The Mind-Blowing Power of Local SEO: Get Found in “Near Me” Search Results
What is Local SEO?
Local SEO, or Local Search Engine Optimization, is an essential process of optimizing a website to improve its visibility and rank higher in local search results. This technique allows websites to increase their digital presence for localized searches, such as “contractor near me” or “contractor in Raleigh.” Businesses of all sizes and everywhere should have a Local SEO strategy to accelerate their rank in local search results.
How Does Local SEO Differ from Traditional SEO?
The critical difference between Local SEO and National or traditional SEO is their targeting and objectives. Traditional SEO is designed to maximize a website’s visibility on a broader geographic scope, to reach large audiences across various locations. It focuses on popular keywords and optimizing the website to rank well nationally or globally.
On the other hand, Local SEO is designed to facilitate connections between brands and local customers actively searching for products or services in their area. The main goal is to get community members to the most relevant nearby businesses. This type of SEO also includes optimizing a website and digital presence to be prominent in regional search engine results, local directories, map listings, and other location-based platforms. Local SEO incorporates localized keywords and content, positive community testimonials, local citations, and the management of local listings and profiles like Google Business Profile (GBP).
Is Local SEO A Better Focus for My Brand?
Local SEO is an excellent way for any business to target a surrounding community customer base for several reasons. More often than not, Local SEO is highly recommended as part of a core marketing strategy. However, some reasons you may want to consider adding one to yours ASAP are because it offers:
If your company operates primarily within a specific geographical area or serves clients within a particular area, then Local SEO should be the foundation of your marketing efforts. This helps you attract nearby consumers actively searching for your products or services. After adding this, your business is best optimized for prominent visibility within your community. This is a wise choice; it helps your business save money by not wasting it on irrelevant audiences. It can also accelerate your physical establishment’s foot traffic, as the customers closest to you still search online for where to visit next.
Low Cost and ROI
This method of SEO can be a much more cost-effective option for marketing, particularly for small businesses and those with a market budget on the lower side. By selecting particular geographic limits, you significantly minimize your competition and yield a higher return on investment than national SEO strategies.
Elements of Local SEO
Google Business Profiles (GBP) have become very important for lead generation. As you may know, Google is responsible for about 90% of the average search engine market share, meaning that consumers use Google 9 out of 10 times when they need help solving a problem. Simply being visible on Google allows your brand to reach many more eyes. People are always going to be looking for and communicating with local businesses. If your establishment depends on being found locally, this profile is necessary. Rather than having local consumers click a few times to visit your site, you can save them a few steps and optimize your Google Business and Maps listings. Google has built this entire platform custom-tailored for people to connect with nearby businesses, and it is increasingly becoming a revenue generator for small and local companies.
With Google Business Listings, local users can ask questions publicly, message brands directly, book appointments, browse your products or services, publish reviews or images, and more. The average business owner will simply claim their listing and forget about it. But, to thrive on GBP, you must stop considering it as any other generic Yellow Pages listing. Instead of creating the perfect profile and allowing it to sit over time, ensure you keep all the information up-to-date. Holiday hours should continually be updated, photos should be added regularly, and your business should make posts at least once a week. This activity boosts your listing and gets it in front of many more surrounding customers.
We cannot stress enough the importance of ensuring every single piece of information you put on your Google Business Profile is accurate. Having conflicting information regarding your company elsewhere on the Internet confuses Google and causes it to lose trust in your brand. Having multiple sources with proper details about your brand will accelerate your authority and tells Google that you are a legitimate establishment.
A large part of Local SEO involves managing online ratings and customer reviews. Brands with a lower average customer review rating, about one or two stars, risk losing 86% of their potential customers. It can even cause your company to lose up to 15% of your existing customer base. Unfortunately, even just one poor review could have detrimental effects on your brand.
Positive reviews can significantly impact your brand’s reputation and credibility. It can also influence the decision-making of your potential customers, as most customers trust online reviews the same way they trust personal reviews. Roughly 95% of today’s consumers research and read online reviews to make decisions about their next purchase.
A substantial aspect of Local SEO is actively encouraging customers to leave thoughts about their experience and having your company respond to them promptly and directly. Having positive reviews builds absolute trust, significantly increases brand credibility, and boosts your Local search results ranking. At the same time, if your business lacks reviews, it makes it appear unestablished to consumers. They may find it more difficult to trust you and your products or services and are likelier to feel unsure about conducting business with you.
Citations are more simple than they may sound. Citations collectively refer to a group of business listings spread amongst several independent websites. A singular citation is an online reference to a business that includes all applicable information, such as Name, Address, and Phone number (NAP). Ensure all the NAP information out there that points back to your business reinforces to search engines that you are a legitimate and reliable brand. These citations are the driving force behind your Google Maps rankings. Even with a perfectly optimized website, you will have difficulty appearing on Google rankings without being in some notable citation or directory sources.
Plenty of platforms can count as citations for your brand, from a Google Business Profile to Yellow Pages or Yelp listings. Even your official social media profiles are considered citations because they display your NAP details and help reinforce your credibility with search engines. Several very high-quality paid solutions will produce your desired outcome but, of course, take a bit out of your pocket. However, purchasing is not required to get your business the credibility it deserves. Many free options can you need to ensure you’re on. The best place to start is going for the most prominent and cost-effective platforms – Apple Maps, GBP, Yelp, Bing Maps, LinkedIn, Yahoo, BBB, etc. Be sure to fill these out as thoroughly and correctly as you can.
With Local Search, Google wants to give users the best results for their precise geographical area. However, Google is still cautious not to showcase any poorly optimized website that does not fit the user’s needs. As trust is built, Google is more likely to increase your listing’s ranking in local search results. Any website that Google cannot trust will not be promoted in search results. The more citations your company has, the more it will be viewed as authentic and pushed forward in rankings.
Google dominates the search engine market share, so you will want to optimize your online presence to Google’s liking. Contact us to discuss which Local Boost strategies we can do for your business.
Kim works with brands since 2011 to develop and manage their digital and social media strategies; meet company objectives, such as increasing leads, engagement, and website traffic, utilizing best practices, the latest tools and strategies; and develop quality content. She is a problem-solver who loves a challenge when it comes to increasing sales.