Take out your phone, open Google, and search “best Italian restaurant.” What do you see? The top results usually aren’t the best Italian joints in America—and likely aren’t part of a massive chain. They’re often locally-owned restaurants in your city that are close to where you are right now. That’s the power of local SEO. How can your small business use local SEO to get ahead of the competition online? Read on to learn more!
- What Is Local SEO?
- Why Is Local SEO Important for Small Businesses?
- What Are the Benefits of Local SEO?
- How Can Small Businesses Use Local SEO?
What Is Local SEO?
Local search engine optimization is a part of search engine optimization (or SEO) that focuses on improving a local business’ visibility in local search engine results. The results that appear in local search results typically answer a “near me” intended question, meaning that a searcher is searching for something “in [CITY]”—or the search engine has understood that there were geographic constraints to the search.
By using local search optimization strategies, businesses can improve their visibility in these local search results for terms related to their business and their products or services.
Why Is Local SEO Important for Small Businesses?
Nearly half of all Google queries today are local searches. Even when someone performs a typical daily search, the chances that Google shows local businesses nearby remains high.
Why is that important for small businesses? Well, from 2017 to 2019, Google reported a 900% increase in searches that involved the phrase “near me today/tonight.” In an attempt to best meet the needs of its searchers, Google started providing more results for geographically-related searches based on:
That means, if your business is close to where someone is conducting their search, offers services or products they may be searching for, and has optimized local business listings, then you’re more likely to be found by potential customers online.
What Are the Benefits of Local SEO?
In addition to getting better visibility in Google search engine results pages (SERPS), investing in local SEO has other advantages for small businesses.
A Cost-Effective Marketing Solution
While it requires time and effort to manage your business information in online directories, you can typically set up local business listings across the web for free with tools like Google My Business and Facebook, which makes local SEO a more cost-efficient option for online advertising.
Helps Local Customers Find You
72% of consumers who search for a local business visit a store within five miles. So if you’re being found in local search results or in Google Maps, there’s an increased chance of capturing new leads for your small business.
Reaches Customers Who Are Ready to Buy
A whopping 80% of local searches that are performed on mobile devices convert into sales. This can be attributed to the fact that local SEO puts you in front of the customer at the exact moment they’re searching for a product or service, making them much more likely to purchase or at least inquire for more information.
Delivers More Qualified Search Traffic
Local search can help weed out searchers who aren’t likely to contact your business. This isn’t because search engines are making a concerted effort to shield businesses from customers, but because they want to provide relevant local results based on proximity and intent. So someone who’s 50 miles away probably won’t see your HVAC company pop up in search, but one who’s just five miles away would.
How Can Small Businesses Use Local SEO?
The actions your small business can take to boost visibility in local SERPs are simpler than you might think. Here are some of the easiest ways to improve your local SEO efforts.
Create Accurate, Consistent Local Citations
Local citations are instances where your business name, address, and phone number are mentioned online—for example, a local business listing. No matter where you add local citations on the web, make sure that your information is correct and used in a consistent format every time. This helps search engines trust your data.
List Your Business in Online Local Directories
Setting up local business listings in major search engines and online business directories like Google My Business, Yelp, Yext, Bing Places, and Facebook makes it easier for search engines to verify that your business is legitimate and that your data is correct. (Again, be sure your data is accurate and consistent!)
Set Up & Maintain a Google My Business Profile
By creating a Google My Business profile for your small business, you can feed your business information directly into Google Search and Google Maps. Not to mention, being on Google My Business allows you to monitor business reviews in Google, make quick updates to your hours, and even keep up with customers through features like Google Posts.
Respond Regularly to Reviews (Both Good & Bad)
Taking the time to respond to reviews online shows customers that you care and can be a positive signal for local search rank. While getting more business reviews may require some effort, once you start receiving them, you should be ready to respond—regardless of whether the reviews are positive or negative.
Add Hyperlocal Content to Your Website
Including local keywords in your website copy can have a big impact. Specifically, having business identifiers like “dentist in [CITY, ST]” built into your website content can help search engines better understand not just what you do, but also what local areas you serve. This means you’re more likely to show up if someone in your area searches for “dentist near me.”
Need help getting started with local SEO? Hurrdat can help you claim, manage, and optimize your local search presence. Learn more about local search optimization and sign up for our Local Search Fuel solution today!