What is local SEO and why is it important?
Local SEO is a type of search engine marketing that means increasing the visibility of local businesses by optimizing their website and online profiles for local search. It's similar to organic SEO, but requires additional focus on geography. You want to rank high in search engine result pages (SERPs) for local “near me” searches.
If your business doesn’t rank in local search results, it could be missing out on valuable traffic and customers. In other words, local SEO could be the key to staying relevant and growing your business.
Here are 5 ways local SEO can benefit and transform your business:
- Boost your online visibility via your citations and business listing
- Bring in more foot traffic to your brick-and-mortar location
- Attract more targeted traffic, which improves your chances of conversion
- A website optimized for local SEO can improve your conversion rate
- Enhance your credibility and build trust with reviews
Those seem like good enough reasons to consider optimizing your website for local SEO, don’t they? If not, continue reading for more detailed examples about why it’s important for local businesses to emphasis local SEO as a key part of their marketing strategy.
Benefit 1: Local SEO helps increase online visibility so you get noticed by new customers.
One component of local SEO is citation building, or link building. This involves attracting high-quality links from other websites to your website.
These high-quality links are essentially votes of confidence from other websites that your business is legitimate and provides valuable information. Google likes this, so attracting links can certainly boost your business’s online authority.
Local SEO also involves optimizing your website to rank higher in Google Maps and attracting more customers through your Google Business Profile.
Google Business Profile is Google’s free platform that allows you to publish your business address, contact information, website URL, photos, reviews, and more so you can generate direct calls, leads, and sales.
Without a local presence, you risk not getting found by potential customers who are looking for businesses like yours in their local area.
Benefit 2: Higher rankings in Google search means more foot traffic to your location.
When a user does a Google search of a specific type of business near them, Google’s algorithm shows them a list of top-ranking businesses that suit their search. This algorithm takes a variety of factors into consideration and plays a major role in what users see in the search results.
The top-ranking businesses are displayed in the organic search results as well as in Google Maps, where the user can click to find out more information about the business, get directions to the business, find the business’s phone number, and more.
If your business implements local SEO, you increase your chances of being shown to potential customers who can then use your physical address and the directions provided by Google Maps to visit your physical location.
Higher rankings in Google Maps could mean more foot traffic, which could lead to more revenue for your business.
Benefit 3: Optimizing your website for localized terms means you attract targeted traffic and better leads.
Targeted traffic means targeted leads that are more likely to turn into customers. Generic keywords like “family style restaurant” or “household appliances” might generate a ton of searches, but they are also broad and highly competitive. If you target these broad terms, you’ll struggle to compete with countless other businesses and you’ll risk attracting unqualified leads from outside the area you serve.
Benefit 4: Website optimization can improve your Conversion Rate, turning more visitors into paying customers.
There are many components to local SEO and they all work together to improve user experience on your website, increase your rankings, and generate more sales for your business.
Some of these components include optimizing your site for mobile search, implementing a user-friendly site structure, improving website load time, and optimizing your site for conversions. The easier it is for users to navigate your site, the easier it will be for them to find the information they’re looking for, buy your products, or contact you regarding your services.
So, local SEO isn’t only about rankings and traffic – it’s also about turning that traffic into paying customers and loyal fans for your local business.
Benefit 5: Enhance your credibility and build trust with reviews
Quality customer reviews play a crucial role in your local search ranking. Having plenty of authentic reviews, particularly positive ones, could work wonders to boost your visibility in local search in addition to enhancing your reputation. That means you need to work towards collecting more authentic customer reviews for your business.
These five benefits of local SEO can all make a huge difference when it comes to your business’s online visibility – attracting new customers in-person and through your website. And the good news is that you can tap into this potential optimizing your website for local SEO.
How to optimize your website for Local SEO
In order to gain those benefits, you need to optimize your website for local SEO. Google prioritizes local search results based on whether the contents of a page accurately reflects local needs and interests. Here are 5 steps everyone should take to optimize their website for local SEO.
Step 1: Optimize for mobile responsiveness
It is very important to have a fully mobile responsive website. This is a no-brainer. Why? A few numbers:
- 80% of internet users own a smartphone.
- 70% of mobile customers who find your business online will act within 1 hour.
- 16% of U.S. internet users will use a mobile phone exclusively to go online, predicted to increase to 20% over the next 3 years.
Check your analytics and you’ll likely see that more than half your traffic is coming from mobile and tablet devices. If your website looks outdated, is not mobile responsive and is difficult to use, visitors may leave and possibly won’t come back.
Step 2: Optimize meta description
Title tags and meta descriptions are still a huge element when it comes to optimizing your website for local SEO. These small snippets of information can make or break you when sat amongst a sea of competitors in the SERPs.
Your title tags and meta descriptions must include the product or service that you offer within the location. This acts as an obvious signpost to show search engines that you offer “this service” in “this location.”
Step 3: Optimize content
Local SEO keywords need to be present in any page that includes information about who you are, what you do and where you do this. Making sure content actually contains the keywords you are targeting is an exercise that many tend to miss.
Most importantly, make sure these keywords are included naturally within the content. Readability is a massive factor in SEO. Search engines are looking for pages that are easiest for users to understand and digest.
Including headings within your content makes good readability more obvious to search engines. Optimize headings for local SEO by adding your local area keywords. You should be adding keyword focused headings to both your pages and posts! Applying optimized headings in this way, declares the content of the page to search engines, making its relevance clear.
Step 4: Optimize your Contact Us page
The “contact us” page is the most influential in your Local SEO strategy.
This is the place where you hold all the business information you’re looking to use within your local SEO strategy. Here you should include your full address, telephone number, and your local keywords within the content of the page.
This information MUST reflect what’s on your Google Business Profile page!
Not only that, it should also contain a contact form or email address so customers can get in touch.
Pro tip: Add FAQs that include local keywords to target the ‘People also ask’ box in the search results. This will go a long way to improve your visibility in the SERPs.
Your ‘Contact’ page is also a great place to include a map and local keyword based directions to your business location. We recommend that you embed a Google Map onto your Contact Us page. Google tracks click throughs as a ranking factor so is yet another boost for that all important ranking juice!
Step 5: Optimize your Google Business Profile
Claim your Google Business Profile and add relevant information to your page. Make sure all your contact information: name, address, and phone number (NAP), business hours, and website url are all correct and matches what you have on your website Contact page. Add photos of your business and products so that people can easily recognize it. Request reviews from customers or recent clients and post them to boost your credibility.
Experience the Benefits of Local SEO for Your Business
You can experience the benefits of local SEO for your own business by implementing the local SEO best practices listed above to improve your local rankings, attract traffic, and land more customers.
Of course, when you’re a busy business owner with loads of tasks that require your attention, you might not have the time. Contact us if you need someone to take this important task off your plate. We’d be happy to discuss your options and create a customized local SEO strategy to help you dominate the local search results in your market.