How to Grow Your Business with Local SEOin Marketing
One of the most powerful tools for small businesses is Local Search. Based on Google’s infographic, 4 out of 5 people use search to find local information. Not having an optimized business for local search, could lose you 80% of your potential customers. Shortly, to be relevant in today’s market, local SEO plays a critical role in your digital marketing strategy.
In this article we are going to cover the importance of local search, we will help you understand the benefits of local SEO, and you will get a proper understanding of how to optimize your website. Follow along for useful advice, tips, and tricks.
What is Local SEO?
Local SEO (Local Search Engine Optimization) is the practice of optimizing your website to increase brand awareness, improve traffic, and generate leads from relevant local searches. Furthermore, a local SEO optimized website, helps you promote products and services very effectively to local customers exactly when they are looking for them online. Search engines are gathering information for local search from local content, links, citations, social network profile pages. All of these factors provide the most relevant local results to users.
What is Local Search?
A local search is different from a standard or general informational search. To better understand the difference, here is an example: when a person is typing on any search engine “SEO service agency”, this is a standard search, but when they are typing “SEO service agency near me” or “SEO service agency in [location]”, they are performing a local search.
According to Google, 46% of searches have local intent. These types of local search queries are usually conducted when users intend to purchase a product or service and search engines will show businesses located in the area of interest on the results page.
This consumer behaviour and type of query make local SEO a very powerful tool to take into consideration when building or optimizing your marketing strategy.
Why is Local SEO Important?
We consider local SEO a must for businesses that have physical stores or offer products or services to a specific area. Based on Google’s study, 50% of consumers who conducted a local search on their smartphone visited a store within a day and 18% of local searches on smartphones lead to a purchase within a day.
These local SEO facts prove the importance of the top 3 local rankings for local businesses. If you lose your chance to be in front of your potential customers, be sure that your competition will be there for them.
As we’ve mentioned, there are only 3 spots in Google “Snack Pack” and the competition is fierce.
Let’s think of it this way: if your target customers know your business, maybe they are looking for more local citations such as phone number, street address, or opening times, driving directions on Google Maps, and customer reviews. If the searcher does not know about your business, then they are looking for services or products similar to yours. In this case, without a solid local search marketing strategy, they won’t find out about your business, but they will surely know about your competition.
What is Google Snack Pack?
Google Snack Pack is represented by the boxed area that appears on the first page of results when a local search is initiated in the Google search engine. The top 3 most relevant local business listings will appear in the Snack Pack box.
Why Does Your Business Need Local SEO?
A rock-solid local SEO strategy is ideal, especially for small businesses and those who cover a specific area. Improving your company’s local listings will increase website traffic, create brand awareness, and generate qualified leads.
Local SEO is important for multiple location companies and big multinationals. For large companies, we recommend to plan and consider SEO strategies on an international, national, and local level. All approaches demand different tactics and localization. Even if it takes time to do it properly, the results are rewarding in the long term.
We made a list with extra benefits you’ll get from local search engine optimization:
- Increases online visibility and online presence – your business will be there for prospective customers in real-time and relevant local search queries;
- Achieve a better position in Google’s 3 local pack and increase the local authority of your website;
- Increase organic traffic on your website by being up on top in the search engine results page;
- Customers find important information about your business such as business name, physical location, zip code, phone number, website address etc;
- You are not missing on any local customers as local SEO covers all non-wearable devices and wearables such as PC, laptops, tablets, mobile devices etc;
- Enhance conversion rate and increase revenue;
- Customers can read online reviews which increases trust levels;
- Local SEO implementation is inexpensive;
Optimize Your Local Presence
To have a chance on climbing the search engine results pages (SERP) we recommend to properly optimize your website. Besides standard on-page and off-page SEO, you also need to take time and put in place a strategy that will cover the following actions:
1.Citation Building (NAPW)
Make sure that your website features citation sites and online business directories. This provides your target customers with details about your company. Create a contact page where the NAPW citations are listed:
N – Name
A – Address
P – Phone
W – Website
Along with this information, we also recommend displaying your email address.
Take an extra step and add business-specific photos.
In case you have 10 or fewer physical locations, add the complete name, address, and phone number for each one in the footer of your website.
On-site SEO refers to URL, title tags, meta descriptions, headers, and content optimization. The way we act when it comes to content is by paying close attention to how Google will see our page. Search engines need to quickly understand what your page is about. Every blog post or newly created page is a new indexed page for your website. We strongly believe that a web page that includes a targeted geographic search phase is an opportunity to be found faster in the search engine results page.
When it comes to content writing, use high-volume keywords in the URL, meta title, meta description, content, and body. For an easier start on geo-targeted content, we suggest considering featuring customer success stories and case studies.
3.Internal Linking Structure
Adjusting and improving your internal linking structure will boost your SEO rankings. This is important because it will support easier website navigation, the information architecture and hierarchy are better defined, and more of your pages will get a higher authority and ranking power. In case you are not familiar with internal linking and you don’t know where to start, we recommend reading this article from Neil Patel.
As Google’s algorithm is getting better, content creators can write for users instead of search engines. Writing about a general topic will attract a wide audience, but we believe that it’s important to focus on local and industry news to attract a local audience as well. Go beyond what your business sells and think of educational content, local industry events, news, employees and be the local authority for your industry.
5.Google My Business Profile
A study from Moz showed that a well-done profile on Google My Business is the #1 ranking factor to get in the Snack Pack. Consistency is the key! This means that your profile has to match the information on your website and NAPW citations. Matching the details of your business from all platforms and 3rd party sites will tell Google that your website is legit and can be trusted.
We put together a detailed guide on how to set up a Google My Business Profile. You can find all the steps, some tips and tricks for a well-done profile.
Statistics say that 30% of mobile searches are location-related and 9 out of 10 users conduct local searches on their devices. Local searches and mobile devices are a match made in heaven. Having a mobile-friendly website will make it easier for your target customers to navigate and find the needed information. People will use mobile devices to find directions to your physical location, search for contact information, and to look up reviews.
Inbound links are a powerful tool to boost your local SEO because they tell Google you are a trusted company. Inbound links may also raise your domain authority. There are some strategies to get high-quality inbound links such as sponsorships or partnerships and guest blog posts. We think that the best approach is to start internally with your network, business districts, licensing bureaus, resellers, vendors, manufacturers, and other affiliates. Also think about sponsoring a local event, webinar, meet-up, promote something you love and enjoy locally, build relationships with bloggers and influencers. Reach out to partners and see if they are willing to feature you in their partner directory. Another way to get inbound links is to be a guest blogger. Talk about the positive aspects of other people in your industry and be a resource provider in your community.
8.Social Media Networks
To be a well-known business nowadays, you NEED social media profiles (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, Clutch, etc.). Not all of them are compatible with your business, but you must find at least 2 networks to create an online profile, post regularly, and engage with your audience. Google sees content shared on social media profiles to be very important, as it increases the trust levels for your company. We advise you to share your Google My Business page on your social media pages to align social and search.
Local SEO Ranking Factors
According to Moz’s study on local SEO ranking factors, the proximity to your prospect is the no. 1 ranking factor.
Local Pack Ranking Factors
- Google My Business – here we’re talking about proximity, business category, keywords used in business title, etc.
- Links – they refer to domain authority, domain quality, inbound anchor text, inbound links, etc.
- Online Reviews – customer reviews are not only important for your potential customers but for ranking as well. They build trust and create a positive image of your company. When it comes to ranking, Google is looking at review quantity, review velocity, review diversity, etc.
- On-page Signals – as we’ve previously mentioned, on-page SEO is essential to have a high rank. The on-page signals are: contact page that includes NAP citations, the presence of keywords in your meta and headers, domain authority, etc.
- Citations – Google looks for consistency in your NAPW citations, citations volume, etc.
- Customer Behaviour – the way your potential buyers are behaving when interacting with your site or online profiles influences your ranking. Try to improve your Click-through rate, mobile clicks to call, check-ins, etc.
- Personalization – tailor everything to fit your business like a glove. Be original!
- Social Media Engagement – be active on social media and engage with your community on every business profile.
Localized Organic Ranking Factors
When it comes to organic search and organic ranking, even though the influence factors are the same as those for local pack ranking, their classification is a little bit different:
- On-Page Signals;
- Customer Behaviour;
- Google My Business;
- Online Reviews;
Our Local Search Engine Optimization Tips & Tricks
Now, we would like to share with you some fine details that might go unnoticed but they are of extreme importance for rock-solid local SEO and ranking.
We compiled the following list to help you tick every best practice in your local SEO strategy:
- Before putting in place any strategy, you can check your website’s SEO for free here. This will provide you with the bigger picture and a great starting point;
- Include all your business addresses in the footer of your website and contact page;
- Make all phone numbers clickable on mobile devices;
- Add an interactive map or location for all your physical locations on your website;
- Add testimonials;
- Add JSON-LD to your site;
- Claim all your social profiles on Google My Business: Facebook, TripAdvisor, etc.
- Make sure you are listed on popular local-review sites;
- Know your target audience;
- Take advantage of locally and industry-focused directories – edited by humans is preferred;
- Be consistent across all online platforms and in your online presence.
One of our clients had an issue with local search for London. Our approach was as follows:
- create a new set of keywords focused on the London area;
- analyze the position of the website;
- conduct a broader search on the competition for the new keyword set;
- most of the results for the chosen keywords were followed with Google My Business listings in SERP;
- Our client was not listed in these types of results. Therefore, we investigated the low performance in Google My Business.
Implementation & Monitoring:
- Optimization of service areas and services in Google My Business;
- We followed closely the queries evolution until our client’s website started to appear in the search results page and on Google My Business listings.
For us, local SEO is as important as website development. Every time we get a new project, our way of thinking is “web development with SEO in mind”. We have implemented local SEO strategies for all our clients that have at least one physical location. Our partners will receive recommendations and best practices advice from our side, as well as setting up Google My Business Profiles.
Need help with your website’s local SEO? Let’s have a chat and talk about bringing your business to new heights! Contact us today to schedule your consultation.
Frequently Asked Questions
Local SEO is extremely important for businesses that have a physical store and offer services in a specific area.
Google is the most popular. Bing and Yahoo are powered by Yelp when it comes to local search. We advise you to take into consideration creating a Yelp account.
Your rankings will be affected. If you select the wrong categories for your business that don’t reflect the nature of your products or services, you will get irrelevant traffic from people that are not interested in what you offer.
No. You cannot delete any reviews, but if you think they are spammy, you can flag them.