While globalisation has brought a major change to the marketplace, more and more businesses now prefer building their brand by selling to local customers. The yellow pages, once upon a time, was every business’ need but ever since the inception of search engines, things have changed significantly. Therefore, SEO, Search Engine Optimisation, has become of an important ingredient for a successful business, despite the size and location.
In this post we will learn everything about Local SEO, what is it, why it matters, what are the benefits, and more.
So, let’s jump right in…
Local SEO is a practice of website and brand presence optimisation for a specific location. While SEO is all about focusing on generating organic traffic to your website or digital presence by boosting the ranking on SERPs, Local SEO involves optimising your website pages to earn better ranking for the local queries in a particular region or location. Google is smart and therefore knows where the search intent is local and offers the most accurate results to searchers. Having over a decade worth of experience in the industry, we understand how to increase your ranking and gain more traffic to your website page.
While being a brand of general SEO, local optimisation is considered one of the easy practices to conduct. However, don’t be fooled when we say “easy practice”- it still requires a blend of effort and focuses to conquer the market. Local SEO includes a myriad of technical tools and creative approaches to keep an eye on and prove to the search engine that your business is best in the locality and is the most relevant result for the specific search in comparison to other places.
Importance of Local SEO for Small Businesses
Nearly half of the Google queries nowadays are local searches. When someone conducts a daily search, the chances that Google displays local businesses remain high. Google reported that 90% increases in searches involve “today/tonight or near me”. To best meet the requirements of its searchers, Google started offering more results for geographically-related searches- relevance, proximity, and prominence (This, we have aforementioned). Therefore, if your brand is close to where someone is conducting the search, providing services or products that they may be looking for, and has optimised the local business listing.
Wondering why it matters so much?
Since you have invested a lot in building a strong business that helps many customers, Local SEO will help make it seen and noticed. When you carry out local optimisation, this results in better visibility in search engines by targeting the desired audience that is interested in or looking for your business products and services. This isn’t only important for online businesses but also for those who are running an offline business since the map pack focuses on organic search engine result pages to showcase the searcher’s local results on top. If you are a local business owner and have your restaurant, store, saloon, or any kind of company, you must prioritise local search to thrive online and build business authority first.
What are the key elements of Local SEO?
Claim GMB Listing: Google remains the king of search engines. Claiming your Google profile listing, and ensuring all the information is current and correct is your first step into this realm. “Relevance, Distance & Prominence”- these are the most significant aspects of local ranking for your business.
Ensure Consistency: This may appear to you as ‘Duh! Obviously, but many overlook checking the basic information across different websites. It is advised to ensure that your information and address are accurate and consistent across all channels. List your business the same way, and stick to the format. Keep your store hours updated. The term for this is Local Citation, commonly used by SEO experts.
Maintain Reviews: As per a Local Consumer Review Survey conducted in 2022, 98% of customers read online reviews for local business to understand their worth and quality. Reviews are significantly important and impact your ranking in local SERPs.
Optimise Your Landing Pages & Website: If your business is situated in multiple locations, build a local landing page for each. Many large-size brands use services to keep all their website page updated and prefer relevant keywords. Website plays a key role and on-page optimisation refers to the keywords that you use on your website, therefore, keep those aligned.
Use all Media & Organic Mentions: Local listing in directories, mentions on social media and cross-promotions factor into your ranking.
Difference between Local SEO & Traditional SEO
Traditional and local SEO, both focus on improving your brand’s ranking in search results, so you become visible and accessible to people. More people find, contact and buy from your store. But, there is a slight difference. While traditional SEO focuses on boosting your website’s visibility on a national or global scale, local SEO allows you to get local search territory to connect with searchers in the area. SEO and local SEO run on the same strategies but Local SEO solutions use specialised measures, which help your brand connect with the right searchers in your locality.
What are the benefits of LOCAL SEO?
Now that we have covered the basics, benefits, and differences, you must be excited to know more about Local SEO. Do we still have you? Yes? Well, let’s discuss the advantages of local SEO for your business.
Better Visibility: Local SEO activities such as link building or citation help boost your online visibility. This makes your business discoverable for new customers.
High In-store Traffic: With great local visibility comes great foot traffic to your bricks and mortar store. There is a myriad of benefits of SEO for local businesses.
Light up the Local Shopping: The post-coronavirus world is going out and shopping locally to support small brands and local businesses. Local SEO puts your brand in contention for all new opportunities.
Targeted Traffic: Optimising your website for local search brings targeted traffic to your site that brings more leads, sign-ups, subscriptions, and sales.
More Calls: Google Business Profile or GMB optimisation leads to better visibility on Google Maps. This can lead to better calls and in-person visits.
Importance of NAP Consistency
What is NAP?
NAP is an acronym for Name, Address and Phone Number. The NAP for your business needs to be consistent and correct, especially when optimizing your website as well as an online presence for local search since Google values accurate information for its users/searchers.
Why is NAP important?
Having an accurate NAP for your listing across all channels is important for Local SEO. Google scans and evaluates all listings when looking for information about your business or the services you offer. The data stored and is used when it comes to determining to rank. In case of incorrect information in NAP, customers get confused, thereby a poor user experience.
Problems that may arise in case of incorrect NAP listing
As mentioned earlier, Google values accuracy and consistency. When all your listing highlights the same information, Google will confidently display your contact information to customers with relevant keywords. When the search engine finds inaccuracy or discrepancies in the listing, it isn’t sure about the information, and this offers a poor user experience, causing a lower ranking.
Local SEO Strategies
· Local SEO employs additional tactics that help your business reach local users. These winning strategies are as follows:
· Optimise profiles on local listing sites, especially on Google My Business.
· Gain and manage reviews on all local review websites about your services/products
· Create local specific website copy
· Target relevant and local keywords on your website (Add ‘near me’ or ‘today’)
· Adding correct NAP information to your website and local directories
· Earn backlinks from local yet reputed websites
You need to understand the difference between mobile-optimised and mobile-friendly websites. While a Mobile-Friendly site displays accurately on small phone screens but may not work well on a touchscreen tablet or a laptop, a mobile-optimised site reformates its look for mobile devices. It ensures a proper display on smaller screens and is easier to navigate. It reformats content, displays large navigation buttons, and optimises images per the screen size.
Importance of making websites mobile-friendly
Sellers and retailers must determine what’s involved in the seamless buying experience. This includes considering offline communication and the importance of identifying and optimising online touch points- mobile is the key to converting users into buyers. Consumers are digital nomads who browse and purchase products across different channels. This often comes with a tray of challenges that hinders the smooth experience across all devices-especially on mobile. Unless retailers move to a ‘mobile-first’ approach, customers will hit a cross to search for another website.
How does Mobile-First Indexing impact the strategy?
The change happens in the earliest phase of testing. Google is progressively rolling out mobile-first indexing across ready websites. You will know if the site has migrated to MFI since you will be notified in your search console. If you have desktop content, you will be represented in Google’s index; site owners shouldn’t worry about it. However, since mobile-friendly sites perform better in search results, making changes may affect desktop sites that need to be mobile-friendly, thereby pushing down the ranking.
Challenges of Local SEO
Local SEO is an integral yet neglected aspect of your business’s local SEO strategy:
Neglecting Locations: Businesses have thousands of locations and service areas. Retailers often are tempted to overlook location in their business’ local SEO strategy. However, it is advised to update the information on all locations.
Not Maintaining your GMB: You don’t own the GMB profile content; Google can change or modify your business profile information anytime. So, you must maintain your local presence.
Verify Multiple Stores: Some locations have multiple businesses that operate inside; this makes it challenging for all the businesses to get verified on GMB since Google may think that another business takes the location.
Local SEO is an integral part of any SEO strategy for local businesses. Local SEO helps your audience find your business when they search online. All the information in this post will help you in your journey to gain brand recognition and growth. If you need help or expert guidance, consult our marketing wizards to know more.
FAQs: Frequently Asked Questions
Q. What is the difference between local SEO and organic SEO?
A. Organic SEO is a marketing practice that is used by sites to make them search-engine friendly and secure a rank among the top Google results. The website isn’t linked to any offline store but has a possible location. This simply revolves around relevant keywords that help rank the website and its pages on the internet. Unlike Organic SEO, Local SEO focuses on offering you results based on the location specified in the search engine. This is linked to specific offline stores and is about developing reliability by citing their business in directories.
Q. How can businesses track their local SEO performance?
A. It’s important to track as well as measure your business ranking, reviews, and citation across the major search engines, third-party organic results like Google Reviews, Foursquare and others, and local results. The following are metrics for local SEO that will serve as key performance indicators:
· Google My Business Insights
· Look at your Local Listings
· Reviews on Bing or GMB serve as Metrics
· Check traffic on your HTML
· Conversion rate
Q. Can local SEO improve search engine rankings for national keywords?
A. It may not bring results or improve search engine rankings. Local SEO works well for small-sized businesses that operate on a regional as opposed to a national one. Local SEO prioritised appearing in a specific location on SERPs.