Local SEO is something all businesses should be focusing on for quite a few different reasons.
Many of the steps you would take to improve your local SEO are fairly simple. For example, if you optimize your Google listing simply by adding pictures, you can get 35% more clicks through to your website. Adding photos is simple, and you can include pictures of your team, the interior of your business and the exterior.
Despite the fact that many of the steps you need to take to improve your local SEO are simple, it’s not something a lot of businesses focus on, but they should.
The following gives you an overview of what SEO is and some reasons why you should think about incorporating it into your business strategy.
An Overview of Local SEO
If you have a brick-and-mortar location, local SEO can help optimize your site so that people can find you in “real life.”
Local searches also tend to have more purchase intent, and they work especially well for service-based companies who might be searching as an example for “personal injury lawyers in…” or “personal injury lawyers near me.”
Search engines can understand what someone is looking for suggestions based on their location, and they’ll then provide them with places near them as a result.
It’s estimated that four out of five people using online search engines are looking for local information. If you want to be relevant, you have to keep that in mind.
The signals used for local SEO include locally-driven content, links, and citations, and social profile pages.
Beyond what’s already been touched on, the following are some other reasons businesses should think about local SEO.
People Rely on Google For Everything
Years ago, when someone wanted to find a local business close to them, they would use the phone book. Now, nearly everyone goes online to find what they’re looking for, and this includes local businesses.
There are very few people who don’t use Google to search for local businesses online, so to reach the vast majority of consumers in your area, you need SEO that’s locally targeted.
The very fact that we have such a reliance on Google is one of the number one reasons you should be thinking about local SEO.
Many people turn to their mobile devices when they need to find information, and when these people are out and about, they’re likely to use their phones to find what they need. You can put yourself quite literally in the pocket of your targeted customer if you focus on local SEO and do it well.
For example, according to Entrepreneur, 46% of searchers now use their mobile devices exclusively to do product research and most mobile searches are localized. Since consumers can search anytime and from anywhere, they’re more likely to conduct local searches on their mobile devices.
Google and other search engines are building on this trend by collecting more relevant data about where users are located and their search histories to inherently drive search-specific results.
What this means, according to the same Entrepreneur article, is that if you focus on local SEO you could theoretically outrank a very large national company, only because you’re physically closer to the person conducting the search.
One of the most challenging things about SEO and ranking well is the competition. It’s tough to compete against large companies with massive budgets to put toward SEO, but localized SEO is easier and less competitive.
If you’re trying to rank for a keyword on a national scale, you’re going to be up against every single other company doing the same thing throughout the country and perhaps even the world.
If you focus on your city or even more localized searches such as neighborhood-based optimization, you’re only competing against a few other companies.
Yes, you’re narrowing down the number of people who are going to be searching for your local keywords, but the searchers that are going to find you this way may be much more valuable.
More Targeted Content
If you’ve educated yourself on anything related to not only SEO but content marketing and marketing in general, you likely know how important it is to target everything as narrowly to your audience as you can.
A big part of that can stem from location-based content. You can target people based on hyper-local content and SEO, and it’s likely to boost your ROI. It gives you a relevant thing to focus on for your audience. For instance, guest blogging is on the rise—while you can fill your blogging schedule with in-house blogs from your staff, an outside perspective gives you a leg up over the competition.
That hyper-localized and very narrowly targeted content is why even national brands will often invest in local SEO.
Importance of Online Reviews
A big part of ranking well in terms of local SEO relies on your online reviews. You have to put in the effort to build great reviews, but when you do so, that can automatically make your business seem trustworthy in the eyes of people searching.
If they pull up your business and you have no reviews and minimal online presence, they’re less likely to come to you.
Many people trust online reviews as much as they trust personal recommendations.
To sum it all up, your business should care about local SEO for a number of reasons, including the fact that people conducting local searches tend to have more buyer intent powering their search. Local search is good for foot traffic, it’s less competitive to rank based on local keywords and having a strong online presence that’s localized is going to make your business appear more trustworthy.
If you aren’t already investing in local SEO and it’s relevant to your business, now could be the time to start.
Of course, local SEO isn’t necessarily relevant to every business. An online-only business might not need local SEO, but if you have a brick-and-mortar location or you’re a service provider, you probably do.
Local SEO is likely headed toward improved context and understanding, particularly with the growth of smart home devices and voice search as well.