Do you have a business that serves one or several local areas?
Your run-of-the-mill website SEO won’t bring the impactful results of local search engine optimization. And local SEO is what you need to be found by new customers in your area.
Local search has been a windfall for many local businesses because physical proximity to the user is a huge ranking factor in local search results. The good news is there are things you can do to reach qualified customers at exactly the right time, converting local searchers into new customers.
What is Local SEO?
There is so much talk about search engine optimization for small businesses, but a lot of the chatter revolves around optimizing the web pages of businesses with a strong online presence who sell products or services online. Local SEO is all about optimizing the website of a local business so they can rank higher in internet searches made by local users in their area.
Local search optimization is going to affect rankings in mobile search where people are on the move and looking to spend money now and also enhances positioning in searches that use local terms such as:
- shoe repair near me
- kennel near me
- wedding cake in [city name]
- carpet cleaner in my area
Specifically, when we talk about local search engine optimization, we mean designating and highlighting your city name, complete address, and key service or product in the places that search engines and search engine users are looking for them.
When asked, the talking heads at Google are quoted as saying, “relevance, prominence, and distance” determine what links show up in local search results. That is a huge oversimplification of a very complicated ranking system, but here’s your big take away: Google will first search their own Google My Business accounts to determine relevance, prominence, and distance – so GMB is where you should start your local SEO campaigns.
Why You Should Focus on Local SEO
Local SEO connects your business with real-life customers in your community. Effective local SEO results in everyone in your area seeing your business on page one of search engine results when they are looking for the type of products and services you provide.
Let’s look at some Local SEO stats and facts:
- 78% of location-based mobile searches result in an offline purchase. (SEO Tribunal)
- 46% of all Google searches are seeking local information. (Go Gulf)
- 4 in 5 consumers use search engines to find local information. (Think with Google)
- “Near me” or “close by” type searches grew by more than 900% over two years. (Chat Meter)
- 72% of consumers that did a local search visited a store within five miles (HubSpot Marketing Statistics)
- 97% of people learn more about a local company online than anywhere else (SEO Tribunal)
- 88% of searches for local businesses on a mobile device either call or visit the business within 24 hours. (Nectafy)
- 92% of searchers will pick businesses on the first page of local search results. (SEO Expert)
- By 2021, mobile devices will influence more than $1.4 trillion in local sales. (Forrester)
The importance of local SEO continues to grow as Google’s search results ranking methods become more intricate, and search users expect even more individualized results.
As a local business owner, you need to dominate local search results to win new customers. You, more than online or national businesses, must rely on local SEO to build an attractive online presence and expose your business to more and more potential customers.
What can you do right now to improve your local SEO?
Here is a quick-tip guide of local SEO activities you could do right now to help search engines find and rank your website when customers are looking online:
- Add keywords and geographical (local) identifiers to meta, title, and image tags on your website, so search engines know you are a good match for local search queries.
- Structure your webpages and URL’s to highlight your locations. (ex: com/foreign-auto-mechanic-south-vegas is better than Charlies.com/home)
- Claim, location optimize and consistently update your Google My Business account.
- Build and maintain accurate and identical business listings and citations across the internet.
- Have a plan in place to get more five-star reviews online. Start with claiming your business account on all major social media networks and review sites.
It’s past time you optimized your website for local searches, “near me” queries, and voice-activated shopping research. Most users now have location or GPS enabled on their mobile devices. Now that most apps require this to be enabled, even users who previously had this turned off for privacy reasons now have location services active. Use local SEO to make sure future customers are finding your business at the top of search results.