What is Local SEO
If you found this page, you are more than likely a business owner who needs help getting your business in the Local Pack of Google searches. Whether you are a small mom and pop shop, or a national brand with multiple locations, there is a great opportunity to attract local customers and grow your business. Below, I explain what Local SEO is, why it is important and how you can take advantage of your competition by improving your Local SEO.
Local Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is the process of technical SEO, on-site and off-site optimization, and content strategy to help local businesses rank higher in the search engine results page (SERP). Local SEO is similar to Organic SEO, though you are optimizing for a specific location rather than a service, product or idea.
Now, you may be reading this and saying, “WTF does all that mean?” Not an invalid question. I know what it means though, so no worries. I’ll break it down further for you.
Local SEO Process
I’ll start with technical SEO. What is technical SEO? Technical SEO is basically laying the foundation of your website so your content and keywords have a good chance of ranking. It involves things like:
- Website Speed
- Internal Linking
- Mobile Friendliness
- URL Structure
Whoa, looks big and confusing, right? It actually goes deeper but I thought this would be a good start. Technical SEO covers a wide range of items needed in order to be certain your website is crawlable and indexable for the search engines. If the search engines are not able to find and crawl your website, you will not be able to rank in the searches no matter how many keywords you try to optimize for.
On-site SEO is optimizing your website’s pages, content and structure for your particular keywords. It also involves:
- Title Tags
- Meta Description
- Head Tags
- Content Strategy
- Page Hierarchy
- Image Optimization
Off-site SEO is optimizing all items off of your website in order to rank for your particular keywords. It involves:
- Google My Business
- Social Media
This optimization involves content you write for your website, as well as content you write for other websites.
Combining these strategies will give your website an advantage over your competition. Local SEO is an extremely effective way to promote your business digitally, as it will help you showcase your business, products and services. Millions of people, including your potential customers, use local search daily to find businesses near them. By using a targeted approach, I am able to help you increase your chances of getting found by potential local customers when they are searching for businesses like yours.
Why is Local SEO Important
It is critical for businesses to rank for local search terms when customers are searching for them. If you are not in front of your potential customers, your competition will be. There are only 3 spots to rank in the Local Pack and competition for those spots is intense.
With Local SEO, I focus on providing relevant results to searches based on where they are searching. You want to make it as easy as possible for potential customers to find your business when they search.
Think of the reasons people search for local businesses. Some may know your business or brand, but simply need more information about you. Maybe they need your phone number, address, hours, driving directions or want to read your business reviews.
What if the searcher does not know your business? They are probably searching for businesses who sell similar products and services to yours. How is your business going to stand out? If you do not have a solid Local SEO strategy, you are most likely not ranking in the Local 3 Pack. If you are not in the Local Pack, 3 of your competitors are. Can you continue to afford not being seen locally when your customers are searching?
Take another example. I was recently searching for landscape designers for a project I want completed for my backyard. I typed in “Crystal Lake landscape designers” into Google and got the following SERP:
I told Google what I was looking for and it returned ads, the Local 3 Pack for businesses which met my criteria in the area, and Organic listings. If you own a landscape design business and your listing does not show when people are searching for your services, you need Local SEO help. It is critical to have your business information prominently listed on your website so people who find your business can get to know you, find your location, see your opening hours, call your business, and read your reviews. Think of your website as your business storefront on the Internet.
In addition, your website must be well optimized for the Search Engines. SEO will help your pages rank highly in Google, thus allowing your potential customers to find your business. If you’re customers can’t find your information, you can bet they are finding your competitors.
Let’s jump back to the search I performed above – Crystal Lake landscape designer. In the Organic results, you can see several listings which are not local businesses. The first few results are Yelp, Houzz, and Homeadvisor. These are directory listings which show local businesses on their page. You better be sure your business is showing on these websites as well. If you are unable to rank highly in the searches, you can at least take advantage of the other listings which are. These listings are directories which give your business a solid citation. Citations are important for Local SEO and you can read more about them here. (I also offer a citation building service for those businesses only interested in upping their citation game.)
Local SEO is a beast and even the slightest errors on your website can cause your competition to bump you out of the Local Pack. If your business is not listed on other websites and directories around the web, your customers will have an even harder time finding you. Having a solid Local SEO strategy will give your customers a good chance of finding your business when they search for you or the products and services you sell.
How Can Local SEO Help Me?
Below are 11 reasons a Local SEO strategy can help you attract new customers. You can also check out the Local Search Ranking Factors to see what some of the top Local SEO’s think about driving traffic.
- Local Search is highly targeted and timely
- People search local to find a business, product or service. Your business needs to be visible when potential customers are searching. This is because….
- 60% of consumers who performed a local search on their smartphones visited a store within a day.
- Mobile searches continue to grow
- Mobile search began to overtake desktop search in 2013 and the trend continues today. Here is a chart based on 2016 data: https://www.stonetemple.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/04/aggregate-total-visits-desktop-vs-mobile-768×466.jpg
- Local Search has a terrific ROI
- Local SEO has minimal wasted exposure compared to traditional advertising. Think of TV, Radio, or newspapers ads. These ads are shown when customers are typically not searching for the product, service or business. With Local SEO, your business is in front of customers precisley when they are searching.
- Local is still an untapped market
- In Q1 of 2017, local knowledge engine, Yext, filed for IPO and stated, “we estimate that there are currently 100 million potential business locations and points of interest in the world that could benefit from our platform..”. Even if that number is overstated, the number of potential businesses who have yet to dig into Local is huge.
- Most of Local SEO is inexpensive
- Compared to traditional advertising, Local SEO is a minimal monthly investment. Great exposure and results can be attained with as little as $500 per month.
- Reviews are critical
- According to a recent Brightlocal survey, 97% of consumers read online reviews for local businesses, and consumers read an average of 7 reviews before trusting a business. That’s huge!
- You have to be there
- The algorithms are highly effective at determining user location
- The Search Engines have become extremely effective at determining where users are searching from. By using IP information from your desktop/laptop, and GPS data from your phone, the search engines can pinpoint a user location to within a few feet.
- The 3 pack shows in 93% of searches with local intent
- You have to be visible
- 50% of local-mobile searchers are looking for business information such as address, phone number, website, driving directions or reviews.
- 78% of local-mobile searches end in an offline purchase
Contact an Experienced Local SEO
If you are confused, overwhelmed, or just too busy to worry about your Local SEO efforts, contact me. First, read about my philosophy to determine if we would be a good fit to work together. If you think it could work, shoot me an email or give me a call and we will go from there. Let’s get started dominating your competition in Local.