How do you put your company on the map in today’s crowded digital landscape? When a nearby customer searches for a service you offer, you want to be the first result they see. A powerful SEO strategy will make use of local search tools to connect customers in your area to your business.
Consumers depend on digital tools more than ever before. Most Americans use a smartphone daily, and have become more reliant on online tools to help them find the products and services they’re looking for. Often the first resource people turn to is Google search, but they might also look to local directories such as NextDoor or Waze.
When looking for a place to eat, a local repairman, or a retail store, search engines will almost always filter the most relevant local providers, even if these queries are not appended with geographic mentions, like [city name] or “near me.” Clearly, local SEO has never been as powerful and necessary as it is today. So, what is your business doing to ensure you’re dominating local SERPS and Google’s 3-pack?
This guide will explain what local SEO is, and 4 reasons your business needs to optimize your website and content for local search.
What is local SEO?
Local SEO is the practice of exposing business to local audiences through search engines and business directories. This includes, but isn’t limited to, creating content specific to geographic areas, using speech that targets local consumers, creating business profiles on local directories, catering to mobile-first experiences, and making sure your local citations are both consistent and accurate.
We all know that many businesses, especially brick and mortar, are dependent on customers who physically live near them. And this is exactly where Local SEO takes precedence. So, while regular (or organic) SEO relies on building authority around high-intent keywords, local SEO aims to improve a businesses exposure and reputation within a specific geographic sphere.
For example, a customer may type “plumbers in New York City” into Google to view popular listings. What’s presented in Google’s 3-pack are the most relevant results with name, phone number, reviews, and address displayed directly on the SERP. Local SEO is what better equips your business to be rank at the top of these searches.
In short, integrating local SEO helps you better connect with customers in your target areas. It is a must for businesses with brick-and-mortar locations or those serving specific geographic locations. Companies such as law firms, doctor offices, retail stores, construction companies, and restaurants, among many others, should all invest in local SEO.
6 reasons your business needs local SEO
So, why is local SEO so important in 2021? What is your business missing without it? Here are six reasons you need to include local search optimization in your marketing strategy:
1. Customers Are Searching for Businesses “Near Me” to Shop & Do Business at
A customer looking for a service in your area is much more likely to find you, visit your store, or call your business when you show up in local SERPs. With local SEO, not only are you making your business discoverable to the most relevant demographics, you’re also providing them all of the information they’ll need to find, contact, and visit your storefront in as few actions as possible. It’s really that simple.
Google data shows that nearly half of all searches have a local component, meaning the user is including a location mention to narrow results. And if they aren’t, the location settings on their device will (in most all cases) automatically filter the most relevant results nearby.
Another Google study on search behavior found that 88% of consumers who searched for a local business using a mobile device either call or go there within 24 hours.
Getting started with Local SEO today will also put you steps ahead of your competition in voice related searches, which are growing in popularity. One of the easiest (and most obvious) wins when it comes to starting local seo is to create a Google My Business account.
2. Local Search Helps You Reach a Targeted Audience
The goal of creating content is to reach your intended audience, and location is a crucial ingredient in the targeting formula. The more relevant your content is to your customers, the more likely it is to convert searches into clicks.
If you have a local business, there’s no point in reaching people hundreds or thousands of miles away who cannot make use of your services. Plus, if your traffic is largely from people far away, it’s not likely to convert, which will affect your ranking. By targeting nearby users, you increase the percentage of users reached that are likely to engage with your business.
3. It’s Easier to Rank for Local Search Terms
Anyone with any knowledge of SEO and keyword research is familiar with long-tail keywords. These are terms that are narrower or less specialized than more popular and competitive keywords. For example, if you have a website in the weight loss niche, it’s easier to rank for “best low carb diets for weight loss” than for “lose weight.” While many more people are searching for the latter, it’s much more competitive.
Local search terms are actually a type of long-tail keywords. It’s easier to rank for “auto body shop Cleveland” than simply “auto body shop.” Local search terms are easier to rank for if you’re creating organic content, such as blog posts. They are also cheaper to bid on if you’re using paid advertising, such as Facebook Ads or Google Ads. This is true no matter where you’re located but for smaller cities and towns it’s especially easy to rank with local search terms.
4. Local SEO Drives high-value traffic to your website
When using the right local search tactics, such as including location keywords in your website content and slugs, your business is much more likely to rank on the top of SERPs for local queries. Moreover, the inclusion of proper local search tactics expands your keyword influence, improving exposure and authority for high-value queries that record substantial organic traffic. Since most businesses often include Local SEO after having already started an SEO campaign, these results can be quickly amplified.
Furthermore, the best local SEO practices place priority on mobile use. A well-developed local SEO strategy will enhance mobile usability, making your brand more accessible to a greater number of customers.
Not too long ago, webmasters and SEOs would design with desktop users in mind and would then restructure a site for mobile usability — often omitting or condensing bulky sections of content so they look proper on mobile. Today, this process is backwards. The mobile experience should take priority over the desktop experience. In fact, all of the content featured on desktop should be responsive and designed with mobile as priority. So, if you’re in the process of redesigning your website for mobile users, don’t omit valuable content; instead, restructure your pages for a mobile first experience.
In summary, a strong Local SEO strategy will help you meet users where they are.
5. Continually Boost & Grow your Local leads
Being found by local customers online through local search practically narrows your sales funnel. Not only do these customers inherently have more purchasing intent, but they also have more incentive to either visit your storefront or website, or provide their personal information. You’ve essentially expedited the conversion process. All of the information they need to make an educated purchasing decision is displayed front and center and the means in which they can reach you are simplified and plenty.
In short, when properly implemented, local SEO will help potential customers arrive at a conversion touchpoint much quicker.
6. Build better customer relationships
Consumers are flooded with a lot of content from brands every day, usually in advertisements on their social media platforms, email, and Google searches. Local SEO helps build better customer relationships, because a good strategy ensures all of your business information is consistent, no matter which directory a user might be looking at. For instance, users will have access to consistent and accurate information wherever they interact with your online content. Having consistent info across the web will better help consumers make an educated purchasing decision.
Make sure you’re taking advantage of tools such as Google reviews and client testimonials on your website so leads can view actual words from happy customers. More importantly, utilize a local seo software, like Direction Local, to improve consistency and exposure in Google’s 3-Pack and other valuable business directories.
Google My Business Makes it Simple
Google encourages local businesses to sign up with Google My Business, a service that not only helps sites rank better but also provides other significant benefits.
- Integration with Google Maps: This makes it easy for customers to find your business.
- Featured reviews: Customer reviews are clearly visible when someone brings up your listing. Reviews are an essential form of social proof that encourages customers to seek you out.
- Highlighted photos and key information: You can post photos of your business and also share your hours, services, and contact information. In some ways, this is like free advertising.
- Increased chances of reaching Google Local Pack: The local pack, also known as featured snippets and Google Position 0, are prominent listings at the top of the search results page. A complete Google My Business listing is the first step in qualifying for this position.
Give your SEO the boost it needs with Direction Local
Today’s audiences depend on Google, making local SEO a must for business success. Your goal should be to connect with target customers wherever they are getting their information, and many of them are looking first to local search. Your business will be missing out on significant opportunities to connect with customers in your area if you’re not using local SEO.
Now you know that local SEO is a must for your business to bring in new customers in our everything-digital landscape. Remember that creating the right local SEO approach will still require keyword research, which will enable you to fully understand what your target customers are searching for.
Direction is here when you don’t know where to start. We help your business create an SEO and PPC plan that will maximize your marketing budget and connect you with consumers in your area using local SEO best practices. Trust Direction to handle the details when you don’t have the time or resources to do it yourself.