Businesses that focus on appealing to local customers need to gain an edge whenever and wherever they can get one. One key element that they should look to utilise is Local SEO. But before we dive into this topic, it is firstly important to understand what is search engine optimization?
Search Engine Optimization:
SEO or Search Engine Optimization is a set of tools and strategies to help companies rank their websites higher on search engines. Google, Bing, Yahoo and other search engines utilize complex algorithms to determine how pages are listed on their search results. The algorithm includes many factors that are weighted and adjusted to reflect changes to search and consumer behaviour. With so many webpages/potential competitors online a company needs to be able to understand and influence how to move their own webpages up on search results. The ideal position for ranking is the top 3 results on the first page as not may searchers go beyond the first page and the first 1-5 results are usually visible after a search has been conducted.
Understanding Local SEO:
Local SEO looks at optimising your on-site and off-site SEO strategies for consumers conducting local searches for your business type (local restaurants, local laundromats, local clothing stores etc). For many local businesses that heavily reliant on local consumers, this is crucial, especially because if you are not undertaking local SEO it is more than likely your competition is. Nobody wants to miss out on opportunities to grow their bottom line. So this sounds like a lot of fluff, how does local SEO actually help your business?
Search Engines Takes Location into Account:
If you have ever made a search on Google looking for a product or service sometimes Google will ask for your location. This is because Google is trying to link your query to the closest options to you. For instance, searching for “Target stores” will show the closest Target stores in relation to your location. Making sure you rank for these local searches is then crucial to push more customers to your website and/or your brick and mortar store.
Local SEO Brings You Targeted Customers:
When people are searching for local options it is usually due to the fact they are interested in purchasing a good or service, rather than just browsing. This can give you more targeted consumers, who are further along the decision-making stage for purchasing. It is also because of this fact that companies need to be aware that their website and web pages need to be tailored and designed with this in mind. So make sure that Call To Actions and the overall design of the website will not only engage consumers but push them further towards a conversion (purchase, sign up etc).
Local SEO Means You Compete Against the Local Competitors:
One of the great challenges with SEO is that you are competing for rankings against business around the world. With Local SEO your competition is only those businesses in your categories, in your local area. While this sounds positive, don’t be fooled. This means that you will have to work harder to gain a greater share of a smaller target market. However, it also allows you to gain a better understanding of competitors. What are they doing well? Why are customers choosing them over you? What are your key points of difference? While Local SEO can be tougher it also allows for you to learn and improve your own outreach methods (both SEO and non-SEO related) which can have large long-term effects for your business.
Local SEO is Vital for Mobile Searchers:
Today most internet searches occur on mobile because everyone has a smartphone and are constantly on the move. Most of the time when people are searching from mobile they typically are looking for a good or service near where they are located at that moment. Local SEO gets you in front of these people at the right moment, which again can turn them into customers.