Why Does Your Business Need Local SEO?
As a local business, you don’t have to break the internet to get ahead. What you need is local visibility, which may be more complicated than you think.
The internet is vast and offers boundless opportunities to connect with others or become a viral phenomenon overnight. If you’re a local business, however, breaking the internet is probably not your number one goal. What your business needs is the attention of your local community.
How do you stand out amongst the competition? Basically, you have to ensure that they find your local business first. To do that, you need to optimize for local search and work your way to the top of the search engine results pages (SERPS).
What is local SEO?
Local SEO is all about optimizing your website to be found by a local audience. Your website gives you the opportunity to cast a wide net by becoming accessible to the entire online world, but as a local business, your target audience isn’t the whole world. It is the people in close proximity to you, and optimizing for local SEO makes it possible for them to find your business in real life.
Why optimize for local search?
Basically, local SEO is crucial if you want your small business to remain relevant. Here are some stats:
- 30 percent of Google searches are for local information
- Half of online searchers who performed a local search on their phone went to a physical store within one day, 34 percent who did their search on a computer or tablet did the same
- 78 percent of local-based searches on a mobile device end in purchases being made offline
Now that you understand the importance of optimizing for local search, you should understand what it means to be successful. Here are answers to some of the most frequently asked local SEO questions:
What are local SERPS?
What local businesses need most is visibility on what is known as the ‘local pack’ or ‘local 3-pack’. This is the section dedicated to three business listings that appear below the map that is displayed after a local Google search is performed.
Within each listing, valuable information such as address, phone number, hours of operation, reviews, and even photos are provided. All of this information is pulled from those businesses’ Google My Business profile, a critical part of local SEO.
What is Google My Business?
Google My Business (GMB) is quite literally your business’ profile on Google. It is a free listing from Google that businesses can use to manage their company’s information across platforms.
Keeping your business’ name, address, and phone number (NAP) up-to-date is crucial. Your NAP gives customers a way to find you and also provides Google with the correct information to display for those who are searching for local businesses like yours.
Keeping your GMB profile current and accurate will give your business a much higher chance of landing a spot in the local pack, which can nearly double your click-through rate. GMB is only one example of a powerful citation.
What is a citation?
A citation is any place that your business’ name, address, phone number, and website URL appear online, generally in local business directories and social platforms. As you can imagine, citations are very important because if you don’t appear in the places that people are searching for you, then they’ll never know you exist. Not having citations, or having incorrect citations, can also negatively impact your search engine rankings.
How can outside agencies help businesses with local SEO?
They can help you win over Google
Now that you’re a pseudo-expert in what it takes to be a local SEO champ, you may also be coming to the conclusion that the reason you’re not getting a lot of traffic from Google is that you’re not ranking very high on the SERPS. Scoring a spot in the top three is challenging and takes a lot of work. It also takes a lot of skill that most non-SEO experts just don’t have.
Local SEO experts can help you add features, on both the front and back end, that Google will love. They can also help unearth and leverage keywords, phrases, and industry topics, which are all key ingredients for improving your SERP ranking.
They can help you with content
Content? What business owner has time to generate regular, original content? Not very many, and exactly why a lot of businesses work with SEO experts to help them.
The reality is, Google uses algorithms and bots to scan webpages to search for content that meets the needs of its users. Google has a reputation to protect, and that means they have to fill their SERPS with fresh, high-quality results. Your website copy from 10 years ago probably won’t make the cut.
Without relevant and well-written content, Google won’t view you as current and, therefore, won’t send leads your way.
They can help you optimize for voice searches
In order to ensure that potential customers with local search intent find you, you need an expert that understands how people search, and how to tell Google that your website is the best option.
They can help you keep up with changing SEO rules
Google updates their SEO rules and algorithms all the time, and they do it without much notice. Instead of spending the bulk of your time trying to learn each and every SEO rule, you can hire someone who consistently studies Google’s algorithm. It is important to play by the rules with Google because even the smallest misstep could be viewed as a punishable black hat tactic.
If you’re not getting the local search traffic that you want, or if you just don’t have the capacity to manage your local SEO strategy, then it may be time to hire an expert to help you.
9Sail can help you design a local SEO plan that will drive results. Contact us for a free site audit.