In recent years, statistics have shown that over 50 percent of internet searches were performed using mobile phones. The majority of those searchers were looking for different products or services within their geographical locations. What this simply means is that, it is important for location-based businesses to have a solid Local SEO strategy in place.
You need to improve the online presence of your business in your region because the only way to survive the competition is by making your prospective customers engage with your business easily.
So, what’s Local SEO?
Local SEO can simply be defined as a search engine optimization strategy that businesses use to reach their target customers based on their location. It involves a series of actions specifically designed to improve the visibility of websites in search engines. It’s used to promote products and services to local prospects and customers. When properly implemented, Local SEO can help your business outrank bigger competitors.
Although, there are lots of similarities between Local SEO and organic SEO, the two are ultimately different. When people go on the internet, search engines generate results for local searches based on local content, links, social profile page, and citations. Local SEO focuses on providing results that are related to users’ searches based on their current locations. For instance, if a user searches for ‘best Italian kitchen’ on his mobile device, Google would generate results that are nearest to him.
Which companies can leverage Local SEO?
With the increased number of mobile searches, Local SEO is not just for local businesses, but for all businesses that want to improve their online presence in their locality. In the US, records have shown that four out of five consumers use search engines to look for information about local businesses. This means that if your business is not optimized for local search, you could be losing about 80 percent of your potential customers.
All small businesses need Local SEO to stay relevant and competitive. By optimizing your business website for your geographical location, local searchers will find your products or services easier. Today, Local SEO is crucial for location-based businesses such as local stores, companies, agencies, restaurants, etc.
Your website is the second location of your business. With Local SEO, you’re making it easier for consumers to interact with your business. People will be able to locate and learn about your business’ webpage. This is crucial for the growth of your business.
Guide on how to do Local SEO
Here are a few tips on how to carry out your local search optimization strategy (Local SEO)
1. Optimize for Google My Business
Setting up your Google My Business page is the first recommended step when optimizing for local search. When doing this, make sure that you fully complete your business profile, providing all essential information such as nature of business, contact details, address, opening hours, etc. Once Google can verify you as a genuine business, the search engine will reward you with a sidebar space in Google local search. This is the fastest and easiest way for any business to show up in Google searches and maps.
Google often prioritizes websites with an existing Google My Business profile. These websites appear in search results because Google have a better understanding of these businesses and they use that as signal that links to any localized searches related to what these businesses do. Optimizing for Google My Business is free, easy and one of the fastest ways to tell Google about your business and location.
2. Add regional pages to your website
Creating regional pages for local services will also help you in building up a solid Local SEO. These pages are similar to landing pages and they should contain your contact information that users can use to get in touch with you. The pages should give users information about your business name, address, phone number, opening hours, store description, and so on.
If your business has multiple locations, you can create a location page for each of the locations, but make sure you avoid duplicating content across these pages. You can also improve your Local SEO by adding a Google Map on each of your location pages.
3. Create Local Content
Nothing interests your target audience more than talking about things that directly affect them. You can attract a bigger local audience by creating localized content. While covering general topics in the industry will attract a wider crowd, a local business should focus on the local audience. People will see you as an authority when you regularly post local content about your industry.
In order to rank high in Google, you need engaging content, so instead of creating content for search engines only, you should focus more on searchers. Doing this will improve your website’s UX and generate more traffic.
4. Optimize the citation pages
Citation pages are web pages where consumers can compare and learn about local businesses. A couple examples of citation pages are Yelp, Yellowpages, Apple, Bing, TripAdvisor, etc. There are hundreds of citation pages, each specializing in one or multiple different categories.
Some of the users that eventually visit your website come directly from citation pages. They looked up your business on these pages, found the required information and searched your website. Most potential buyers will never go to your page until they are ready to make a purchase. What they see on citation pages will highly influence their perception about your business.
This shows that optimizing citation pages is an important step of Local SEO. You need to be careful when setting up your business on citation pages. Your citations must be complete and consistent across all platforms. Avoid discrepancies such as misspellings, abbreviations, wrong contact details, or lack of suite number. Furthermore, avoid any duplicate listing, because it might cause a problem if Google can’t ascertain the correct information about your business.
5. Make sure that your website is mobile-friendly
In 2013, Fresh Egg reported that four out of five people use mobile phones to search for local information. It was also revealed that 40 percent of mobile queries have local intent. In the US, Google recently revealed that one third of all mobile searches are local and that 87 percent of people use their phone on the go. They also found that 95 percent of consumers look up local information on their phones.
All these statistics only point out that mobile search and local search go hand in hand. It shows that people are using mobile for searches more than any other devices. Consumers look up reviews, find directions to business locations, and search for contact details on their phones. Make it easy for your target customers to locate your business by making your website mobile-friendly.
6. Get backlinks from reputable and relevant websites
Inbound linking is the action when another website provides a link to your site from their page. Google sees backlinks as an indicator that your website has high quality content and that you’re a legitimate business. They can also contribute to increasing your domain authority. This makes backlinks one of the most important elements of Local SEO.
Link Building is not about quantity, it’s about quality! Google values links from reputable, relevant and authority websites more than links from low quality websites that have nothing to do with your business. It is therefore important to start sourcing for inbound links from your personal network such as resellers, trade associations, manufacturers, vendors, and other affiliates.
You can also get inbound links by sponsoring a community event, hosting a webinar or promoting something local which relates to your business. Building a good relationship with authorities and influencers in your industry also helps.
7. Use social media
The main purpose of Local SEO is reaching out to prospects or consumers. The various social media platforms serve as ideal places to engage your target customers. Social media interactions such as likes, comments, retweets, shares, etc. can increase your business prominence. The more people engage with your social media content, the greater the chances of purchase. Google now considers social media content more important than ever.
The only challenge of leveraging social media is creating appealing content that will give you the desired exposure. Make sure that you post high-quality content such as images, videos and other forms of content, which is relevant to your business. Once you’re able to regularly come up with engaging content on your social media accounts, your business rise to prominence will be assured, and you’ll stand a better chance of converting more leads to purchase.
8. Ask and manage your customer reviews
Feedbacks and reviews from customers highly influence local rankings. They are the most valuable currency that shows the integrity of a business. Having great reviews will ease the process of converting leads to customers. Citation pages such as Yelp, TripAdvisor, Bing, and so on all have reviews as part of their basic functionality.
Google gives priority to businesses with high number of reviews and high ratings. You need to encourage your customers to rate your products and services. People tend to trust a business more when they are rated by an independent source. The keywords in your customer reviews can also be utilized for Local SEO.
Now, let’s take a look at some of the benefits of Local SEO
1. It improves online visibility
Building citations is one of the strategies involved in Local SEO. Doing this will give your website a stronger online visibility and improves your local rankings. As a result, you’ll get more traffic and sales. Having high quality traffic to your website is obviously what every business wants. If you optimize your business website for Local SEO, it makes it easier for your potential customers to find you on Google.
2. Local optimization converts leads to sales
The consumer’s intent to get results for local businesses on search engines is what makes Local SEO unique and beneficial. Consumers are not just searching for information, they are searching with the intent of purchasing. They already know what they want, and they are looking for a local business to get it.
Obviously, if your business comes up first for a search, then you have the highest chance of getting the sale. In a report by Go-Globe, they stated that 78 percent of location-based mobile searches leads to offline purchases.
3. It’s easy to set up
Local SEO involves simple and practical methods that you can easily do to promote your business to potential customers. You can highly improve your business’ local ranking by providing accurate and relevant business information across all platforms. These are all simple Local SEO strategies that you can set up on your own and get great results.
How much does Local SEO cost?
In Local SEO, there are lots of things you can do for free. However, the more advanced methods usually require an investment and expertise. Still, if you think about the potential ROI of ranking on the first page of Google, it’s easy to understand why so many businesses invest in this activity.
By now, you probably have a much better picture on why do you need local SEO and you also learnt some quick tips on how to go about it. However, getting started is the most difficult part! So, if you’d still need help with your local SEO campaign, feel free to get in touch with our SEO agency.
Our team has the right experience to help you in boosting your website’s online presence through local SEO!