Can Local Search Engine Optimization Help My Local Business?
Posted at Oct 28, 2021 8:30:00 AM by THAT Agency | Share
When we need information - from how to fix a leaky faucet to where to go for sound legal advice - we go online. When we have an unmet need, an unanswered question, or an interest previously unexplored, we turn to a trusted resource: a search engine.
Among the billions of searches conducted each day, we see the full gamut of inquiries from the ordinary and mundane to the critical and profound. And among these searches are people who are looking for the products, services, and solutions you offer.
First, what is local SEO? Search engine optimization, or SEO, is a practice of improving the quantity and quality of traffic to a webpage/site via search engines. It is organic, which means that it targets unpaid traffic, as opposed to paid traffic (via advertisements and/or sponsored postings).
Local SEO is a form of organic SEO; the difference is intent. That is, these searchers are looking for businesses (or products, services, or solutions) near them or in a particular area. According to Google data, the most common local searches include:
Restaurants and cafes (56%)
Grocery stores (37%)
Clothing stores (34%)
Hotels and B&Bs (34%)
Medical practices and healthcare (28%)
As you can see from these statistics, hospitality- and service-based businesses see a significant amount of search traffic. Local SEO is imperative for brands in these spaces, as well as for professionals like healthcare providers, attorneys, plumbers, electricians… you name it, people are searching for it.
The goal of local SEO is to ensure they find what they are looking for - and that they find you.
How Can Local SEO Help Your Business?
How can local SEO help your business? About 46% of all searches have local intent, and “Where to buy X near me” searches have jumped 200% since 2019. A few more numbers to make the case for local SEO:
Over half of local searches lead to a visit to a physical location
Nearly one-third of all searchers use the internet to look for local businesses every day
Local searches via mobile devices have increased 250% year over year since 2019
Nearly three-quarters of people who shop in person look online for information (e.g. closest store to them, location/address, directions, operating hours, items in stock near them, and contact information before visiting the physical location.
Seven out of ten consumers will visit a physical location if they find results relevant to their online search (source)
Local SEO works to drive an increase in quantity and quality of search traffic to a website - and to a physical location. An uptick in web traffic can translate into increased sales. Not only that, many local searchers are looking for businesses to which they can return; you have the opportunity to create loyal customers.
How Can You Improve Local SEO Performance?
The good news is that more businesses understand and appreciate the importance of local search. The more challenging news is that this can make it more difficult to achieve a great rank. Ideally, you want to land in the Local Pack, a group of three results that are prominently positioned in search engine results.
We’re back to the good news: there are steps you can take now in order to bolster and boost your local SEO performance:
Claim your Google My Business page. Google, understandably, places a great deal of stock in its own platforms! Having a complete and accurate Google My Business page is step 1.
Use appropriate Google My Business Categories. On your GMB page, you have the opportunity to select the category or categories that most accurately describe your business. Fewer is better here, so strive for relevance.
Leverage the power of images. We’re very visual people! Searchers respond to high-quality images, and thus, so do search engines. Use shots of your location, your people, your products, and other differentiators to engage consumers. This is an area where it makes sense to invest in some professional photos, but more casual, candid shots can be quite useful as well.
List your business in online directories. Be sure that you are prominent in local directories, some of which are more general (e.g. Yellowpages, Bing Places, Foursquare, Yelp, etc.) and some of which are targeted towards your particular field (e.g. Avvo, FindLaw, Nolo, Lawyers.com, etc.). Again, be sure all of your information, particularly NAP - name, address, phone - are up to date and accurate.
Mind your reviews. The reality is that consumers trust their peers more than they trust brands, at least until you have the opportunity to build a relationship. Reviews and ratings give your business credibility and can be a major deciding factor for local searchers. You cannot ask customers to leave reviews per Google’s rules, but you can make it ultra-easy for them to do so.
Google looks at the number of positive reviews you have but they also look at your responses. The worst response to a negative review is no response; this costs you when it comes to your place in the search engine results pages, so always, always respond professionally and promptly.
These local SEO tips are just the beginning - but they are actionable and can help you start gaining traction.
Get Started with a Winning Local SEO Strategy
Ready to get started and see how local SEO can help your business? Contact THAT Agency for industry-leading guidance, strategies, and results.