If you own a small business, you have probably already heard about local SEO and how important it is for your business. How exactly is it beneficial and what does it do though? How does it work? Well, you can find answers to these questions here.
What is Local SEO?
Local SEO or in other words local search engine optimization is a useful “tool” that helps you to improve the visibility of your small business in local search engine results. Potential new customers lookup options near where they live every day and the local search helps them find what they need by using “near me” intended questions. Your goal is to pop up high on those local search results so that more customers from your area can find you.
For this reason, knowing how to successfully use some of the most effective local SEO strategies is very important if you want to make your business grow and prosper. These strategies will boost your business’s visibility and therefore your website traffic too.
Why is Local SEO Important for Small Businesses?
So, why exactly is this local SEO of such great importance for small businesses? Well, almost half of all the queries made on Google today come from local searches. Even when people are performing daily searches, Google will most likely provide local businesses’ information first.
What does that have to do with small businesses? Statistics show that from 2017 to 2019 there was a significant increase in searches involving phrases such as “near me tonight/today”. As a matter of fact, the number of such searches had gone up by 900% in that time period. So, in order to meet the needs of customers searching for information online, Google made sure to provide more geographically relevant searches based on prominence, relevance, and proximity.
In other words, if your business offers products or services and is close to the person conducting the search, your business is likely to reach new potential customers. However, this would be impossible without an optimized local business listing. That is where local SEO comes in handy.
What are the Benefits of Local SEO?
So far we’ve discussed how local SEO is beneficial for your small business due to the Google search visibility that it provides. However, that’s not the only reason why local SEO is a key factor for your small business’ success. Apart from boosting your business’ visibility, local SEO has other great advantages and here are some of the most prominent ones.
A Cost-Effective Marketing Solution
Firstly, using local SEO is a more cost-effective marketing solution. Though it takes some time and effort to manage all of the important information about your business in online directories, with local SEO you can set up local business listings on the web for free if you use tools such as Facebook and Google My Business.
Helps Local Customers Find You
Numbers show that up to 72% of customers prefer to look for stores that are within a 5 mile radius from where they live. Thus, they will most likely be searching up businesses that are closer to them. Local SEO gets you the visibility that you need in your local area, thus attracting more local customers.
Reaches Customers Who Are Ready to Buy
Local SEO doesn’t just get you out there on the market. It also boosts your sales. It has been proven that about 80% of local searches end up getting converted into sales. This applies to searches done over mobile devices. Why is that the case? Well, local SEO puts you in front of the customer at the right time and place, or in other words, at the exact moment, the customer is looking for a product to buy. This significantly boosts the chance of you making a sale.
Delivers More Qualified Search Traffic
Lastly, local SEO helps you write off the customers who probably won’t even contact your business. Since it has a narrow intent of looking specifically for people in your area and people who are looking for exactly what you’re offering, local SEO helps bring the right people to your business aka the ones that will make a purchase.
How Can Small Businesses Use Local SEO?
Now you might be wondering how you can use local SEO. It’s actually a lot simpler than you think. Here are several useful tips you can follow when using local SEO for your small business.
Create Accurate and Consistent Local Citations
Instances where your business is mentioned by its name, address, and phone number are local citations. No matter where you list this set of information, you need to make sure it is consistent and accurate. Your business needs to be easily found and recognizable online.
List Your Business in Online Local Directories
Then, you need to make sure your business is listed in online local directories. The most reliable ones are Yelp, Yext, Bing Places, Google My Business, and Facebook. These places make it easier for your business to get verified and checked as legitimate.
Set-Up & Maintain a Google My Business Profile
First, you need to create a Google My Business account. This helps your small business to grow by feeding your information into Google Maps and Google Search. However, to make this happen, you need to be consistent and maintain your account regularly. Don’t forget that.
Respond Regularly to Reviews
Lastly, your customers’ feedback matters a lot and you should not take it for granted. Responding to your customers’ reviews may even be one of the most important factors. Whether the comments are positive or negative, you need to take time to evaluate the reviews and respond to them. If the comment is positive, then keep doing what the customer has highlighted as a good feature. If the comment is negative, take time to evaluate and try to fix the issue.
In conclusion, local SEO brings a lot of advantages and benefits for your small business growth. It can put you out there and make your business more visible to potential new customers resulting in attracting more traffic and boosting your sales.