What is Local SEO for Small Businesses?
Take out your phone, open Google, and search “best Italian restaurant.” What do you see? The top results usually aren’t the best Italian joints in America—and likely aren’t part of a massive chain. They’re often locally-owned restaurants in your city that are close to where you are right now. That’s the power of local SEO.
The results that appear in local search results typically answer a “near me” intended question, meaning that a searcher is searching for something “in [CITY]”—or the search engine has understood that there were geographic constraints to the search. By using local search optimization strategies, businesses can improve their visibility in these local search results for terms related to their business and their products or services.
Even when someone performs a typical daily search, the chances that Google shows local businesses nearby remains high. Why is that important for small businesses? Well, from 2017 to 2019, Google reported a 900% increase in searches that involved the phrase “near me today/tonight.” In an attempt to best meet the needs of its searchers, Google started providing more results for geographically-related searches based on:Proximity, Relevance, Prominence, That means, if your business is close to where someone is conducting their search, offers services or products they may be searching for, and has optimized local business listings, then you’re more likely to be found by potential customers online.
So if you’re being found in local search results or in Google Maps, there’s an increased chance of capturing new leads for your small business. Reaches Customers Who Are Ready to Buy, A whopping 80% of local searches that are performed on mobile devices convert into sales. This can be attributed to the fact that local SEO puts you in front of the customer at the exact moment they’re searching for a product or service, making them much more likely to purchase or at least inquire for more information.
Why Is Local SEO Important?
This year, the need for SEO rose to an all-time high. As consumers shifted en masse to online, even the most traditional business realized that they need to accelerate the shift to digital. SEO is the most viable and cost-effective way to both understand and reach customers in key moments that matter.
SEO will certainly improve a website’s overall searchability and visibility, but what other real value does it offer? Why is SEO growing in importance the way it is? These 3 reasons should offer some clarity, regardless of the industry or business size, as to why businesses need SEO to take their brand to the next level.
- SEO Builds Trust & Credibility
The goal of any experienced SEO is to establish a strong foundation for a beautiful website with a clean, effective user experience that is easily discoverable in search, thanks to the trust and credibility of the brand and its digital properties. Many elements go into establishing authority regarding search engines like Google.
- SEO is Relatively Cheap and Very Cost-Effective
Sure, it costs money. But all the best things do, right? SEO is relatively inexpensive in the grand scheme of things, and the payoff will most likely be considerable in terms of a brand’s benefit to the bottom line. This isn’t a marketing cost; this is an actual business investment. SEO is no longer a siloed channel, so integrating with content and PR helps with brand reach and awareness alongside other results.
- It’s a Long-Term Strategy
SEO can (and hopefully does) have a noticeable impact within the first 4months to a year of action being taken, and many of those actions will have an effect that lasts more than several years. Once the search engines crawls your website and find you credibile, they’ll recomend your business or services to those in close proximity searching for services like yours.
How to Improve Local Small Business SEO efforts.
Here are some of the easiest ways to improve your local SEO efforts.
- Create Accurate, Consistent Local Citations
Local citations are instances where your business name, address, and phone number are mentioned online—for example, a local business listing. No matter where you add local citations on the web, make sure that your information is correct and used in a consistent format every time.
- Respond Regularly to Reviews (Both Good & Bad)
Taking the time to respond to reviews online shows customers that you care and can be a positive signal for local search rank. While getting more business reviews may require some effort, once you start receiving them, you should be ready to respond—regardless of whether the reviews are positive or negative.
Now that you know what local SEO is, we can move onto the exciting bit: how to win with it! In the chapters to follow, I’ll be sharing with you some of the foundational and game-changing tactics to help you climb the rankings in local search.
Why Local Keyword Research is So Important.
Keyword research is one of the most important foundational things you can do for your local SEO.
For example, here I’ve performed a pretty basic search for ‘pizza New York’. Underlined are all the phrases that might be considered keywords. In this section, I’ll provide you with some tips to get started with local keyword research and identify your own keywords. Identify key terms Your own judgment as a business owner is your first resource here.
Why Do You Need A Google My Business Profile?
Without a GMB profile, your business is not going to be able to compete in search. And what’s more, once it’s claimed and optimized, you need to make sure it’s maintained well. When it comes to improving appearance in Google Maps, image is everything. Literally, a business’s photos can make or break a potential user action.
Having the most accurate primary category based on your business’s products, services and/or goals can make a big difference as you try to improve visibility for terms related to that category. For example, a dine-in restaurant serving pizza and pasta should have the primary category ‘Italian restaurant’, rather than just ‘restaurant’.
This text should describe your business in an engaging, authentic manner but it shouldn’t reference things like sales or promotions. This text field is a place to tell local search users about your USPs and brand story, your mission, and history. But, it can also be a place to mention your most popular offerings as Little Italy Pizza has done in the screenshot above.
You can however, include a phone number and email address. Google reviews Google has been allowing customers to leave reviews for local businesses for over a decade. The volume of Google My Business reviews you collect is a known SEO ranking factor, as it supports the prominence of your business in the community.
Next Steps for you…
Book a FREE 30 mins Strategy call with our team of SEO Ninjas to see how we can help your business increase foot traffic, phone calls and lead forms. Our promise is, we can help you dominate and rank organically in the first page of Google and show up in Google Maps as well!