What you don’t know online can hurt you
How do you know if you need a local SEO strategy? The critical word in this question is “local”. Do you own a business that attracts customers from zero to 15 miles away? Would potential customers looking for your products and services drive up to ten minutes to get to your business? If you can answer yes to these questions, then you probably need to manage your local SEO strategy.
So what is local SEO? And why is it important?
What is local SEO?
Local SEO involves optimizing your online presence to attract business from local searches on Google and other search engines. According to Hubspot’s local SEO statistics, 46% of all Google searchers are looking for local information. And 72% of consumers who searched for a local product or service using local SEO searches near me visited a store within a five-mile radius.
So does local SEO work? It sure did if you were one of those businesses. Are you wondering where to start? To illustrate the benefits of focusing on local SEO, we’ve put together a list of five reasons why it’s essential to the success of your business.
5 reasons why local SEO is essential for the success of your business
Reason #1 – Your business details appear in front of consumers searching for your products and services
Remember the good old days when you would scour the yellow pages to find businesses that offered the products and services you needed? Today, all you have to do is type the product or service you’re looking for into a search engine on your laptop, desktop, or mobile device. The companies that offer those products or services will appear. And, if you type “near me”, it will show you everything close enough to drive from your current location.
Pretty slippery. Those “near me” local SEO searches save you time. Just pick what you like, open the map and directions, and you’re ready to go. If you look closely at those results, you’ll see that they’re populated by online business directories, just like the yellow pages of yore.
When you compare local SEO vs. Organic SEO, both are still important. You want a content marketing strategy that helps your pages rank in search engine results for specific keywords and keyword phrases (the goal of organic SEO strategies). But local SEO is essential for businesses that serve a localized community. It’s somewhat less important for global companies that attract customers from far and wide.
Reason #2 – Consistently accurate online directory citations improve your local and organic package rankings
You must accurately and consistently list your business name, address, and phone number in the top-ranked local business and citation directories. That information is known as your NAP Data (name, address, phone). A search engine bot is more likely to list your business on search engine result pages (SERPs) if it is confident that your information is consistent and accurate.
That seems fair. Think you might get frustrated if Google takes you to a business that isn’t there or gives you a phone number that’s no longer in service? Search engines want to find this basic information about your business in many places on the Internet.
When they find that information in multiple places, and everything is consistent and correct, they trust the data. But if Google or Bing, for example, see confusing and inconsistent data, they consider it less valid, less trustworthy. Therefore, you are more likely to be overlooked by search engines in favor of a company with more consistent NAP data.
Reason #3 – Your business site gets more links from authoritative and trusted sites
Backlinks, or links pointing to your site from trusted and authoritative websites, play an essential role in SEO. They validate the existence of your website, proving that your site is a viable force in the vast universe of the Internet. Also, some directory citation sites add a website URL field to their listings and display these URLs as ‘dofollow’ links. That passes valuable link equity to your site. Search engines use backlinks to determine your domain authority, boosting your SEO (as opposed to ‘nofollow’ links, which are nice but don’t give you any juice).
Want another great way to get a backlink while doing something else worthwhile to build your business? Join your local chamber of commerce or other business group. Doing this will provide a relevant local link to your website, and you’ll be able to network at local events. While at these events, you may get some business or even more backlink opportunities.
Also, if you have vendors or are a product vendor, you may want them to link to your website as well (with a dofollow link of course).
Reason #4 – Your business will be closer to landing on the first page of search engine results
Online business directories take up quite a bit of space on search engine results pages (SERPs). As a result, the local businesses they list in their directories get top billing in local search queries. If you’re not on those lists…
You need to know how to list your business on these local dating business directories because you will lose valuable business. And what you don’t know online can hurt you.
You may have the best pizza in town, but if the guy across town can’t find you when he searches for “pizza near me,” he’ll go buy your competitor’s pizza. And that brings us to Reason #5.
Reason #5 – Your business will get opportunities for third-party reviews
These are the three basic pillars for a good ranking in Google Local Map Pack.
How well do you target keywords or topics that your potential customers would search for on your website?
How well does your business stand out online?
How close is your business to the potential customer looking for your products or services?
We have touched on relevance and proximity. Now is the time to talk about prominence – the positive reputation and feedback your business enjoys on the internet. How do search engines find this information? Many citations and directories allow customers to post reviews and rate their experiences with local businesses.
If you provide excellent service, your business will benefit from this additional benefit. But it’s not enough to get good reviews. You must also respond to them. And if you get a negative review, don’t worry. Just make sure you stay calm and respond appropriately. Work to resolve the issue as quickly as possible. Even a simple apology is better than no response.
More tips for local SEO
Local SEO for multiple locations, list all of your staffed locations, including full name, address, and phone number on a contact page on your site.
For businesses with 10 or fewer locations, please provide the full name, address, and phone number of each location in the footer of the entire site.
Make sure that people can easily find your phone number on your website and that it is clickable from mobile devices.
Just as you want to be consistent across directories, make sure your NAP data is consistent across all pages of your website.
If your business serves multiple locations, you need a separate page with unique content for each site. Avoid copying and pasting from one page to another.
Customize your local SEO for your type of business
So what you don’t know online can hurt you. If your business isn’t working on a local SEO strategy, you’re leaving money on the table that your competitor across town will pick up on.
Local SEO works well, but it takes time and patience just like organic SEO. That’s why many businesses hire a local SEO agency to put all the pieces together.