Every time we require the information for a service provider or business in our vicinity, our search on a search engine may comprise words such as:
- XYZ business near me
- ABC services in Austin/Texas
- Best XXXX within 8 km
These are search terms that we as internet users often utilize to narrow down our search for specific services/businesses/products. These are the search terms that scream local. But what if the search engine returns listings that are by no means local or in the vicinity? Or worse, what if your business is not easily discoverable despite fitting all the criteria specified by the user?
If your business or service is not being listed when and where it needs to be by search engines and you are losing out to competition, you might want to take a look at your SEO strategy. Is your SEO strategy designed to make your business listing pop up for all relevant local searches – that is the question that you may need to ask.
What is local SEO? How does local SEO work?
While your website allows you to be visible on a global scale, ultimately, your clients are those that are in your local neighborhood, and this is especially true for locally-owned businesses such as brick and mortar stores, restaurants, and mom and pop shops. This has become especially true in recent times, with the pandemic changing the very dynamics of how consumers shop – be it for groceries, vegetables, food deliveries, clothes, or even electronics and luxury items. It has shown that close to an additional 28% of consumers searched online for a local business than they would have in any other year.
Local SEO is a strategy that helps you optimize your website for specific local areas and increase your visibility in local search results on search engines. This strategy assists you in ranking highly for specific search queries performed by the local audience. For example, if you own a restaurant in a specific area, and specialize in Mediterranean cuisine, the local SEO strategy will assist your business by listing you on the top every time a user searches for this cuisine in his/her vicinity.
In other words, local search engine optimization focuses on optimizing your website and making it mobile-friendly by creating local landing pages, among other things, in order to be discoverable for local search results.
Do I need local SEO? Why is Local SEO Important?
Business owners may often think that when they have more than adequate social media presence and marketing tactics, search optimization may not be really required. However, statistics show otherwise. Search is the key driver behind increased footfall. It has been said that search is 300% more effective than other marketing strategies to increase business footfall. Here are a few more statistics to emphasize the importance of local search results.
- 97% of internet users search online for a local business – service, and products
- 46% of all searches are for local businesses
- 75% of the users do not look beyond the first page of search engine results
- 25% of the users invariably go with the very first business listed, while those businesses ranked beyond the 6th place get less than 2%
- 70% of users visit the stores they located online
- 28% of such searches result in a purchase
These statistics are for all online searches; when we narrow the searches down to mobile platforms, the numbers speak for themselves:
- Over 84% of the searches using words such as “near me” that screams local are done on mobiles
- The number of mobile searches using the keywords “near me” is increasing by 136% year-on-year
- Nearly 78% of mobile searches for local businesses result in purchases
Especially at a time when a majority of consumers are opting for the online mode of shopping, being within the arm’s reach of the consumer is critical for the business. It is like sending your consumers a variety of signals to say that you are in the vicinity and that you are ready to serve them.
If you optimize your business for ranking high on local searches, including on mobile devices, you can be easily found by customers in that area. As simple as that.
What are the Key Local SEO Ranking Factors?
With sites such as Yelp, Facebook, and Google My Business adding several free features for optimizing local searches for businesses, the way consumers connect with businesses near them is changing constantly. They also add value to the business through benefits such as the following:
- Improved search engine ranking
- Better visibility in the neighborhood
- Better credibility
A part of the local SEO strategy includes using the right content, on-page optimizations, local landing pages, adding store locator options, and appropriate link building to help your business rank high on search results. The key factors that help determine your business ranking and visibility are as follows:
1. Google My Business – A free tool, GMB is set up by Google to help connect consumers with local businesses in different ways including Google Maps. In fact, over 86% of users check for the location of a business on Google Maps. Search algorithms use contact information, category listing, proximity, content, etc., to pop up businesses in specific areas.
2. On-page signals – Factors such as the right keywords in the search, contact details on the webpages, mobile-friendliness, etc., help increase ranking in local searches.
3. Online reviews – Online reviews play a pivotal role – over 87% of consumers perused online reviews for local businesses in the first year of the pandemic.
4. Backlink profile – Linking your website to local publications, local community websites, local directories, etc., help increase the credibility factor for your business. Such qualitative and relevant backlinks are an important part of local SEO efforts.
5. Behavioral signals – Specific indicators show how users engage with a website. These include factors such as the click-through rate, social media check-ins, and mobile click to call. These factors determine the relevance and ease of use of the websites. A strong local SEO strategy should also track, monitor, and change these factors to increase engagement with users.
6. Local content – Users always connect with businesses that seem more approachable, relevant, and relatable. Community-based information and content focused on local news help users immediately bond with such businesses.
7. Citations – Users look at online citations to check for consistent information regarding businesses the same way that the previous generation used the Yellow Pages. As a result, accuracy in the listed information becomes crucial.
How can Profit-Driven help improve your Local SEO?
Even as the lines between offline and online blur with omnichannel shopping coming into its own as a thing, it is undeniable that the competition is heating up. For many businesses, survival depends on how discoverable and relevant they have made themselves on something as seemingly simple as a search engine. However, search engine algorithms are by no means simple in nature.
When handled right, businesses can reap the many benefits that search engine optimization can lend to their easy discoverability, increased footfall, better customer retention, and increased ROI. If done right and with someone who understands the nitty-gritties of SEO, local SEO may prove to be a very valuable business development strategy.
Local SEO is the most powerful tool to increase the quantity and quality of leads that your business receives through organic search. It can be the factor that helps you to be easily discoverable and remain relevant in a technology-led world.
Partner with the best SEO agency to drive up your business ranking online. Visit www.profit-driven.com/ to get your free 30-minute consultation with our team of SEO experts.
1. What is the difference between SEO and local SEO?
While SEO helps in improving the visibility of your website/business on a global scale, the focus of the local SEO strategy is to increase your visibility and discoverability in local circles. Local SEO works on ways to connect you better with local users. It can use steps such as:
- Adding relevant contact information
- Highlighting your specialization (products/services)
- Giving users reviews to increase the credibility of your business
- Local SEO has been said to receive the highest customer conversion levels among all the local advertising methods.
2. What are the top local SEO factors?
The main local SEO ranking factors that every business should consider while developing their local SEO strategy include relevance, proximity, and prominence. Additionally, some factors that are considered to be top-ranking factors include:
- Physical address
- Consistency of contact information in the citations
- Categorization in Google My Business
- Proximity to user
- Quality of website
- Quality of backlinks
- Quality of reviews
3. How can you improve your local SEO?
Here are some ways to improve your local SEO efforts:
- Create a GMB account
- Improve on the reviews you receive
- Optimize for voice searches
- Optimize for mobile searches
- Include local information in the content
- Research and use optimized keywords
- Use tools such as store locators or location pages
- Get quality backlinks
- Create comprehensive and dedicated web pages with accurate information
4. How do you know if you need a local SEO strategy?
Here are some signs to show that you need a local SEO strategy:
- You are not optimized for the “near me” keyword searches
- Competition is ranking higher
- There is a high bounce rate on your website and minimal customer conversions
- Your website content is not localized and updated
- You do not have online reviews to improve customer experience
- Your contact information is not accurate
- You are not optimized for mobile searches
- Your backlinks are non-existent or are not qualitative
- Your website does not have a logical site structure and information regarding the location
- You have no way to measure the local traffic on your website
- Your citation information is incomplete or redundant