13 Feb The Importance of Local SEO
If you want to make sure you’re reaching your target audience online, then search engine optimization (SEO) is crucial. SEO is a broad term for the process of gaining web traffic from organic search results on search engines like Google. There are many elements and subcategories of SEO strategies, and one of the most important of these for small businesses is local SEO.
Local SEO helps your business improve its ranking on search engine results pages (SERPs) by optimizing for search terms popular with users from your local area who are searching for your type of business or the type of services you offer. If you have a brick-and-mortar business and want to reach your local target audience, then you need to work on local SEO.
Let’s take a look at why local SEO is important, what are some local SEO services, and how local SEO and organic SEO work together.
Why Is Local SEO Important?
Local SEO is important — but just how important is it?
If your business primarily serves people in your area, you’ll need a local SEO strategy to bring in web traffic and stand apart from your competitors. If you’ve ever searched for a service or business by adding “near me” in the search (e.g., “dentist near me”), then you’re taking advantage of local SEO, which means your customers are likely doing likewise to find your business!
Consider these statistics on the importance of local SEO:
According to a study conducted by Google in association with Ipsos MediaCT and Purchased in 2014:
- 50% of users who conducted a local search on their mobile phone visited a physical store within 24 hours
- 34% of users who completed their search on a tablet or desktop computer would also visit a physical store within 24 hours.
- 18% of local mobile searches convert to a sale within one day.
- One-third of mobile searches are conducted before visiting a local store.
- Half of all mobile phone users who use local search do so to find local business addresses.
Another study found that 78% of local searches made on a mobile phone lead to an in-person purchase. Similar to Google’s findings, Placeable found that 71% of mobile phone local searches were conducted to find a business address for the first time.
What Are Some Local SEO Services?
Effective local SEO strategies are constantly evolving. This is why you need to set aside plenty of time and effort to make sure you are getting the most out of it for your business. Getting local SEO right requires slightly different tactics than general SEO — you’ll need to have a solid understanding of what local SEO is and how to use it to rank higher on SERPs.
Here are five important local SEO services to know:
You can “localize” your website by including in your content the name of the city, region or country where your business is located. If you operate in more than one location, you can achieve the same effect by creating separate pages dedicated to local content for each location. Connecting with your local customers at community events and sharing this involvement on your website can also help.
2. Build Citations
Keep your business name, contact info, address and website up-to-date on citation sites such as Google, Yelp, Bing, Foursquare, etc. This is also true for social media platforms, such as Facebook or Instagram, where small local businesses thrive online. Considering the data we covered earlier on the number of users searching for business based on their address, this step is crucial.
3. Create a Google My Business Account
As we discussed in our blog post, “What You Need to Know about Google My Business,” claiming your Google My Business page is one of the most important steps you can take to improve your local SEO and bring in local customers. A GMB listing makes finding your business online easier than ever before. Be sure to also set up a Bing Places account to maximize your reach.
4. Manage Online Ratings and Reviews Appropriately
Online reviews are the bread-and-butter of your online presence, but only if they are appropriately managed. They show to your potential new customers that your business is trustworthy. Search engines will also rank your business higher for the more reviews you have. Encourage satisfied clients to leave honest positive reviews, and respond to any negative reviews with understanding and full transparency.
5. Earn the Right Backlinks
High-quality, relevant backlinks are earned organically when other local websites such as magazines, newspapers, review websites, business associations or bloggers link to your website from theirs. Your business can earn these local links by being active in your community and through partnering with area organizations.
How Do Local SEO and Organic SEO Work Together?
As previously stated, local SEO is just one part of a larger SEO strategy. Organic SEO is another piece of the puzzle, but it can work in cooperation with local SEO to boost search engine rankings.
So, how do local SEO and organic SEO work together?
You create a backlink to your website when you list your business on directories and citation sites (mentioned above) such as Google, Bing, Yelp, etc. By doing so, you are boosting your organic SEO through increasing your number of authentic backlinks, to which search engine algorithms give preference.
Generating your own local SEO content on your website in the form of blogs, location-specific pages and the inclusion of your business address is also an effective way to improve your organic SEO. Regularly updated website content tells search engines that your website is relevant to users, especially those in your community, which will help your website rank higher in search results.
Of course, your website and its content should be first and foremost optimized with your customers in mind. Will they be able to easily find your contact information, address or hours of operation? Is your website providing them with the content they need or are searching for? If not, your SEO efforts will be for nothing. To find the most success, you need to employ a combination of local SEO, organic SEO and optimization for your customers.
Improve Your Local SEO Today
Is your business struggling to reach your local target audience online? Consider enlisting the help of digital marketing and SEO experts from Virtual Stacks Systems UK! As a full-service digital marketing agency, our specialists can help you improve your local SEO, while also boosting your reach through other aspects of digital marketing, including social media and online advertising. Contact us today to get started!