What is ‘local seo’ and why should I care?
Local SEO plays an essential role in any small business marketing strategy.
For small business owners, the importance of appearing in the local search results has grown significantly over the past several years as a result of increased mobile phone usage, wearable technology and better connectivity outside of the home.
In a nutshell, local search results are focused on providing searchers with relevant results based on their physical location.
Say you’re in Sydney for the weekend, and you’re in the mood for some tasty, lip-smacking mexican food. When you search for ‘mexican restaurant Sydney’ Google will return a list of the mexican restaurants that are located closest to you that moment in time, based on your current location.
The local search results are displayed in what we call a ‘local pack’ these are the 3 restaurants displayed underneath the map, complete with photos, summary, address and ratings.
Why does local seo matter to my small business website?
There are a number of really compelling reasons why you should care about local SEO and appearing in the local search results. Here are three that you need to be aware of:
1. It makes it easier for new customers to find you.
If someone’s in town for the weekend and isn’t familiar with your business, or they are looking for a local service they’ve never used before then it’s likely that they will use very generic terms. Think:
Google often shows the ‘local pack’ at the top of the search results for these type of searches, and so it’s important that your business appears there.
2. It helps existing customers to find your details
It’s not just new customers who use the local search results.
If you have a customer who’s forgotten your address or wants to locate your phone number, then making sure your website appears at the top of the results makes it super easy for them to get hold of the information they want very quickly – leaving less chance for them to stumble upon a competitor website.
3. It helps you to remain competitive
Competition in local search is becoming increasing fierce as every year, millions of new businesses and business websites are created.
In order to achieve relevant visibility business owners are being forced to find small, and more target niches that they can focus on gaining presence in. One of the most efficient ways to do this is to focus on optimising your business for the local audience i.e. the people nearby who are likely to come to your bricks and mortar business to purchase a service or product.
Local SEO will only continue to grow in importance as it becomes more and more competitive to gain visibility online.
How does local seo differ from normal seo?
When someone searches for keywords that include a physical location, most search results they see will have two different types of search results – ‘normal / organic search results’ and ‘the local pack results’.
Check out how the two different results appear in the search results:
Local SEO has the geographical component to it that ‘organic SEO’ doesn’t necessarily have. It’s about building relevancy signals around a ‘bricks and mortar location’.
Think of it this way – in traditional organic SEO, search engines are looking for relevant and trusted content. For local SEO, search engines are seeking out relevant and trusted locations.
How can I get started on improving my local SEO?
So by now, you should have a clear understanding of why local seo plays a key role in any small business marketing strategy. To help you get started we’ve outlined some simple steps you can get started on to help improve your local seo visibility.
1. Priority one is to claim your Google Business listing
Ensure you have a Google Business listing and make sure your entire profile is complete. This includes updating address, contact details, opening hours and business description. Be sure to check that your business is also marked as the right category. For example if you are a mexican restaurant’s make sure you appear under ‘mexican restaurants’ not just ‘restaurants’.
Google will use the information from this profile within the search results and on Google maps
2. Encourage online reviews from customers.
Customer reviews are one of the most important things you need to nail, if you want to crack local seo. For a start your ‘star rating’ and ‘customer reviews’ can appear next to your business name in the search results and map listings, and research shows that strong review score can encourage people to click on your business.
For top tips on how to ask for customer reviews online check out this blog post here. We also include some handy templates that you can use in emails as well.
3. Make sure your NAP (Name, Address and Phone) details are consistent across all listings.>
NAP citations are a big local ranking factor for Google, and so it’s important that they are consistent and identical everywhere online. Search for all the places your business is listed and make sure all details are present and correct.
4. If you have more than one physical location create a separate listing for each
To improve your chances of increasing visibility, create a separate business listing on Google for each of your locations. Ideally each location will have it’s own unique page on your website that is optimised for location related search terms. E.g. Mexican restaurant Sydney CBD and Mexican restaurant Melbourne CBD.
5. Automate improving your local SEO with a tool
There are lots of different ranking factors that impact on if your business appears in the local search results. The quickest and easiest way to work out what’s missing or what could be improved on your website is to run your businesses website through a marketing automation tool, like Glasshat.
Automating the analysis and research part of the process means that you can straight down to making the essential changes that need to be made on your website, improving your chances of appearing in the local and organic search results.
Sign up for a free trial and get started on boosting your business in the local search results today.