO?
Adding NAP details, following, claiming, and verifying your page on Google My Business, and adding schema mark-ups and listing on local directories are a few of the important steps to optimize your local business.
- Why is local SEO important for small businesses?
For a small business getting leads and work opportunities from different cities/countries will not be very beneficial compared to how much it will reap from local customers. It will be a big boost to sales and revenue if there is a website that is locally listed on search engines.
- What is local SEO v/s SEO?
Although both aim for increasing visibility and gaining more customers, traditional SEO practices are more focused on ranking higher on overall online platforms, globally; whereas local SEO tries to connect and attract the local customers who live in proximity. Local SEO is specifically beneficial for businesses that have a brick-and-mortar presence.
Therefore, it is now very clear that adopting local SEO strategies can prove to be very beneficial for your brick-and-mortar business. And not just locally, but a business can even attract non-local customers who might be planning a visit to your area. The statistics mentioned above already validate the importance of local SEO.
So, when it comes to running a business in today’s time, no stones should be left unturned. If you are still not present online, now is the time to step up. The more information people have on you online, the more trustworthy your business becomes.