What is Local SEO and What is its Value to Small Business?
In today’s increasingly competitive business environment where local service and brick-and-mortar businesses fight for market share with online companies, your most effective weapon is local search. In case you aren’t familiar with local search, it’s a search engine optimization strategy that localizes search terms to the area around the searcher.
For example, if a consumer searches for “IT services near me,” search results would show IT Managed Service Providers in their locale. Local search should be part of your SEO strategy to target customers in your neighborhood, city, or region. It improves both your visibility and rankings in search results. Let’s talk about local search and how to leverage it for your small business.
The Importance of Local SEO
Let’s take a look at some compelling statistics that highlight the effectiveness of local SEO.
- Local search queries make up almost half of Google’s annual searches
- More than 95% of consumers look for local businesses online
- 76% of those who search for something local on their mobile phone visit that business within one day
- Google My Business is used by 64% of consumers
- 67% of consumers trust a local business more than brands that are solely on the internet.
There’s a reason Google has a prominent place in local search. Google is the number one search engine in the world, with 70% of search traffic worldwide, including 85% of mobile traffic. There are a couple of ways to convince Google algorithms to put you high on their list.
Local SEO Advantages for Small Business
Local SEO does its best work when it is combined with more traditional SEO strategies, but local SEO has some real advantages all on its own.
- Increase your visibility without the cost. Local SEO outperforms newspaper ads and costs less.
- Lock out your competitors. Get your listing above the rest.
- Refine your targeting. Local SEO works well for small businesses by delivering maximum impact while targeting the users who are more likely to become customers.
- Rise above the national competition. Search engines have what are called local intentions. By promoting yourself as a local entity, you’ll come out on top.
Now that you know the importance and advantages of local SEO for your business, let’s take a look at how to rise in local SEO rankings with Google Maps and Google Local Pack.
Rising in Google Map Pack Rankings
Climbing the rankings into the Google Map Pack (GMP) requires you to claim your Google Business Profile (GBP). Then you need to optimize it by completing all of the relevant sections, and be sure to include photos of your business.
Google primarily considers the following when deciding what results to serve up:
- Proximity – how close is your business to the user?
- Prominence – how popular is your business?
- Relevance – Does your business match the search query?
Listings that are prioritized by the algorithm are those that are maintained with accurate and up-to-date information, so be sure to review and update your listing regularly. Once you claim your profile and optimize it, you’re ready for the local pack.
Local SEO and Google Local Pack
Google has something called Local Pack, which appears at the top of search engine results when it perceives a user makes a search query with local intent. The three most relevant results—determined by Google’s search algorithm—are featured, and are separate from the organic search results.
The top three results include a map that shows the exact locations, address, open hours, and the average star rating from customer reviews. There’s also a click-to-call option for mobile users.
The top Local Pack ranking factors include:
- GBP primary category
- Using keywords in the listing title
- Proximity of your business address to the searcher’s location
- Other GMB categories
- High star ratings
- Completeness of your GBP listing
- The quality and authority of inbound links
- The keywords used in native Google reviews
Don’t overlook the importance of ranking in the Google Map Pack if you are a brick-and-mortar business owner.
Tips for Local SEO
While Google is the top-ranking search engine, broaden your approach with local search listing services such as Bing Places. In addition:
- Treat your business profile like a webpage and use engaging, eye-catching copy.
- Consistently create posts.
- If you have multiple locations, be sure to create different location pages on your website and add them to your profile.
- Research! What are your competitors doing for local SEO? Take a look at their profiles and see which categories they use.
- Post images and geo tag your profile. When it comes to images, name them correctly with hyphens and the location. Think of your target keywords for a particular web page. If the image content is related to those keywords, you need to use them when creating the file name.
Get the Local SEO Edge
Grow your small business the best way, with local customers. Visit our Local Edge Program for more help improving your local search presence.