Local SEO is a term that is used a lot in the online marketing field. I am sure you’ve come across or heard of it. Internet searches have become a norm in this day and ages. As such, it’s very important that your business is on top of any local SERPs regardless of your industry. Without proper strategies for implementing local SEO, your competitors will have an upper hand over your business. Here at Serene Media, we place great emphasis on local SEO as a solid foundation to build out from.
Local searches are now not only based on a general region but on a specific location. Both mobile and wearable devices have helped eliminate barriers that existed between physical locations and digital.
If you plan to stay in business for the long haul, then it’s time to get your local SEO working for you. Local SEO is one of an essential component of any business that seeks to stand out in this day and age. Bearing in mind that SEO changes more often, it’s important to optimise your site’s SEO – both on-site and off-site – so that your clients can easily find you.
With Google’s ‘Pigeon’ update in 2014, any business regardless of the size can take advantage of the benefits that local SEO has to offer.
In this article, we will take a look at why local SEO has continued to gain momentum and why it’s good for your business.
What Then Is Local SEO?
With each passing day, more and more people are searching for local businesses on the world wide web. On average, more than 60 percent of smartphone owners use their phones to make searches on the different search engines. This has been enhanced by smartphone ownership and better data connectivity while on the move.
Implementing local SEO strategies will help build your brand’s visibility and make you appear on the first pages of search engines. Although local SEO works almost the same way as organic SEO, it has its own differences.
The main focus of the local SEO is providing searchers with relevant information based on their location. For example, if I were to search for ‘best shopping malls’ on my phone or desktop, Google will give me results that are closer to me. In this case, Google will use local factors to rank the results of my search. These include; organisation name, organisation details, e.g. location and client reviews. With these, Google will be able to push your business or brand on top of local search results. This is made possible through scrapping of results from the directories of local business’ and checking for consistency across all platforms.
Therefore, local SEO targets potential clients interested in your services or products and are located near you. It’s no longer enough just to optimise your website for organic SEO only. You need to optimise it for local SEO too. Besides lead generation and increased sales revenue, local SEO is also a good way to bring clients to your brick and mortar chain store.
Why Is Local SEO Good for Your Business?
Several reasons make local SEO better than the organic SEO. Of course, we are not saying that all your efforts should be solely placed on local SEO, but it does have its benefits. Here’s why local SEO is something every business needs to consider:
1. Google’s love for local business.
There’s no hiding the fact that Google tends to favour new, small and astute companies. Although much of Google’s ranking for search results tend to favour well-established brands due to their authority and history, they also pay special attention to what people want. This means showing results for agile business’ that are popular.
Their love for local business also stems from the fact that they want to enable small business owners who have more potential for growth and making it big but have limited resources.
As such, Google has had a history of offering free tools to entrepreneurs to enable them to make their brands visible online. From Analytics to Webmaster and the list goes on. With the Pigeon update launched to help local business, we definitely should expect more updates and tools by Google that will help business’ make the most out of their local SEO.
2. Growth of both wearable and mobile devices
In 2015, Google made it official that most of the search queries were coming from mobile at 51 percent and not desktops at 42 percent. Mobile searches had overtaken desktop searches. Tablets are grouped in the same category with desktops by Google.
Two years down the line and mobile-based searches have continued to grow and are performed on the go. As mentioned earlier, this has been made easier by increased smartphone ownership and improved connectivity. With the introduction of wearable devices like the Apple Watch, more and more users will continue to make more searches as the need arises.
The result of the above is that local searches have become more popular. Local searches are now not only based on a general region but on a specific location. Both mobile and wearable devices have helped eliminate barriers that existed between physical locations and digital. With the kind of growth mobile continues to enjoy from users, there is no way your business or brand can miss a local SEO strategy. And not just a strategy, but one that works seamlessly.
Each year, on average, there are about 543,000 businesses that get established. This means that for every business you launch, there are multiple businesses across the globe offering the same services that you are.
Some of these businesses make it to two or more years. Along the way, some close while others continue to trudge the corporate world. For each of these businesses, more and more websites are being created and launched.
The end result is that more businesses start dropping in their search visibility. The Knowledge Graph by Google, therefore, ends up ranking brands that are authoritative much higher than the ones with little or no information on the web. With this increase in competition, it’s important that you and your brand stand out. In order to get relevant visibility, businesses need to start focusing on a smaller niche that they can target.
And the best way for any business to achieve this is by local optimisation. Use of local SEO, therefore, plays a very critical role in helping brands and businesses achieve this.
4. Local Content
Besides the focus that’s given to maps, citations and local directories when there is talk about local SEO, local content that’s of high-quality is key in helping you stand out from the competition. Local content means content that revolves around your area. This kind of content serves to educate readers on what they want, the issues they face and generally about their surroundings.
A great way for businesses to maximise the full potential of local SEO is by sharing content that tells their story as a business or brand.
Local content can be done through establishing a blog where you write and share how your business or products can help change or improve the lives of the community. Your business was started to serve a purpose. Your community would definitely be interested in this and can be able to relate and connect with you or your brand.
For example, if you own a flower shop in your locality, you can share the value that the shop brings and how it benefits the people of your community. Your clients can be a great source of what to write about. Your writing can be influenced by their interactions with you or interviews you’ve had.
Bottom line, localised content helps your customers connect with your brand and provides solutions to their needs.
As the saying goes, ‘number don’t lie’. The revenue collection of any business speaks volumes as it shows the capability of the business to scale and expand to other markets.
Research shows that local searches result in more people buying a service or product than searches that aren’t local. 18 percent of smartphone searches that are local end up with a purchase on any given day as compared to 7 percent of any non-local search.
What’s the implication of the above on any brand or business? It means that people are taking action after any local search. They aren’t just placing searches and doing nothing about them. Implementing the right local SEO strategy will not only lead to increased website traffic but will also lead to increased sales for your business.
What Can You Do to Improve Your Local SEO?
Anything that involves optimisation for your website takes a bit of time to show results. Just as Rome wasn’t built in a night, so does getting the best possible results for your local SEO.
However, with a clear strategy and better optimisation, your brand could be at the top of local search results on search engines. Below are a few tactics that you can use to ensure your rank higher in your local SEO.
• Online citations and directories
There is nothing as important as getting your business listed the right way across all platforms on all online business directories. This is a sure way to get your local SEO working for you.
Finding the right local business directories to get listed on helps boost your local SEO too. You can get this by talking to your local newspaper or Commerce Chamber. Local directories and citation sites can be found by doing relevant keyword searches.
With the existence of citation data aggregators, it’s crucial to get your company’s business name, address and phone number right. Having your NAP listed the right way on one directory isn’t enough. You need to ensure you are listed in as many directories as possible and that all through the data is consistent.
Wrong spellings, wrong contact number or lack of one consistent number can lose Google when it comes to determining what the right information is for your business. And if Google is unsure about the right data for your business, your business will most likely not feature on any search result or will be displayed with the wrong information.
Bottom line, you need to have your online citations right all through.
• Make proper use of Google My Business
Google’s free listing, Google My Business, is a directory that the company has made available to all businesses regardless of their size.
Your business needs to take advantage of this free directory by Google and get listed. Some benefits come from claiming your Google My Business directory. Being listed in this directory will help your business show in the top three local search results.
The registration process is very simple and will require you to verify your business so that Google knows you are legit. After the verification and getting signed up on GMB, you can then optimise your listing. This can be done through giving a solid description about your business, industry, business hours, phone numbers and so on.
You can upload your company’s logo to help make you identifiable to your customers.
The more you populate each section of the GMB, the better it is for your ranking and brand visibility. If you haven’t done this yet, it’s time to get listed.
If you thought that it’s not necessary to have your customers leave a review about your business, it’s time to rethink that notion.
Surveys of consumers have shown that 84 percent of clients looking up your business or product trust the online reviews just the same way they would a personal referral. What is more interesting is that seven out of ten clients would leave a review if asked to. With such data, what are you still waiting for?
The market is full of tools that you can use to get reviews and choose which ones to show and which ones to hide. However, seeing the review – mostly the bad ones – and not responding can dent the image of your brand or business. People read through the review section and you acting on negative reviews will not only show that you care, but will help build trust amongst your clients.
It’s never too late to ask your clients to start leaving a review about your services.
Unless you believe that your organic search is enough and suitable for you, it’s time to get your local SEO to start working for you.
The above tips will just work as a guideline, but there is so much more you can do to get your rankings high in your local SEO. Work on a local SEO strategy that is bulletproof and will give you nothing but the best results in the market.
If your competitors are doing it, why not you?