If you’re running a local business that serves your community, possibly with a physical building, you may be wondering why your SEO efforts aren’t paying off.
You are acquiring links, creating content, and have your website optimized properly with all the basic fundamentals.
And yet – crickets.
In the world of SEO, there is no cookie-cutter way to get the job done. That’s because every business is different with a unique target audience. Without a strategy that suits your business, you are simply missing out on important leads.
Your strategy must include local SEO if you want to target people in your local community.
Local SEO differs from general SEO strategies that are designed to drive traffic.
When SEO works, you drive organic traffic to your website to boost your presence in the SERPs. With local SEO, you are also boosting the quality of traffic, because people are searching for what you are offering in your local area. For example, “roof replacement near me” or “water cleanup in Orlando”
A person searching for a solution + your local SEO strategies = a potential big conversion or sale for your business.
Local SEO falls under the umbrella of SEO, but there’s an added layer of geographical components of search that helps guide the right people to your business. Ideally, local SEO boosts hyper targeted traffic for your business because there is less competition for local searches.
Of course, that’s never a guarantee, but it’s the general idea. More local exposure equals more business.
How to Understand the Basics of SEO
Before you throw yourself into local SEO, it’s important to understand the basic idea of SEO. We’d all love to crack Google’s algorithm so we can boost our own traffic, but until that day happens, it’s best to just follow the rules and try different things based on previous results and analytics.
We know that SEO is a method of organizing, cataloging, and indexing content online. Search engines will crawl content to see where it fits within the massive catalogue of websites, so relevant sites can easily be served up when people search for something that relates to the topic presented by searchers.
While this is true for both SEO and local SEO, there’s another level to take into account for the local searcher.
That level has to do with intent.
Intent, in SEO terms, has to do with what the user wants to find by using certain words or key-phrases in their searches. Some searchers want specific details or information, while others want broad information about a topic.
In case you don’t think that’s relevant, listen to this – 46% of searches have local intent. That statistic is actually from 2018, so it could be way higher now in 2020.
Google is trying to tackle intent to give the best possible results for every search done. While Google hasn’t completely mastered intent just yet, this may only improve over time. It’s definitely something to keep in mind as you work on your local SEO strategy.
Local search can be informative and educational, but there is a layer of purchasing intent as well. That intent can influence what keywords are used for a search, particularly if they are looking for . For example, if someone is searching for a specific product, like a certain kind of roof shingle, that person doesn’t want a long list of suppliers across the country or even the world.
They want results that are local, ideally within driving distance, should they want to go purchase these roof shingles.
When you’re working on your local SEO strategy, think about what people would search for if they were looking for local services, including plumbers, roofers, emergency HVAC services and more.
[term] + near me
[term] + city
[term] + closest to me
These search terms provide a list of businesses that will be able to offer what the searcher is looking for. As an added bonus, the searcher also gets contact information, website information, and ratings from previous customers.
How to Optimize Local SEO
That might sound great and all, but your business isn’t showing up when you search for it. Your competitors are squashing you when it comes to local presence. This could happen if you are doing basic SEO strategies, leaving out that customized local SEO approach.
Your customized approach for local SEO should include:
- The creation and optimization of Google My Business, a tool that helps bring exposure to localized searches in SERPs
- Utilization of local directories and local listings in your community, city or county
- Content generation of all kinds. Google will add content from social media sites, including tweets from Twitter believe it or not, directly in the SERPs. The more strategic content you offer, the better your chances of beating our your competitors
- Tracking visitors and customer data through analytics to ensure you are tapping into that local audience
- Having a mobile-friendly website so you can directly serve people searching for businesses near them on-the-go
- Having a dedicated “about page” that is location-specific, especially if you have multiple locations for your business
- Controlling your reputation through effective reputation management, as reviews are often placed right in SERPs
- Updating hours for different seasons, as the word “season” is crucial for those searching for seasonal hours or offers
If you don’t think reviews are important, take a look at this. What business appears more credible – one with no reviews or one with reviews from paying customers?
Don’t neglect your reputation management. It’s crucial in encouraging those clicks.
When to Pursue Local SEO
If you’re hyped and excited because the list above sounds fantastic, ask yourself this before moving ahead – do you really need local SEO?
The truth is – this strategy isn’t for everyone.
Local SEO is important for people, who have local businesses. We’re talking brick and mortar stores or shops. Local SEO can also be beneficial if you have multiple locations, such as a chain or franchise.
And even if you are doing everything above and you aren’t seeing the results you want, use Google Analytics and Google Search Console to pinpoint what you could spend more time on. It’s fantastic what data can tell you about your local SEO efforts.
The conclusion is rather simple; if you rely on local customers to keep your business going, start with local SEO to build authority online. But as you grow and scale your business, realize that local SEO won’t work on a nationwide market. This approach will require additional strategy and thought-leader authority. Please contact us for more information on how we can help you today.