Let's say you crave ice cream. What would you do? Open up your browser and look for the best ice cream place. Isn't that right?
Today, the internet answers most of the questions that strike our minds. All we have to do is search. There is abundant information out there for everything known to humankind. The process of searching is called internet browsing. What occurs after browsing is all search engine optimization or SEO.
So what is SEO? In simple words, it is a method to determine who's answer tops the list when you type a question. The organic, unpaid search results. 90% of the internet experience is from search engines. Every business wants to be on the top. SEO is the framework that powers this competition.
SEO helps companies to appear on the top in search engine results.
The firm with the best SEO strategy will appear high on Google results, regardless of the location from where the user is searching. So that's best for multinational companies which operate worldwide. But what about local businesses.
Imagine a situation where a user searches for an ice cream parlor in the UK and gets a result about the best ones in the USA. That's of no use to the user and the ice cream parlor who might have made investments to rank on search engines.
So how do local businesses rank and appear only for the local search queries? And the answer is with the help of local SEO.
What Is Local SEO?
SEO is a broader concept, and a local SEO is a part of it. SEO delivers a holistic set of search results. On the other hand, local SEO helps connect to a specific field of customers.
Just as the name suggests, local SEO helps you with local searches. Suppose you are a baker. You own a small bakery. You will be attracting neighbors with word of mouth. But what about the entire locality?
There are always going to be people who look for cakes. There will be many in your locality as well. And when they search for the same, you'll want to be visible. In essence, a local SEO helps you reach out to your local audience.
A local SEO will help you with many elements. Managing your Google business profile helps you fill in your primary data. An optimized website enhances your reach.
Local SEO also helps you monitor a competitive search landscape. Spam fighting and local link building are a few more tasks that a local SEO performs.
One of the examples is a Local Pack. A Local Pack appears on the search engine results page (SERP). A bunch of 3 results is visible to the customer. It is usually organic. There are also maps available in a local pack.
Who Needs Local Seo?
There is a specific set of businesses that need a local SEO. These businesses have a particular audience. Most of their revenue is from primitive customers. These can be services or everyday errands. Here is the list of a few businesses that require a local SEO.
- Small scale manufacturers
- Legal service providers
- Local contractors
- Real estate companies
- Local non-profit organizations
- Medical service providers
- Grocery shops
- Salons and parlors
- Government agencies
- Local consultants
- Local marketing agencies
- Auto dealers
- Colleges and universities
- Local bakeries
- Stationery shops
- Gift shops
- Local dairy
- Laundries, etc.
Why Is Local SEO Important?
Local SEO boosts your appearance in the local searches. The importance of being online is immense. Not equipping your business with local SEO can have drastic effects.
There are more than 1.72 billion websites on the internet. It's pretty evident for a trend to be established. The momentum of traffic defines the story.
Studies suggest 46% of all Google searches are made for local services. Forbes gives more figures. 95% of consumers use their mobile phone devices to perform local searches.
61% of the same end up calling the local business. And 59% of these customers visit the offline store. 88% of customers who use mobile phone devices for local searches visit the offline store in 24hrs!
Competition is inevitable. No matter what industry you work in, competition prevails. When you have peers showing similar things, your ranking is affected. This is why managing SEO is a frequent task.
Search engines are good at throwing surprises. Often the algorithms keep changing. Even a minute change in the pre-set algorithms can jeopardize your SEO strategy. If you're not attentive enough, your competitors may rank higher. On such occasions, your strategy must match the requirements of the changing algorithms.
These statistics and patterns are derived after witnessing customer behavior. There are many more reasons why one needs a local SEO.
Now let us understand how a local SEO can be harnessed to enhance your business. Here are some tips for implementing local SEO.
Tip #1 to Implement Local SEO: Manage Bounce Rate
There are 200+ ranking methods on google. Bounce rate is one of them. Bounce rate is essentially the percentage of site visitors who leave your page without any activity. A visitor is bounced if they don't click anywhere on your website.
Search engines use bounce rates as a parameter to determine your rank. If you have a high bounce rate, your ranking will be affected. However, you can learn from bounce rates. It allows you to know what pages on your website need more work. Enhancing your bounce rate will ensure your ranking is taken care of. It will also help you manage your content.
Tip #2 to Implement Local SEO: Create and Enhance Your Google My Business Account
Your Google My Business Account is of utmost importance while working on your SEO. This account gives a handy insight to the viewers. It is a small box that appears on the right of the SERP. It can also occur in many different ways.
A Google My Business Account includes your contact details and locations.
A local business owner must add all the necessary keywords to this page. They must also choose the best category available for the listings. The listings play a significant role.
Another important aspect is to verify all the details with the ones existing on your website. The most amusing part of the Google My Business Account is your constant update. One can regularly upload posts and updates on regular events. A persistent engagement leads to an attractive interaction.
Tip #3 to Implement Local SEO: Emphasize on Reviews
Reviews play a significant role in the perception of your brand. Furthermore, it also helps with your SEO rankings. When a search engine is trying to figure out the link worth ranking, it considers reviews as one of the factors.
When you record sales, encourage feedback .
Feedback helps you get better with your products and with SEO. You can attract reviews by consistently following up. Post-purchase emails, SMS, on-site requests, etc., help exceptionally with reviews.
Receiving reviews does not end the task. Your business must be open to feedback and constructive criticism. Respond in a polite and professional tone. Ensure your replies are consistent. The more you engage, the higher you rank.
Tip #4 to Implement Local SEO: Optimize Your Website for Mobile
It's safe to say that smartphones do almost everything that a computer can. Mobile phones have surpassed desktops for the intensity of usage. The reason for this is simple - easy accessibility.
In 2017, experts anticipated this transition from desktops to mobiles. However, research showed the shift turned out much faster than expected.
Website visits from smartphones were 57% in 2016. The same jumped to 63% in 2017. Simultaneously, the website visits from desktops dropped from 43% in 2016 to 37% in 2017.
The advent of convenience greatly influenced the online ecosystem. It is observed that traffic from local searches is significant. It is economical and prosperous. 75% of mobile website visits for local services produce offline results. These results include store walk-ins and queries within 24 hours.
Therefore, local businesses need to ensure mobile-friendly websites. These are a few common approaches to optimizing your website.
- Reduce load time
- Upload clear and informative pictures
- Adopt large, impactful, and readable fonts
- Employ engaging UI for enhancing UX
Tip #5 to Implement Local SEO: Decode the Keyword Game
The most fundamental rule of a local SEO is keywords. Searches are done in small phrases. These phases have keywords.
For instance, when your local friend craves a cupcake, he will do his search. This search will be using some predictable words. Like "Best cupcakes near me" or "Bakeries near me."
The game is to use every possible keyword on your online page. It's simple math. If your page has the exact words on the search bar, you'll top the results.
Research the most common keywords. Use them and update them. Tap the factors like location, time, products, etc. Use keywords analysis tools to avail deeper analytics.
Tip #6 to Implement Local SEO: Produces Relatable Content
Content is always the king. When it's about engaging, content plays a significant role. Your business needs to talk about more than just your products. Staying up to date with amusing and entertaining content is the key to being in the loop with your audience.
You can create content in many formats: informative blog posts, quick snippet videos, static images, a video with a strong message, etc. To engage with local audiences, you can pick stories and news from local events.
The catch is to market yourself subtly. Your content needs to be bait to your homepage in disguise using backlinking. For example, a bakery can put up videos on baking behind the scenes. Quick facts on cakes can be engaging, or blogs on how dairy affects your health. Content enhances your ranking and the odds of visibility.
Tip #7 to Implement Local SEO: Register Yourself With Local Online Directories
Local directories are crucial for your online presence. Many customers look up a directory for their requirements. Directories help with your SEO rankings and help you interact more. They are also an excellent source of feedback.
Many directories like Yellowpages offer registrations for local listings. Your brand's visibility is enhanced with a directory if you have good traffic. Your business is recognized with the help of the customer's subconscious perception. Engage with a well-reputed directory, and the returns will be explicitly visible.
Tip #8 to Implement Local SEO: Add Social Media
Social media is nothing less than a revolution. It is one of the largest spaces to promote your business and engage with customers. Today, every social platform is integrated with rankings. Algorithms work based on customer behavior. Be it Instagram, Facebook, or Snapchat. Business is everywhere.
The most remarkable aspect is that your brand can engage with every demographic group of audiences here. Even if you merely exist on the platforms, customers might reach out.
Social media is like an extra medium of communication for your business. SERP also includes social media handles if they are looked up, which they are. So if you don't have a presence on any of these platforms, it's time to work on it.
SEO is detailed, no doubt. However, it's not complicated. As and when technology keeps growing, the race gets intense. In such a fluid yet cutthroat market ecosystem, these are basic necessities that one needs to engage with. For local businesses, the market is defined. Therefore, it gets more effortless to some extent. Marketing requires a holistic set of efforts. There must be a balance of creativity and technicality, and a blend of both can take you places.