How Local SEO Affects Your Business: The Ultimate Guide
Why It’s Important and How You Can Utilize This Strategy
Have you ever wondered how some businesses manage to appear first in line when you make a local search? Maybe you assumed it was paid advertising, or maybe you never put much thought into it at all, until you started your small business. Whatever the case may be, there’s a reason some businesses show up first, and some show up last. This is all due to local SEO marketing. Local SEO tactics are sure to not only put more money into your bank account, but are nearly guaranteed to grow your customer base and boost your presence in the online world. So, what are you waiting for?
What Does The Term ‘Local SEO’ Mean?
Before we dive in, it’s important to understand the basic vocabulary we’ll be using.
“SEO” is an abbreviation meaning search engine optimization. This term is often used by marketers, freelancers, blog writers, business owners, and basically anyone with an online presence wanting to increase traffic to their website.
Search engine optimization means, in the simplest terms, how well your webpage ranks within a Google search.
However, there’s a bit more to it. SEO entails the process done to improve not only your webpage’s popularity but content relevance and traffic.
By utilizing the concept of search engine optimization, you’re making your website more visible to those looking for a product or service within your niche.
SEO makes your page easily findable and boosts your exposure through organic, non-paid search results.
Why Is Local SEO Important For Businesses?
Think about it: how many times have you opened your phone to search for a restaurant nearby? Let’s say you have a craving for Chinese food but are traveling in a new city and don’t know where to find those sweet, flaky egg rolls. So, what do you do? You google it!
The top results that come up first are the businesses that are taking full advantage of local SEO marketing practices.
Local SEO is incredibly important for businesses, but particularly crucial for small businesses.
While face-to-face, personal interactions within your community are important, the days of traditional marketing seem to be nearly over. With technology only amping up, it’s vital to understand how your online presence can make or break your company.
By putting the time, energy, and effort into optimizing your webpage, you’re promoting your products or services to local customers looking for what you offer, exactly when they need it.
As of today, only 50% of businesses use local SEO strategies, meaning if you’re reading this, you now have a leg up.
Do I Need To Utilize Local SEO To Be Successful?
Here’s an energizing statistic for you: When searching for a local business through Google, 88% of customers will either call or visit within 24 hours.
Knowing this should give you all the motivation you need to start refining your website’s local presence.
You’re not only doing yourself, but your business a huge disservice by not taking full advantage of the benefits local SEO has to offer. While it may take some learning and time to set up correctly, once you’ve updated your webpage and taken the necessary steps to improve visibility the rest is quite simple.
Did you know? 45% of all Google searches are for local businesses. If your business isn’t coming up, with the proper configurations made to your website, you could be missing out on a plethora of sales.
The more information a customer can find about your business beforehand, the more trustworthy they feel towards you, and the more likely they are to visit.
Who Needs Search Engine Optimization?
When it comes down to it, if your business has products or services that can actively serve your local community or client base, local SEO is beneficial for you.
- Local small businesses
- Acompanythathas offices or locations in various cities
- Franchisee owners
- Law Firms
- Anyone wanting their company to show up on Google Maps
- Medical practices
- Local trade services: electricians, plumbers, hair stylists, fitness centers, etc..
Essentially, if you provide a good or service to a local area that those visiting or even living in the area cannot get worldwide, local SEO is in your favor.
Benefits of Local SEO For Your Business
No matter if your customers are using Google, Yahoo, Yelp, Bing, or any other platform, all search engines share one commonality: to provide their users with the most relevant, reliable information.
In order to do this, artificial intelligence bots are scattered all throughout the web, filtering out anything unhelpful, and providing only the most efficient results to show.
Instead of aiming to work against any other large corporations across the web, your mission with local SEO is to enable your company to stand out amongst other related businesses or products in your area.
So, if you’re wondering what exact benefits local search engine optimization will bear, here are a few top reasons to get started:
- Improves Your Online Visibility: Did you know? Nearly 70% of all Google clicks are from the first 5 search results. So often we don’t want to scroll any further down a search result page more than halfway, so ensuring your business is coming up in the suggestions Google offers is incredibly valuable. Essentially, you’re a little fish, in the big pond of the world wide web. Local SEO helps customers find you.
- You’ll Draw In New Customers: Tourists are a fantastic way to boost your sales. When visiting a new area, customers are often searching on their phones for restaurants, shops, and services. By utilizing local SEO, these new clientele will find you before they find anyone else. Not only are tourists essential for your business, new residents are also a playing factor. If your local SEO strategy is alive and well, you’re likely to establish new regulars -the bread and butter of your establishment.
- Allows You To Compete: The chance of other businesses within your niche using SEO tactics is quite high, therefore you could be losing out on potential customers that simply just don’t know you exist yet. When other businesses in town are taking up the higher ranking spots on Google, you’re allowing them to control the market. You’ve worked so hard to be the best at what you do, but all of that will go to waste if nobody is able to find you.
- Builds Trust and Authority: In our technologically savvy day and age, we all know what a polished, professional website looks like, vs. a website that only puts forth the bare minimum. If Google is ranking your business among the top relevant and reliable webpages, customers automatically trust that you’ve been vetted. This builds a sense of an honest, dependable brand for your company.
- Increases Your Sales: Of course, this is the most obvious reason why anyone would want to put in the hours to improve their business’s search engine optimization. The world is full of impulsive people who may be out for a midday stroll and have the sudden urge to pick up a bouquet of fresh flowers. More often than not, they pull out their phone and search for flower shops nearby. If your page is coming up first, there’s a high probability it’s going to get clicked on. This, no doubt, boosts your sales and drives traffic to your business.
How Google Plays A Vital Role in Local SEO
While there are many, many other search engines on the web, Google reigns supreme and none of us see that changing anytime soon.
86% of people use Google services to find the products they need.
The average person uses Google 3 to 4 times a day, meaning, making Google work in your favor is undeniably beneficial for your business and your sales. By playing Google’s game, by Google’s rules, you’re putting more money in your wallet.
There are 2 ways Google will increase your page’s visibility: local maps and organic ranking.
First, let’s talk about what you’ll need first: a Google My Business page.
Why Do I Need A “Google My Business Page”?
Prior to 2019, Google would show search results for any particular topic based on star reviews from customers. With more and more demand for localized results, the switch was made over to proximity-based results.
So, when a customer searches for ‘nail salons’ they’ll often get the closest nail salon to them, making it much more likely for them to stop in.
In order to even show up in Google’s ranked results, you’ll need a Google My Business page.
Google My Business is a tool used for all programs within Google. It allows you to set your business’ hours of operation, location, photos, and it will be where customers write reviews on your products or services.
In addition, Google My Business allows customers to quickly and easily find your contact information such as phone number, email or social media, as well as links to your webpage, all within a small, white box.
This is incredibly important for Google’s ‘Local Pack’ search results (which we will discuss shortly). In order for Google to even consider promoting your business as one of the first few search results, it’s required to have a Google My Business page.
Not only does a Google My Business page increase your visibility, it allows you to communicate with customers, manage your information, and create an online presence. For more tips on how to create a Google My Business page, click here.
Google’s Search Results: Local Pack
When it comes to Google Maps and searching for businesses nearby, a customer will receive both a list of Google’s ‘local pack’ and their ‘localized organic ranking’.
The local pack is the list of Google’s most relevant businesses related to a particular search. This will appear at the top of a local search results page, in a white box underneath the map.
Google’s local pack is truly the highest honor you can receive when working on your SEO marketing strategy. If you’re ‘vetted’ by Google as being tried and true, reliable, and up to date, there’s a very high chance you’re going to be clicked on after a particular search is done.
Google’s Search Results: Localized Organic Ranking
Localized organic rankings are the search results that appear underneath the local pack. They are still going to be the first few results to come up, so if you aren’t in the local pack don’t fret.
One of the most effective ways to boost your webpage and end up ranking higher in localized organic results is through reviews.
Google uses customer reviews as social proof that all the information you’ve displayed on your webpage is accurate.
Not only does the quantity of reviews matter, the quality and diversity of reviews will either increase or decrease your placement in Google’s organic search results.
In addition, if you want your business to show up in the organic search results, ensuring all of your information is 100% up to date is crucial. If your page is reported to Google enough times as being inaccurate, Google may flag it as unreliable.
3 Simple Ways To Maximize Your Local SEO Strategy
This may seem like a lot of information, however, there are a few key tips to getting started in local SEO marketing.
- Perfect your Google My Business page: This means ensuring all hours of operation are correct, you provide a phone number, email, social media account or link to your website. Including professional photos of your building and the interior builds trust with customers beforehand.
- Optimize Your Webpage For Mobile: Keep in mind many customers are going to be searching for your business via smartphone, so creating a mobile version of your site will boost traffic even more.
- Customer Reviews: The variety and condition of your Google reviews determine 14% of your localized rank. This may not seem like a large number, but it’s more than social media.
Local SEO Is Critical For Your Business
Even if you don’t consider yourself a ‘tech-savvy’ person, there’s truly no way around it: the internet runs nearly everything in our world.
If you don’t feel as though you have the skills, or the time to perfect your SEO marketing strategy, there’s an entire field of freelancers specialized in this exact thing.
There is always a way to make your online presence known if you’re willing to put the time, effort, and dedication into doing so.
Not only will this give you an advantage over other competition, it will build trust among customers (both new and old), draw in new faces, and of course, boost revenue.
Local SEO marketing is essentially risk-free and the benefits are quick to follow.