If SEO wasn’t complicated enough, let me introduce you to local SEO. However, local SEO is actually pretty straightforward and exactly what it sounds like. We’ll explain it a little more in detail in the next section, but basically this kind of SEO leverages your location in the world to market products and get more traffic to your website. This is crucial because, according to Moz, 90% of purchases take place in physical stores and 80% of US disposable income is spent within 20 miles of home, and 46% of Google searches have ‘local intent’. That’s HUGE! It’s a no-brainer that you should be using local SEO in your marketing strategy.
What is Local SEO?
Local SEO is essentially the practice of optimizing your online presence to attract more of your business from relevant search queries with local intent. What is local intent? Basically, whenever someone searches for something in their area, usually seeking a brick and mortar shop to where they can physically go. This would be opposed to, say, an online search query such as seeking a product from Amazon or looking for information on a topic. When people search with local intent, they are specifically looking for places they can get up and walk, bike, or drive to. Local SEO’s goal is to optimize your content for these types of searches. This is especially important (and actually, necessary) for businesses that operate out of a storefront.
Why is Local SEO important?
As we mentioned, driving traffic to your page is the primary goal of SEO. More importantly, its aim is to get people in the front door of your actual shop. Local SEO is the cornerstone for businesses, because whichever businesses rank first in the search engines for related queries, are most likely to be clicked on and most likely to be visited by default. People often consider businesses that appear to them on the top of the results page to be the most relevant, and also most reputable.
The Top Results Box (and why you want to be on it!)
When Google ranks local search results, they feature the top three businesses in a window at the top of the page. In the image here, we did a search for ‘coffee camelback.’ This is a search query a user might type into Google if they are looking for coffee shops in the Camelback area. (Peep our wonderful neighbors, The Henry! As you can see, they are one of the top 3 featured businesses. Clearly their marketing team is doing something right!)
All of the information featured along with the business’s name is taken directly from the business’s Google My Business profile, which is an integral part of Local SEO marketing that is becoming even more crucial as Google constantly evolves to satisfy more search queries, more effectively.
How to harness the power of Local SEO
- Make sure the physical address of your business is updated in Google My Business. Local SEO is all about location-based search results, which means an exact location is necessary for your business to appear on local search results.
- Name, address, and phone consistency. This may not seem like that big of a deal, but if your name, address, and phone number are inconsistent across online directories, Google will probably not list your business in the top results box.
- Try to increase your citations. A citation is when a third party references your business on their website. For example, perhaps an article was written about “Top 10 Places to Eat” in your area, and your restaurant was listed. This shows that your business is trustworthy and reputable enough for other parties to recommend it.
If you’re a small or local business, you MUST take advantage of these Local SEO techniques. If you put in a little extra effort to get the SEO part all squared away, as your business gains notoriety and respect, you should skyrocket to the Top 3 box of the search results page in no time!
If you find yourself overwhelmed, you’re not alone. We’re happy to help. Shop around, interview a few top digital agencies (including us), then pull in the pros to help out.