In a single second, over 67,000 searches are entered into Google. Many of them are local searches. Chances are high that, at least every 10-15 seconds, a consumer uses a search engine to help them learn where they can get the products or services that your company offers. But, is local SEO truly as important as everyone would have you believe?
What kind of a difference can it make in your search engine rankings, brand recognition, and above all, your profits?
Read on to fully grasp the sheer power of SEO.
1. Local SEO Is Bigger Than Ever
One of the most common misconceptions that we see about SEO is that many companies are so focused on “huge numbers” or “going global” that they completely overlook where the real money is — their local market.
Over 40% of all entries into search engines are related to a user’s location or local businesses in their area.
This means that, if you don’t make local SEO a focal point of your overall digital marketing strategy, you could be missing out on close to half of your target market.
Now is the right time to invest in local SEO services.
Check out these local SEO statistics that you can’t afford to ignore below!
2. Local SEO Drives Foot Traffic
Close to 90% of consumers who conduct a search for a local business on their mobile devices either make a call to your store or make an in-person visit within 24 hours of that search.
This means that local SEO drives people into your store, or reaching out to speak to a customer service representative directly.
When consumers look at your products in-person or have a chance to be educated about your services, they’re much more likely to make a purchase.
They’ll also probably come back to work with you again in the future, and perhaps also spread the word about your business to friends and family members.
3. Consumers Rely on Search
Yes, many potential customers do rely on word of mouth, print marketing, and even television ads to help them to learn about local businesses.
However, you may be surprised to know that 4 out of 5 shoppers rely on search engines to give them the information they need about local businesses, events, and services.
According to BightLocal, 97% of people search online to find out more about a local company they heard about or were referred to.
Make sure you give these consumers something to find when they Google your business. And something that is impressive and engaging enough to get them in the door.
Furthermore, the majority of those local consumers want the results that search engines display to be customized to their zip codes, city, or even nearby landmarks or other local businesses.
This means your local content needs to be hyperlocalized to include not just keywords, but topics that reference your street name, neighborhood, nearby tourist destinations, and even the business nearby.
Become an online resource for your local area. Check out this example.
4. Shoppers Read Online Reviews
Over 90% of shoppers read online reviews about a local business before they decide to work with them, and 84% of consumers say that they value these online reviews just as much as they do suggestions from people they know.
That’s why one of the most important local business SEO tips is to claim your third-party online business listings, like your pages on Yelp, Angie’s List, and Google My Business.
Don’t be afraid to incentivize past customers to leave you online reviews, and read and respond to as many of them as you can (whether positive or negative.)
Often, potential customers will take your responses as an indication of the level of customer service they can expect to receive. So, respond promptly to complaints and publically try to rectify any issues.
How to Respond to Google My Business Reviews
To respond to reviews on Google My Business, you’ll have to first log in with your Gmail or G-suite email by going to https://business.google.com/
Next, on the left-hand panel, you’ll see “Reviews”.
Then, on the right of the panel, you’ll see the “Reply” button below a review if there are any you haven’t replied to yet.
Once you hit that button, write away and post your reply!
Note: you can also see all the reviews you’ve both replied to or haven’t replied to in the bar above the reviews.
Replying to reviews allows you and your business to build meaningful relationships with customers. Keep in mind that these responses are public, so, when constructing a response to your customers, keep the following tips in mind:
Be friendly, personable, do not be rude, do not be argumentive on negative reviews and most importantly, write a meaningful response. Show that you actually care that they took the time to let the world know how happy they are with your company.
5. Ranking High in Local Search
Need another reason to get in touch with a local SEO agency ASAP?
What about the fact that more than 90% of consumers make buying decisions based off of the first page of local search engine results — and that the very first position in these results gets about 33% of all search traffic?
The truth is that, especially as a local or smaller business, you need to do everything that you can to make it to the first page of Google, or risk drowning in the countless other results.
To do this, you’ll need to work with local SEO services that will help you to select the right keywords, develop a link building strategy, and keep you on a consistent blog posting schedule.
6. Local SEO Caters To Impulse Buyers
Especially in today’s instant gratification-obsessed environment, we know you want to do everything possible to encourage impulse purchases.
Developing the right local SEO strategy can help make that happen.
In fact, recent studies show that about 65% of consumers say that they conduct local searches on their mobile phones when they’re in the mood to buy something.
Additionally, over 70% of those impulse shoppers will visit a company’s website when they’re ready to shop. That’s about 30% more than will go to a physical store to do their shopping.
This doesn’t mean that they’re not willing to go to a physical location, however.
In fact, within the past few years, searches for phrases like “stores open now” or “restaurants open now” have more than doubled.
Focusing on local SEO means that these shoppers will end up in your store when they’re ready to go on an impromptu shopping spree. Or maybe just when they are looking for a place to eat with friends when they’re on the go.
7. Location-Based Keywords Are More Popular Than Ever
In order to fully understand local SEO, you also need to consider the surge of popularity in regards to location-based keywords.
We’re not just talking about including the name of your city/state within the local keyword phrases you target.
Especially given the recent rise in voice search, location-based keyword phrases that contain the words “near me” or “close by” have skyrocketed in popularity by over 900% within the past two years.
Make sure you include them in your content to capture local leads and cater to people using voice search devices.
If you want to know why local SEO is important to your business, consider that close to half of all searches include a reference to a user’s location. About 50% of shoppers will visit your store within 24 hours after making a local search.
Local search matters more now than it ever did in the past, especially as consumers become more interested in buying local, supporting small businesses, and working with companies they feel are tapped into the needs of their specific community.
Remember that a good SEO strategy isn’t just about making sales and getting as many hits to your website as possible. It’s also about providing quality, localized content that helps to increase brand recognition in your service area.
After all, the expansion of a business is often funded by prior success within a local market.
How to Implement Location-based Keywords
If you’re on WordPress, we suggest using the Yoast SEO plugin.
Now, Optimize Your Post Title Tags & Meta Descriptions!
Claim & Build out Your Local Directory Presence
But go beyond that and build your company profiles out with detailed information, photos and videos.
Implement Local Business Schema.org Markup
Ever wonder why some organic search results look better than others?
Why some have stars, pricing and other cool features?
It’s called Schema.org markup. This could get a bit technical – so, if you know or have a developer, reach out to them to see if they can help you with it. Or, feel free to ask us how we can help you with it.
You can test to see if your website has any Schema.org markup and what kind it has by going to https://search.google.com/structured-data/testing-tool/u/0/
8. Your Website Speed Matters for SEO
Close to 50% of consumers say that they expect a website to load in two seconds or less — and if it doesn’t, they’re going to click away from your website.
Search engines certainly notice that people are “bouncing” away from your site at such a rapid rate — and you’ll get dinged as a result.
One of the most interesting facts about SEO — and unfortunately, one that far too few companies are aware of — is that “dwell time” plays a huge part in your site’s ranking factor.
“Dwell time” refers to the amount of time that the average user spends on your website. Search engines determine that sites with higher dwell times likely have better information because they can keep visitors on their pages.
Since the goal of search engines is to give consumers the most useful information possible, they’ll highly rank sites with strong dwell times.
While the quality of your content and relevance to the needs of a consumer matter, don’t let a poor loading speed be the reason that so many of your potential customers bounce away.
How to Test Your Website Speed
Where do you currently stand? Test your site speed with one or all of the tools below:
Need help speeding your website up? We can help. If your site is built in WordPress, all we need is 2-3 days and your website will be significantly faster. Plus, what we charge is extremely competitive, probably less than whatever amount you’re currently thinking. So, check out some of the results we’ve acheived below then get in touch with us today to get your website loading faster the same week.
9. Your Site’s Mobile-Friendliness Impacts Search Rankings
Over 60% of shoppers say that they would never return to a website that wasn’t properly optimized for mobile.
But why does mobile-friendliness matter in the first place?
Because, since more people get on the Internet using mobile devices than desktop computers, Google and other search engines use a “mobile-first” index to determine ranking factor.
In short? If your site isn’t mobile-friendly, you will fall behind your competitors in the search engine rankings.
Yes, your website speed matters for both desktop and mobile users. But you’ll need to take other things besides loading speed into account when you’re optimizing a website for mobile visitors.
Consider how easy it is for users to press buttons on smaller devices. Ensure that all menu options are clearly visible to make navigation easier; use larger font sizes. Make sure autocorrect and autofill form options are turned on.
How to Test Mobile-Friendliness
Want to test how mobile-friendly your site is according to Google? Go here to test your site: https://search.google.com/test/mobile-friendly
10. Search Engine Algorithms Are Not Static
Let’s close out our list of interesting SEO facts. The most essential concept of all when it comes to SEO is that in this industry, the only constant is change.
If you don’t adapt and evolve, you will never get (or will quickly lose) those high rankings.
Think about it this way: a few years ago, we didn’t even have voice search.
Now, studies show that by the year 2020, about half of all searches will be conducted using some sort of a voice app or tool.
And it’s not just the trends of SEO that change.
It’s also the algorithm that search engines use to determine the ranking factor in the first place.
In fact, in a single year, Google rolls out about 500-600 changes to its algorithm — some barely noticeable, others quite drastic.
What works today won’t always work tomorrow.
You need to be able to anticipate, prepare for, and implement new strategies when algorithms change — or risk getting penalized by Google.
Implement Local SEO for Your Company
We hope this post has helped you learn some seriously interesting SEO facts and allowed you to fully grasp why SEO is an important consideration for all business owners.
We also acknowledge that this information can feel pretty overwhelming. Especially when you already have to worry about hiring team members, developing new products, pitching new clients, and everything else that makes up your typical workday.
Need Help Taking Your Local SEO Strategy to the Next Level?
You don’t have time to study up on SEO and implement a strategy for your company — but it’s not something you can live without.
With that being said, we can help. We’ll provide you with the digital marketing services you need to outrank your competition, improve your brand recognition, and increase your conversions.
Get in touch with us today to start working on an SEO strategy, website design, and more that works for your business.
Sarah is a content marketing expert at Direction Inc., with experience also in search engine optimization and web design.