Search engine optimization, or SEO, is an online marketing method used to improve rank on search engine result pages, or SERPs. Local SEO uses this same concept but focuses on a specific location. This helps customers find your business among a sea of national or global competitors.
Over the past decade, the number of searches with local intent has grown. Recent statistics show that 46% of Google queries are looking for local results. Many of these searches use the term “near me” or a city name. For example, a consumer seeking the assistance of a mechanic might type, “car mechanics near me”, or “best mechanics in San Diego.” Both these searches will result in local options.
Throughout this blog, we’ll investigate local search and local SEO. You’ll learn what it is, how it works, and why it’s important to your small business. Here we go!
Local SERPs and Google My Business Profiles
A local SERP appears differently than your run of the mill results page. They populate in a local pack of 3 listings along with a map of the area in question. Each business is shown on the map, and broken down by company name, hours of operation and contact info. Other information sometimes included in these listings are:
- Restaurant Menus
- Customer reviews
- Current open or closed status
- Proximity to your known location
All these useful details are provided to Google through something called “Google My Business”, which is essentially a search engine business listing.
Google My Business is a citation. The more citations you develop, the more visible your small business becomes to local internet users. A citation is any location where the name, address, phone number and website of your business appear on a page together. Other examples of citations include Facebook business pages, Yelp, MapQuest, and the Yellow Pages.
Why Citations are Important to Your Local SEO Game
Citations share vital information consumers need to find your business. They also offer a place for customers to leave feedback, ask questions, and get in touch. Citations also create the appearance of authority in your field. If you’re not listed among the top businesses in your niche, locals may assume you’re less experienced than competitors.
It’s important that citations be accurate. This occurs most in business listings which you write and edit yourself. Research shows that 80% of customers get upset and lose faith in local businesses when information is wrong on a citation. That’s a lot of missed opportunities.
Ways to Improve Your Local Search and Local SEO
Now that you understand the basics of SEO, let’s focus on ways to improve yours. Working with an online marketing management team is a great way to get started. Having someone in your corner to guide you through the first steps in developing your online citations will go a long way to later success. There are many things you can do to increase local SEO relevance. These include:
Engage with Customers and Request Reviews
Potential customers seeking a business with services like yours want to know why they should choose you. Aside from proximity, what is your business offering? Reading online ratings and reviews helps new customers see what you’re all about. The more reviews and ratings your business has, the more popular it appears – both to internet users and to search engines like Google.
Optimize for Mobile Users
Mobile is huge, and when local businesses don’t optimize sites to include mobile users, they miss out on a large chunk of the consumer population. It’s not just that internet users can’t view your site properly; it’s also a reflection on your business’ web design skills.
Modern consumers expect to browse websites from mobile phones and tablets at their leisure. When this isn’t possible, they’re more likely to switch to a new site, rather than switching the mode of access. Less traffic means less relevancy, which Google views as a weakness.
Create Content with Locals in Mind
Content is another key component to a strong SEO game. For local search, focusing your content on your location improves consumer perception. Broad generalizations dehumanize your brand and leave site visitors wondering whether you’re a small business in town or a big box brand in another country. Remember to choose keywords that represent your location as well.
Work with Outreach Digital Marketing for Improved Local SEO
At Outreach Digital Marketing we specialize in online marketing for small and mid-sized businesses. Our team of experienced marketers are here to take you step by step through a local SEO campaign and answer questions as you go.
Interested in learning more about local SEO and how it can help your small business? Contact Outreach Digital Marketing to schedule a free consultation today.