Local SEO 101: A Definitive Introduction to Local Search
Imagine you are looking for a local business to fix your favourite boots or bake a Disney themed cake for your daughter’s birthday. How do you find it?
In this digital age, you simply pull out your smartphone, open your preferred search engine, and do a little research. For example, if you live in Southampton, you can search for the best baker in Southampton.
Similarly, when your customers are looking for a product or service, they search online for a local business.
Research shows that 88% of people who conduct a local search on their phone visit or call the business within 24 hours.
Therefore, if your business has not invested in local search engine optimisation (SEO), you are losing customers to the competition.
Local SEO is fundamental in the business world to stay competitive and relevant. This article offers a definitive introduction to local SEO.
What is Local SEO?
Local SEO involves optimising your business, product, or services for location-specific search queries.
It helps you promote your offerings to local customers and prospects.
Local search optimisation is an excellent option for increasing the visibility of a brick-and-mortar business with a physical location such as a dentist’s office, restaurant, barbershop, and bakery.
Businesses operating in a specific area such as plumbers, house cleaning companies, and electricians can also use local SEO and gain many benefits.
What is the Value of Local SEO for Business?
You may be wondering, ‘why should my business invest in local SEO?’
The answer is in the numbers. Take a look at these local SEO statistics from inbound marketing experts HubSpot:
What are Local Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs)?
Every business wants to increase traffic to its website or doors. More traffic means more customers, sales, and profits.
You can improve your business’s visibility and traffic by featuring on the ‘local pack’ or ‘3 pack.’
‘Local pack’ refers to a section of the Google search results page displaying three business listings related to a searcher’s geographical location.
For example, if you search for ‘builders Southampton,’ you will notice three business listings appearing on the results page. The opening hours, review rating, address, and even photos of the local pack is displayed too.
The information relating to these businesses comes from their Google My Business profile.
What is Google My Business?
Google My Business (GMB) is a free listing Google offers almost any business. As the name suggests, GMB is your business profile on Google.
GMB supplies your business information to several places, such as local pack and Google Maps search results.
Your GMB profile includes business information such as contact details, services offered, opening hours, business description, and category.
It is best practice to ensure that your GMB profile is accurate and consistent. This way, you increase your likelihood of appearing on the local pack. Also, you ensure that your profile is appealing and trustworthy to warrant a clickthrough.
Without GMB, you miss massive opportunities in the local search results and local pack. GMB is a prime example of a citation.
What are Citations?
A citation is anywhere on the internet that your company’s name, address, phone number, and website URL (NAPW) appear together.
Common examples of citations are online directories and business listings websites.
A citation can be structured or unstructured. A structured citation appears in business directories such as Yelp. An unstructured citation, like the name suggests, appears in an unstructured format anywhere on the internet where your NAPW data is visible.
Citations are a key aspect of local search optimisation. As you create citations for your business, do not forget to keep them updated. If not, you risk providing incorrect data in online directories that can be detrimental to your business.
Research reveals that 68% of consumers will not buy from a business with incorrect information in local directories.
Local Search Ranking Factors
If you are wondering how to rank well and get found on local search, here are the search ranking factors you should keep in mind.
It refers to the extent a user’s search matches your products and services.
You can boost your business’s relevance by selecting the best business category and providing accurate business information.
It refers to the distance between your business and the searcher.
It refers to what consumers say about your business and its offerings online. It includes customer reviews, reviews on Facebook and trade sites, and local press news.
Main Local SEO Services
Below are the primary local SEO services to guarantee your businesses success in the game.
· Website Localisation
It involves including your location — city, county, or region throughout your site. If your business has multiple locations, create separate pages for each location.
· Citation Building
It is best practice to ensure your company features on online business directories and citation sites. Citation building enables customers to find your business seamlessly and improves your search rankings.
· Claim your GMB Listing
Claim your GMB listing so that your business appears on Google services like Google Maps and local search results.
· Manage Reviews and Ratings
Genuine reviews portray the quality and credibility of your business and its products or services. The number of reviews, their quality, and the review site’s authority influence your local search ranking.
· Quality and Relevant Backlink
Credible and relevant backlinks position you as a trusted source of information and increase your search visibility. You can get backlinks from local newspapers, bloggers, citations, and business associations.
Local SEO is crucial to the success and survival of your business.
As mentioned earlier, 18% of local mobile searches result in a sale within a day.
Therefore, your local business cannot afford to ignore local search optimisation anymore.
Whether you are a plumber, florist, or accountant, local SEO will drive more customers to your business and take it to the next level.
So, what are you waiting for? Start now with a free local search audit for your business.