Being a small business, it’s important that you’re doing everything you can to ensure growth and success. As obvious as that statement may seem, you’d be surprised how many small businesses overlook the importance and power of local SEO.
Whether or not you’ve heard about it, in this article, we’re going to discuss why local SEO is a growing power in the online world and how it can help your business reach new heights.
What is Local SEO?
A marketing strategy that small businesses can use to increase search visibility and promote their product or service to local consumers. The focus is capitalizing on the needs of a target market and being the solution when the timing is right.
Here’s Why Local SEO is Important
1. Your Target Market is Searching Locally
In this day and age, more and more people are using their computers and mobile devices to find things. When’s the last time you picked up the yellow pages or called a business from a magazine you read? The fact is, it’s just not as convenient as using a search engine to find pages of targeted results that cater to your exact need.
With 96% of PC owners conducting local searches, there’s a good chance that your target market has hopped onto the bandwagon. Even more interesting, the same study found that 61% of PC searches and 78% of mobile searches resulted in a purchase. Given those numbers, it’s easy to see what you could be missing out on if you don’t incorporate a local SEO strategy.
2. Search Engines are Shifting Their Focus
As Google and the other dominant search engines continue to consistently roll out updates, local SEO is going become even more important. People online want individualized results that appeal to their interests and search habits. That means things like their geographic location are going to continue playing a larger role in the kind of results displayed from searches.
You’re probably already familiar with Google’s Local 3-Pack, the top three results for searches with local intent that show their address, phone number, hours of operation, and proximity to your location on the map. It’s a highly sought after spot, especially considering that the 3-Pack appears on 93% of searches where location is a relevant factor.
Of course, it’s not just search engines that are changing the landscape of local SEO, but technology as well. Google found that local searches performed on smartphones lead 50% of users to visit stores within one day. With more people searching on the go from their mobile devices (including smart watches), hyper-local proximity results and local optimization will continue to become increasingly important.
3. Beat or Lose to Your Competition
If you’re not doing it, you’d best believe that your competition is. The online world is only becoming more competitive as thousands of new businesses launch their websites each day, and larger companies become more established. In order to stand out in your niche and thrive, you have to take full advantage of every edge you have available.
Do you have tough online competition with a firm grasp across the web? Using local SEO is a great way to get the upper hand in your own backyard (literally). A lot of times, consumers aren’t searching for specific name brands, but rather, they’re searching for the solution to whatever problem it is they’re having. If you can get your business in front of them when they’re searching locally, you have the best chance of turning them into a customer.
Local SEO is especially important if your business relies entirely on a local customer base (plumber, electrician, restaurant). There’s a good chance that your competition is looking for the best way to beat you, and if you’re not topping local search results, they’re going to take advantage of that fact and soak up the increasing amount of business from online traffic.
4. It’s Cost Effective and Converts Well
The large majority of local SEO tactics are free or very low cost. One of the best ways to jumpstart your local presence is by establishing your business on popular online directories like Yelp or Foursquare. In fact, a recent study found that 92% of respondents said they made a purchase after visiting Yelp.
It’s extremely easy to do and can greatly increase your visibility to potential consumers as well as drive targeted traffic to your business. Most of the time, traffic from local searches are already set on making a purchase, they just have to find out where. Because online directories compile all of the businesses that are relevant to the search in one convenient place, they’re an undeniably powerful tool that you should be using.
Local SEO Strategy Tips
1. Utilize Online Directories
If you didn’t already get this tip from above, we wanted to reiterate just how important it is. This is going to give you a significant boost in local search visibility. When you’re setting up your account on each directory, make sure that your brand image and message are uniform across all platforms.
2. Build Your Reviews
Google does take a business’s reviews into account when ranking for local searches, but they’re really for the actual people doing the searching. Think about it, when is the last time you bought from a business that had no reviews or only one to two stars? You want good reviews, but you also want to focus on building up the quantity.
3. Optimize for Location
In the world of local SEO, location is the king. If you’re targeting consumers in a certain city or county, be sure to include that somewhere in the title tag or meta description of your site. It sounds like a simple trick, but one study found that 71% of people surveyed say they look up the location of a business before going to it for the first time.
If you haven’t been using a local SEO strategy, now is as good a time as ever to get started. There could be a huge market of potential customers that you drive by on a daily basis who just don’t about your business yet.
With the above tips to help you get started, you’ll soon be on your way to growing your business and understanding just how powerful local SEO can be.