One of the most common questions we get asked by our website and SEO clients is “What is local search optimization?” The simple answer, of course, is that local search optimization helps your business get found by more local consumers in search engine results. But it’s so much more than that.
Here’s what you need to know.
What is local search optimization?
Part of search engine optimization (SEO), local search optimization is a strategy that focuses on improving visibility in search engines for locally-driven results. These are the results that appear after a searcher enters a query with a “near me” intent. This can be explicit with the searcher actively typing “near me” or “in [city]” into the results, or it can be something search engines understand to have geographic constraints. In short, it’s what makes your business show up for searchers who are looking for local products or services in your area.
Why is local search optimization important?
97% of local consumers look for businesses near them online. Let me say that again. 97%.
Most searchers don’t go past the first page of results. This is especially true of local searchers because they’re usually in “find and purchase” or “find and contact” mode. They don’t want to spend all day looking for the best business, products, or services for their needs. They want it now. So if you’re not on that first page of local results, you could be missing out on customers who are ready to take action.
What are the benefits of local search optimization?
Plain and simple, local search optimization is affordable online marketing, and it makes competing against larger businesses easier. For too long, small to mid-sized businesses have tried to outperform the bigger, well-known companies online and failed. The bigger companies have much deeper pockets, which means smaller businesses will blow their entire marketing budgets just trying to keep up. And who wants that kind of return?
But local search optimization allows these smaller, local businesses to appear more often in search engine results for narrower searches. This means less investment and a much bigger return.
How can businesses optimize for local search results?
For a business to appear in local search results, hyperlocal keywords and phrases must be used in website content and local business listings—hyperlocal meaning geographic-specific terms like cross streets, landmarks, suburbs or regions of a city, proximity to other businesses or organizations, etc.
By including these keywords and phrases in text on your website—like in your homepage, your company about page, your contact page, sidebars and footers, image descriptions, meta descriptions—your website is more likely to show up in local search results whenever someone in your area looks for products or services you offer.
With online business listings, it’s about accuracy and consistency. Regardless of whether your business listing is on your website, Google My Business, Yelp, MerchantCircle, or another online local directory, your NAP+W data (name, address, phone number, website) should be the same. Accurate and consistent information tells search engines your business is legitimate and should be considered for any relevant searches within your city.
Want to know more about local search optimization and how it can work in tandem with your website? Visit our Website & Local SEO Solution page to learn more!