When was the last time you used your smartphone to search for a business near your location? Chances are, in the past week, you’ve probably done it quite a few times. Whether you searched for the phone number of the local dry cleaners, looked up the address of the nearest coffee shop, or sought out weekend car repairs, you have been making what is known as “local searches”.
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Every single day, millions of consumers utilise local searches to find the best businesses in an area to satisfy what they’re looking for. If you’re a local business that markets online, you already know just how important SEO can be. Showing up on the top of the first page of Google certainly makes a difference when it comes to traffic and conversions. Local SEO optimises the chances of a business getting found by potential customers in a specific area. In this post, we’ll be walking you through the fundamentals of local SEO, and how it impacts business success.
WHAT IS LOCAL SEO?
In and of itself, SEO (search engine optimisation) is a widely used marketing strategy that takes into account numerous variables to achieve a popular and distinct online presence. When you enter a search query into Google, for example, the results displayed at the top (below the ads) will be those with an optimised SEO strategy. As such, local SEO serves to promote and expand business visibility in a particular area. The primary goal of local SEO is to ensure that your business comes up when a relevant search is entered in your locale. These, of course, include searches with geo-qualifiers, such as city, state, zip code, etc—not to mention the “near me” search results from that area, which are prompted after Google retrieves the searcher’s geo-location.
In order to list all the relevant businesses in a particular area, it’s important that search engines can access where exactly each business is located. Keeping consistent across local listing directories, as well as on your website and social media, is the name of the game. This means providing the same name, address, and phone number on all platforms. But there’s much more to local SEO than that; to take things to the next level, businesses should have a solid online presence, which may include social media marketing campaigns, blog content, and high ratings on consumer review apps. In fact, Google strongly hints that good reviews positively affect local SEO reach.
WHY IS LOCAL SEO IMPORTANT?
Local SEO can be beneficial for all manner of enterprises, but small brick-and-mortar shops perhaps benefit most. For these kinds of local businesses, the likelihood of appearing on the first page of Google for national or international searches is unlikely. Locally, however, this changes dramatically, literally putting small businesses “on the map”. It’s said that 75% of search engine users do not scroll past the first page of Google results. This is why entire teams of employees are dedicated specifically to maintaining robust and effective SEO practices. Landing in the sweet spot of the first 3–5 listings for a search engine query is a huge advantage.
SEO STRATEGY IS KEY
Aside from providing enough information to even be considered by Google and other search engines, the way all other information is presented is of the utmost importance. For e-commerce and brick-and-mortar businesses alike, it’s essential to create unique titles, descriptions, and metadata. Google hates duplicate content and rewards well-presented, thorough content. So, when planning your SEO strategy, take into account what your business stands for, how it’s different from your competitors, and the best ways to showcase that in just a few key words and phrases.
Piggybacking on the above, it’s important to establish your niche by utilising specific keywords associated with your business. Long gone are the days of overstuffing keywords to boost SEO, but it’s still beneficial to use them moderately to attract more attention. Regarding local SEO, it may be necessary to use hyper-local keywords that may not apply outside of your general location. Not only should consumers be able to find your business online, they should also be able to access additional information to make a more informed decision. No matter the size of your business, having an “About Me” and “Contact” page, for example, will give you an additional leg up, with Google appreciating multiple pages of effective content.
LOCAL SEO IS GOOD FOR ALL
The good thing about local SEO is, it’s not like yelling into an empty void. Despite the rampant competition of modern markets, local SEO gives everyone a chance to shine, so long as they put in the effort. This isn’t like handing out brochures to those who couldn’t care less; local SEO is all about providing consumers with a service they want, when they want it. For example, a restaurant that displays information such as having free WiFi or being pet-friendly will undoubtedly attract customers who are looking for just that. Local SEO lays down a strong foundation to create mutually beneficial customer relationships. Essentially, the more valuable data a business provides, the more trustworthy they will be in the eyes of the consumer. For specially crafted, SEO-optimised content, visit Yuqo for a rundown of our services.