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Local SEO is a powerful tool that can help with your organic reach.
If you own a small business with a physical location or serve a specific geographic area, you must prioritize local SEO in your digital marketing efforts.
But why is local SEO important?
What is Local SEO?
Local SEO optimizes your online presence to attract more business from relevant local searches. This means ensuring that your website, online directories, and social media profiles are all up-to-date and accurately reflect your business information, location, and service area.
Local SEO is an essential aspect of online marketing for businesses with a physical location or service area. Optimizing your online presence for local search can improve your chances of being found by potential customers searching for businesses like yours in their area.
Why is Local SEO Important?
Local SEO is important because more and more people are using the internet, especially their smartphones, to find local businesses. With the proliferation of technology, it has become easier for people to search for the products or services they need online, and this trend is only set to continue.
According to Search Engine Watch, almost 50% of people who conduct a local search visit a store within a day. Even if people don’t purchase on the same day as their local search, there is still a good chance that they will consider your business when ready to make a purchase in the future.
In addition to the potential for increased foot traffic, local SEO can also lead to increased sales. Approximately 18% of local searches result in a purchase within a day. If your business is properly optimized for local search, it could increase sales significantly
Why Local SEO is Important for Small Businesses
Imagine you’re a local coffee shop. A woman is out running errands. She’s searching for “iced coffee,” which just so happens to be your specialty.
But her search results are dominated by Starbucks, Dunkin Donuts, and the other big names. So it makes it hard to compete, let alone show up in her search results.
But if you optimize for local SEO, you can appear at the top of the search results and in the Local Pack — which will show the woman your store hours, phone number, image of iced coffee, and 5-star reviews.
Now she can see you’re nearby and have great service, great coffee, and she can easily add you to her route. And now you’re in contention with even the biggest names in the coffee business.
To break it down more specifically, local SEO is important for small businesses because it …
Targets Local Customers
Local SEO allows businesses to target local customers who are likely to use their services or buy their products. By optimizing for local search, you can ensure that your business appears in the most relevant searches and reach a more targeted audience.
Using tactics such as creating geo-targeted content, claiming listings on online directories, and optimizing website content for local keywords, you can improve your business’s visibility in search engine results and increase your chances of being found by potential customers.
Local SEO is vital for small businesses because it makes your business more visible to potential customers and increases the likelihood of being found online. By taking advantage of local SEO tactics, small businesses can ensure a ranking in relevant local searches and increase their chances of gaining an edge over their competition.
By leveraging the right local SEO tactics, businesses can gain an advantage over their competition by ensuring that they appear in the most relevant search results. Local SEO is a key part of any modern marketing strategy and can help businesses reach more customers, generate more leads, and ultimately increase their bottom line.
Proves You Meet the Needs of Your Audience
To maximize your local SEO efforts, you’ll need to focus on creating content designed to meet your target audience’s needs. Additionally, claiming listings on popular online directories can ensure that potential customers can find and learn about your business when they search online.
Finally, optimize your website content for local keywords to ensure your business appears as prominently as possible in local searches. By taking advantage of these tactics, you can reach the right audience and increase the chances that potential customers will find you.
Is Local SEO Effective?
Local SEO effectively improves your business’s online visibility for relevant local searches. Optimizing your online presence for local search can improve your chances of being found by potential customers searching for businesses like yours in their local area.
This is especially important for small businesses, as local SEO can level the playing field and allow them to compete with larger, more well-known businesses.
One of the critical ways that local SEO is effective is by improving your business’s search engine rankings for relevant local keywords. When your business appears at the top of the search results for these keywords, it can increase the likelihood that potential customers will click on your website and visit your store.
What Affects Local SEO?
When customers leave positive reviews and ratings for your business on sites like Google, Yelp, and Facebook, it can improve your local search rankings and attract more customers. It’s important to actively encourage satisfied customers to leave reviews and to respond promptly to any negative reviews to maintain a positive online reputation.
In addition, having accurate and consistent listings across all directories can also positively affect your local SEO. This includes ensuring you have the same contact information on each directory and that your opening hours are current. It’s also essential to check these listings regularly so that any changes or updates are noticed.
How to Optimize for Local Search
To optimize your online presence for local search, it’s crucial to ensure that your website, online directories, and social media profiles are all up-to-date and accurately reflect your business information and location.
Provide Consistent Information
The most important thing behind local SEO is ensuring that your business name, address, and phone number (also known as your NAP) are consistent across all online profiles. Including the city and state in your website’s title tags, meta descriptions, and text is also a good idea.
In addition to ensuring your NAP and location are accurately represented online, optimizing your website for relevant keywords is also essential.
This means including terms in your website’s content that potential customers might use when searching for businesses like yours in their local area. For example, if you own a bakery in Los Angeles, you might want to include terms like “Los Angeles bakery” or “bakery in Los Angeles” in your website’s content.
Create a Google My Business Profile
Google My Business is a free business listing with Google that:
- Appears on the right side of search result pages and will show mostly for branded searches.
- Include basic business information such as business name, website URL, address, phone number, and products or services.
- Allows the owner to upload photos, update hours of operation, post upcoming promotions or news, and collect and respond to reviews.
When deciding which business to serve in the local pack, your Google My Business profile is 25% of the ranking factor in Google’s local algorithm.
The Google My Business listing provides a single location for searchers to find basic information on your business without visiting your website. Given that the user may not visit your site, it is essential to have the information on your listing be accurate, valuable, and eye-catching.
Bing also has a similar business listing called Bing Places for Business. You can connect your Google My Business profile to your Bing profile to pull the data. This saves you from having to build and optimize two listings.
Garner Online Reviews
Gaining positive online reviews and ratings is a crucial part of local SEO. You can boost your local search rankings and increase business by encouraging satisfied customers to leave feedback on platforms like Google, Yelp, and Facebook.
It’s essential to proactively request reviews and address negative feedback to uphold a solid online reputation.
Clean Up Local Citations
A local citation is any online mention of your local business’s name, address, and/or phone number. These citations can positively or negatively impact your search rankings and how potential customers find your business. According to Moz, local citations represent 8% to 10% of Google’s ranking factors for local SEO.
All citations must be accurate and consistent to inform Google that your site is trustworthy.
Often businesses need to be made aware of all of the local citations that are out there for their businesses, which are inaccurate. Inaccurate citations must be corrected to protect search rankings, reputation, and customer experience.
The process of citation clean-up can be a time-consuming manual process depending on how many and what citations are out there. This is where working with an agency can be helpful because they have the tools to manage citations that save time and improves local rankings.
Get Credible Backlinks
One of the core principles of SEO is the number of quality sites that link back to your site. In the case of local SEO, these referring sites can be locally focused websites and directories to support local search rankings. Beyond rankings, improving your presence on these directories means a wide audience of local searchers can find your business.
Every city has business directories that your business can list itself. And often, these directories are free and localized. Some well-known directories include Facebook, LinkedIn, Yelp, Local.com, Yellow Pages, and Angie’s List. Similar to the local citations, it is essential that your business information is correct and accurate across all directory listings and referring sites.
Not all backlinks and referring domains are good. Google is starting to pay more and more attention to what it calls “toxic backlinks.” If the websites pointing back to your site have a high toxicity score, it will negatively impact your rankings.
Perform Local Keyword Research
Keywords can vary significantly between geographies and local audiences. Performing keyword research for each geographic region is vital to determine what keywords will support local rankings for each area.
For example, an insurance agency in Oklahoma will have a very different set of keywords around storm damage coverage than an agency in Florida. This keyword research will help to optimize website and landing page content for local search rankings.
Ensure Your Content is Location-Specific
If you build custom homes in the Pittsburgh area, is it clear in the content of your website that you only service the greater Pittsburgh area?
Something as simple as ensuring your website content includes your geography can go a long way in local search rankings. On-page elements can also be optimized. Including your location in the page title and meta description can go a long way in supporting local SEO.
Each location can be optimized for its local search results if your business has multiple locations. In this instance, many businesses will create local landing pages with location-specific language and service offerings to be served in the local ranking.
The Bottom Line on Local SEO
Local SEO is vital for small businesses as it can help them boost their online visibility and gain on the competition. By leveraging the right local SEO tactics, businesses can ensure they will be seen in relevant local searches. Coming up in these searches maximizes their chances of being found by potential customers.
Optimizing website content for local keywords, claiming directory listings, and encouraging customer reviews can all help improve local search rankings. With the right approach, local SEO can be a powerful tool for small businesses looking to increase their bottom line and online presence.
Not quite sure where to start for local SEO for your business? RedShift’s got your back.
We can ensure potential customers find you and keep you in their minds. By partnering with RedShift for your local SEO services, you can capture qualified leads, increase traffic to your website and physical location, and boost sales by showing up in relevant search results through local SEO.