For small businesses, whether a brick & mortar store or service area business, Local SEO is the best way to attract new customers to your business.
The prevalence of mobile devices and our ever-increasing reliance on them to do pretty much everything for us means that Local SEO is going to become more, and more important for small business owners.
46% of all searches on Google are local and of those, 76% result in a phone call
I might be getting ahead of myself a bit. Before you swallow the “Local SEO Pill,” let’s first explore Local SEO so that we understand the following:
- What is “Local SEO?”
- Why Local SEO is Important for Small Businesses
- How Local SEO Works
- How To Do Local SEO
This article will provide you with everything you’ll need to get started with Local SEO for your business so you can get to the top of Google for relevant searches.
Another post you might find helpful is “Local SEO For Small Businesses: A Complete How-To Guide For 2019.”
What Is Local SEO?
Local SEO is the process of optimizing your website and online presence so that your business shows up for relevant local searches where the intent of the searcher is to find local information.
There are 3 places your business can show up on Google:
- “Local 3 Pack/Local Map Pack”
- Google Maps
- Organic Search Results
It helps small businesses to reach their target audience easily. If you want your website to show up on Google for search queries with local intent, you absolutely need a Local SEO Marketing Strategy.
78% of local-mobile searches result in offline purchases
Let’s say you want a plumber to fix your blocked sink.
What would you search?
- “Plumber (Near Me)”
- “Organic Pizza (City/Town)”
- “Knitting Supplies (Zip Code)”
In the examples above, the primary keyword is plain text, while the bold text are “Geo Modifiers.”
When users include keyword modifiers in their query, Google understands that the searcher is interested in the business suggestions in a particular location.
And that is what it will deliver in the local search engine results pages (SERPS).
Local SEO vs Organic SEO
Local SEO differs from Organic SEO primarily in that Local SEO involves a geographical element which organic SEO does not.
While local SEO involves creating relevant signals for two types of businesses:
- Physical Local (Brick & Mortar Businesses)
- Service Area (Plumbers/Painters/Roofers)
Organic SEO generally concentrates around websites. These website businesses can be wholly internet-based firms that may or may not have a physical location. Internet marketers, bloggers, internet only businesses and marketing affiliates use organic SEO to improve and raise their business rankings and to help increase traffic.
How Can Local SEO Help Grow My Business?
Local SEO is so important because local searches typically have high commercial intent. Someone searching on their phone for “Coffee Shop Near Me,” is in all likelihood intending on buying a coffee.
Implementing a Local SEO strategy will lead to your business showing up when anyone searches for your products or services.
As a result of being ranked higher, your site will get more traffic and therefore get more potential customers to your business.
Properly executing Local SEO will bring in more customers, improve conversion rates, help raise brand awareness, and increase profits.
Why Is Local SEO Important?
Local SEO is vital to businesses that operate a traditional street-side (brick & mortar) store or those focused on serving a particular area.
Research conducted by Forbes revealed that more than 90% of smartphone owners had performed local searches for various services.
Moreover, 61% of the smartphone users talked over the phone with the businesses, and 57% visited the physical location.
Search Engine Watch revealed that approximately 65 % of smartphone users are likely to contact a local business using the NAP (name, address, phone number) found on the location-based search results on google.
These numbers clearly indicate the incredible power of Local SEO to get potential customers for your business within your local community.
Local SEO Ranking Factors
While there are at least 8 Local SEO Ranking Factors, below I’ve only listed 3. If you’re implementing your own Local SEO Marketing Strategy, trying to optimize for every factor will have your head spinning.
Proximity To Your Physical Location
Local SEO is location-based, therefore the physical address of your business is essential for your business to show up in local searches.
Publishing your physical address enables Google to deliver search results to users based on their proximity to the business. The closer the better.
Update your business address in the Google My Business App and other online directories so that your business will show up whenever a customer runs a “near me” or “locality” search.
Name/Address/Phone Number (NAP)
You need to ensure that your business’s name, address and phone number are consistent across all the online directories that you have registered your company.
When there are irregularities in your NAP, Google doesn’t know which information is accurate and therefore, won’t include your business in the search results.
The other way to improve your local business SEO is through citations.
A citation is a third party listing or mention of your business. Google uses these listings to verify the accuracy of your business’ information.
They can include your business name, location, phone number, and website. This is commonly referred to as “N.A.P.+W.”
Should Every Business Practice Local SEO?
Not all businesses need to practice Local SEO. If your business serves customers in your area, then Local SEO is a must.
Google dominates search, and the majority of people will look up a business before visiting the physical location.
Therefore, if you want your customers to be able to find you when they search Google, then you need to implement a Local SEO strategy.
Local SEO Best Practices For 2019
As a Local Business, investing in a Local SEO Marketing strategy is one of the most profitable things you can do.
It allows you to show up in both the Google Map Pack, as well as in the Organic results for your target keyword phrases.
The following are Local SEO Best Practices for 2019.
1) Claim & Optimize Your Google My Business Listing
This is arguably the most important part of Local SEO. It’s completely Free, and it will only take a few minutes to claim and optimize your listing.
Step 1: Go to > https://google.com/business > Click on ‘START NOW’
Step 2: Follow the prompts and enter your business Name, Address, and Phone Number provide as much information as possible.
Step 3: Finish all the steps, and then Google will send you a postcard within a few days in order to verify and complete your listing. Once verified, complete your listing by adding Hours, Additional Business Categories (only if they make sense), and Photos.
2) Local SEO: On-Page Optimization
Having an SEO Friendly Website is important for Local SEO.
You need to include some important information on your site that is consistent with the information in your Google My Business listing.
- Make sure your website is Mobile Friendly! Google provides a free tool that tests your site’s mobile friendliness. https://search.google.com/test/mobile-friendly/
- Include your business Name, Address, and Phone Number in your site’s footer. You can also add your Business Hours.
- Embed a Google Map in your site’s footer
- Add Schema Markup to your website
3) Local Citations: N.A.P.
Citations are any mentions of your brand online.
These usually come in the form of directory listings such as Yelp, Yellow Pages, Social Media Profiles, Etc. A citation consists of your business’s N.A.P. (Name, Address, Phone Number).
Consistency is extremely important when it comes to your N.A.P. information.
Make sure you have the same information in your GMB (Google My Business) listing as on your Website, and any directories or business listings your business is on.
4) Link Building For Local SEO
Although backlinks are more commonly associated with Organic SEO, they still play an important role in Local SEO.
This means you should be publishing valuable content for your audience, and promoting it across your social media channels.
Acquiring backlinks from sites like The Better Business Bureau will signal to Google that your site is trustworthy.
Although not as popular as it used to be, Guest Posting on other blogs relevant to your industry is a tried and true approach to building links.
Local link building differs from general link building in that you need to get your links placed in locally relevant resource listings and blogs.
5) Get Local Reviews
I think it goes without saying…. Positive Reviews of your business, products, and services are extremely important!
Let’s say, it’s a beautiful Friday evening.
For you and your significant other, it’s date night!
When you arrive at your usual date night restaurant, you’re dismayed to discover… They’re closed for renovations!
I know, it’s bullshit. They didn’t even consult you before disrupting your date night routine!
So, what would you do?
I bet you would pull out your phone and search Google for: “Restaurants Near Me.”
At the top of the SERP (Search Engine Results Page) is the coveted “Local Map Pack,” a.k.a. “Local 3-Pack,” a.k.a. “Snack Pack.”
After clicking the blue “More Places” button, centered at the bottom of the local map pack you’re presented with a seemingly endless list of options to choose from.
How do you decide? With minimal information about each restaurant being displayed, the most prominent indicator of quality is the Reviews.
According to a recent local consumer reviews survey, around 91% of people trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations.
Therefore you need to be proactive about getting reviews for your business.
To learn more about the impact Reviews have on Local SEO I recommend checking out another post I wrote on the Benefits Of Local SEO.
6) Behavioral Signals
This is basically referring to how much users engage with your business’s listing in the “Local 3-Pack” or in the Organic Search Results.
User engagement is measured by looking at things like Click-Through Rate (CTR), Mobile “Clicks to Call,” Dwell Time, Check-Ins, etc.
Optimizing your Page Titles, and meta descriptions to entice users to click through to your site can have a significant impact on your rankings.
If users are clicking through to your website and then immediately returning to the search results, it looks really bad!
Sometimes referred to as “ Pogo-Sticking,” this is a clear indicator to Google that the page isn’t offering anything of value to searchers.
For small, local businesses, implementing a Local SEO Marketing strategy is the most valuable investment of time or money you can make.
Improving your position in the search results with limited resources will be difficult and certainly won’t happen overnight.
By investing some time into improving your Local SEO, you’ll begin to attract better, more qualified leads to your business.
If you don’t know where to start, or just want some help with ranking your website for local search Cre8tive Digital Media LLC can help.
As an SEO & Digital Marketing Agency in Arizona, we understand what it takes to help small businesses outrank their competitors on Google!
Contact Us to Schedule a Free Consultation and see how we can help you grow your business through Local SEO.
Already ranking on Google for Local Search? What Local SEO techniques or strategies has your business benefited from most? Comment Down Below!