What Is Local SEO? A Guide for Beginners
Over half of the world’s population is on the internet. And the United States ranks as one of the top 3 countries for internet use. 86% of consumers rely on the internet to find the local businesses that they frequent. Plus, a whopping 97% of search engine users have searched online to find a local business.
If you’re looking to drive sales at your place of business, advertising online is the way to go. But it isn’t just about the advertising that makes a difference. It’s the way you go about it. Local SEO, if done correctly, can do wonders for your product or service.
Local SEO can help your business rank in local searches and reach your target audience. And it’s fantastically useful.
Do you want to market your local business in the best possible way? Keep reading to find out everything you need to know about the basics of local SEO.
What Is Local SEO?
Before we delve into who needs it and how it will benefit your business, let’s go over precisely what it is. Local SEO stands for local search engine optimization.
Local SEO is a set of techniques. Those techniques include things like online reputation management, local link building, citation building, and much more. The purpose is to focus on optimizing a local business or service so that it shows up in local search results (like Google).
Speaking of online reputation management, did you know that 93% of consumers say online reviews impact whether to buy from you?
The first main goal is to make sure that all of your business’ info remains consistent everywhere. Everywhere on your website and anywhere else that your business info is featured, your business’ information MUST be the same.
When your business information is the same across the board, this signals to search engines like google and yahoo that your business is both trustworthy and relevant. Multiple studies have shown that most people will look online and verify a business’ location first before making the trip to go there.
Ensuring this requires ongoing effort. You want to make sure that you are continually sending your correct business information to all the prominent local directories.
Who Needs Local SEO?
Almost every business needs SEO. And any business with a physical storefront will benefit from SEO because it allows customers to be able to find you and then buy from you.
No matter how fabulous your product or service is, if people can’t find you online, they won’t attempt to find you in person.
The more time and dedication you give to your local SEO, the more likely you are to rank at the top of the list. For example, if you sell auto parts and a consumer searches for “auto parts near me,” they’ll most likely go with one of the top results. Local SEO will help you get there.
Doctors and medical practices, lawyers, and restaurants are all businesses that can benefit majorly from local SEO marketing. Anyone who wants to increase their business’ visibility can benefit from local SEO.
Who Doesn’t Need Local SEO?
Not everyone benefits from local SEO, even though they may still benefit from SEO. For instance, an author who wants to keep their location private wouldn’t benefit from local SEO. A business that relies solely on e-commerce wouldn’t benefit from local SEO either.
These people and businesses don’t necessarily need or want people to know where they are.
What About the Keyword Research?
1 in 6 Americans now owns a smart speaker. A smart speaker is an internet-enabled speaker device that a user can control using spoken commands.
Siri has been around for years, and voice search has become one of the primary avenues for executing a local search. Typically, when someone searches locally, they’re already on their way. Or maybe they’re with a group of friends, and they want to find the best pizza spot without diverting their attention from those same friends.
If you’re driving or walking, it’s safer and more convenient to use your voice to search quickly rather than your fingers to search more slowly.
These changes in the way we search are exactly the reason why conversational voice searches are dominating local queries.
For local SEO, you want your keywords to have a local tone and focus. You may also want to try keywords that involve questions. Take a moment to think about what you would say to find the best steak or the largest bookstore.
Once you’re in the right mindset, establishing keywords that will work isn’t hard. That being said, there are many tools that can help you do just that and many services who will work hard to establish those keywords for you.
What About Your Content?
When it pertains to content that drives your local SEO, more is not necessarily better. It’s about quality, not quantity in this case.
Long-winded Wikipedia-style content will not do wonders for your business. You want it to be short and sweet while still providing all of the necessary information.
Most people spend mere seconds on a single website or social media account. As a best marketing practice, you want potential customers to be able to find the information they’re looking for and fast.
As it pertains to local SEO, it’s great to post fresh content including blogs, photos, even your latest sales to Google My Business as just one example. With the thousands of potential consumers searching for local businesses, having fresh content allows you to stand out and get noticed.
Do you want to know where you stand as you are right now? Request a FREE local SEO audit, and we’ll let you know where the health of your local SEO ranks in minutes.
Local SEO Links Can Be Tricky
Local SEO links can significantly build your business. They should always link back to your business and provide the opportunity to speak to your local audience.
When it comes to local SEO marketing, you won’t necessarily benefit from getting a link on a major website, like the Huffington Post. If you’re a new restaurant trying to break into the local crowd, you will benefit much more from landing a local link on a foodie website for your area or your local news site.
As long as local links are relevant and aren’t tacky (the right SEO words must be used), they can play a significant role in building your business.
If you’re a local coffee shop, you might want to build some local links through places like these:
- Local newspapers and other media outlets
- Local bloggers who have gained the trust of their community
- Local businesses that have websites and are open to partnering with other local businesses
- Local charities that you could sponsor or host an event for
- Chamber of Commerce organizations are good sources for links
Make your local space your whole world and start connecting with all the businesses around you, especially those where you are a consumer yourself.
If you’re creative, you can find ways to link yourself to almost any local business or service. People are all about their community, especially local businesses. Once you start building relationships and sharing products and services, local businesses can help each other through local link building.
Take Advantage of Citations, Ongoing
Start by making sure that your NAP (Name, address and phone) information is correct and consistent all across the web. If a website has it wrong, harass them until they fix it.
Citations allow you to put a link down on a website that may garnish a good amount of traffic. You want to get your name out on as many places as possible.
Citation building is typically an industry expert endeavor. Most business owners will not have the time or patience for this very necessary practice that helps bring you to the top of the local results.
Start Thinking and Researching
Remember those keywords we said to start thinking about earlier? Start plugging them into google and see what comes up on the first page of the SERPs. SERPs stands for Search Engine Results Pages.
Once you plug in the keywords you would use to find your business, you’ll be able to see what businesses around you are ranking first.
Check to see what links they’ve acquired in the past and what the mutual links among them are.
Compare all the information you’ve collected with what you’re working on so that you can take note of where you’re lacking.
Remove all duplicate links and then go after some that you don’t have, but that your competition does. If you’re able to acquire all the links that they have and some that they don’t, you’ll level the playing field and start finding yourself at the top of the ranks.
Local SEO Statistics Worth Considering
While there are hundreds of local SEO statistics to learn about, we’ve picked some a handful of what we believe to be most important to you, particularly if you own a small business, even a brick-n-mortar.
- 72% of consumers that did a local search visited a store within five miles.
- 97% of people learn more about a local company online than anywhere else.
- 88% of searches for local businesses on a mobile device either call or visit the business within 24 hours
- 46% of all searches on Google are seeking local information whereas 97% of search engine users searched online to find a local business
- More than 50% of “near me” searches result in a store visit
The bottom line here is that if you aren’t optimizing your Local SEO health, on a consistent basis, including adding new citations, proactively managing your reviews and posting fresh content (but just to name a few), chances are you are risking losing a lot of potential business to your competitors.
We offer an absolutely free online Local SEO Health audit.
All you have to do is enter your business name and within minutes, you’ll get a full health audit of your business online. It’s pretty remarkable (patting ourselves on the back).
Local SEO Marketing Is an Ongoing Process
The internet is continuously changing, and so are the businesses that advertise on it. Using local SEO to market your business is an ongoing process that takes time and effort to stay ahead in the ranks.
But it can also be fun and rewarding when you continue to stay at the top, and you see a difference in the business that it brings.
As a business owner, you may not have the time to focus on or implement your local SEO. That’s where we come in! We’re experienced local SEO professionals who can help you grow your business by getting you found locally, driving in relevant traffic and even consumers into your storefront doors.