The Background & Benefits of Local SEO

Digital, Marketing

Read Time: 7 Min

What is SEO?

SEO is that daunting acronym nobody really likes to confront, especially without help or as much knowledge as possible before leaping into its intricacies. To start, the term stands for search engine optimization. It is the term used to describe the processes involved in improving your online content to increase organic visibility on search engine results pages (wherever you go for that).

The better your SEO, or visibility, the most likely you’ll be found by your intended audience.

Good SEO = Business Success.

But we aren’t here to talk about general SEO — we have a whole insight where we outline the components and benefits of general SEO, so go read that — we are here to talk about taking advantage of your locality to raise awareness of your business.

 

What is Local SEO?

Same cave, different beast. Whereas general SEO best practices will improve your visibility on main organic listings, strategic and specific emphasis on local SEO will help you appear more often in local search results. Local SEO techniques can bring in qualified traffic, reduce your reliance on spendy ads, and boost your reputation within the community.

If you’re thinking in terms of Google (as most businesses do and should), local SEO strategies will help your business listing in the Local Pack and Map Pack rank higher and more often. When Google algorithms detect that someone is looking for something around them, for example, ‘apartment complexes near me,’ Map Pack will give them results at the top of the search results that are local to them. Google has its magical ways of detecting immediate, local need to help it feed your business to potential customers.

Map Pack is helpful because businesses can appear on it without having a website. This is because Map Pack’s results are largely informed by Google Business Profiles, which we’ll get into in a bit. Essentially, things like reviews and star ratings, Google Posts, and other elements of your GBP are what make you show up in Google Maps.

Paying attention to your website content and ad content is just as important as your GBP. Make sure you include local keyword research in your strategies. Include the city/neighborhood/county name in search terms or any local slang (for example, RINO = River North Arts District). Knowing your community and how people talk about it is important. You can prove your community knowledge through adding blogs or resources to your website relevant to your local area. Through those blogs, include keywords that Google can pick up on.

It’s Google’s search algorithms, technical SEO for your website, on-page optimization of webpages, and keywords in local ad groups that will offer opportunities for your business to appear in local organic results.

 

Why is it Important?

Let’s let statistics about user behavior do the talking:

  • 30% of the searches Google processes are related to location.
  • 76% of people who conduct local searches then visit the related business within 24 hours.
  • 82% of people read online reviews and use them to inform their decisions.
  • 86% of people rely on Google Maps to find a relevant business.
  • 83% of searchers use Google Search to learn more about a nearby business.

People value Google and the information it feeds them. Most users are using their phone, opening their Google app, and searching for things like ‘best dentist near me’ and will trust the information they are seeing there. They won’t see your business at the top of their search if you aren’t doing the due diligence to optimize your local SEO.

 

How Google Determines Local Ranking

There are three main factors in Google ranking: relevance, distance, and prominence.

Your Google Business Profile will help with relevance. If the services you provide match what the user is searching for, you will bump up to the top of their search results. This only occurs if your GBP accurately matches what you offer, is clear, truthful, and reflects the best parts of your business. You can learn more about GBP in one of our guides where we talk more about what it is and how you can use it to your advantage.

Distance is what it is. You’re either close to where someone lives or not. However, by having an accurate address listed under your GBP, people are more likely to find you.

Prominence is based on how well-known Google considers your business.

You can influence each of these categories by considering these factors in your Local SEO efforts:

  • GBP
  • Keywords in the listing title
  • Proximity
  • Psychical address
  • High star ratings and promptly responding to all reviews
  • Quality of inbound links
  • Keywords in native Google reviews
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The Benefits of Local SEO

We know, finally the good stuff — the benefits. The true ‘why’ when it comes to local SEO. No one benefit is better than the other, they all work together to make you a better business for yourselves and your customers.

  1. Better Online Visibility
    If your business doesn’t appear in the top three search results on Google when someone is looking for a business to fit their needs, chances are they will end up going with one of your competitors. By paying attention to your local SEO you’ll increase your real estate on SERPs (search engine ranking pages) and your audience will be more exposed to your brand. According to a Forbes study, around 30-40% of customers learn about local businesses through Google Maps. With better local SEO, you’ll show up on there.
  2. More Customers Through Your Door
    If you have a storefront, with better online visibility, you’ll see more customers walking through your doors. Especially with the emphasis on the Maps Apps, customers who see your business pop up and know that it’s around the corner, will show up.
  3. Greater Control of Local Reputation
    As we mentioned above, 82% of people rely on reviews to make decisions about where to go for a product or service. Reviews can make or break your local SEO conversion rate. In order to gain more reviews, you can run a strategic review-generation campaign. We recommend you reply to as many as you can, even the bad ones because it shows you care about customer feedback and are constantly working to improve. Don’t worry if you do receive a bad review, if you continue to get good reviews, they will drown the bad ones. It’s up to you how you respond and pivot as you navigate the reviews section of your GBP.
  4. Build Relationships
    With a greater emphasis on your local SEO you’ll have a better chance of connecting with your audience and other local businesses. The more you connect with your target audience, the more trust will build and they’ll recommend your services to their friends. If you make a conscious effort to appear higher in local search, you’ll start to get noticed by other local businesses, journalists, and online communities who can then link to your site and help spread the word about your services.
  5. Qualified Web Traffic
    Your Google Business Profile gives you the option to include a link to your website — this is one of the best perks of local SEO. All traffic from local SEO through maps or the local pack will channel traffic to your website. The quality of this traffic is superb because users who directly looked for services you offer are being sent to your website.
  6. More Conversions
    To go with all that qualified web traffic are conversions. Users who find themselves on your website are most likely in need of immediate assistance and so the likelihood of them becoming a conversion is high. By carrying out website optimization tasks for local SEO like locally-focused optimization, reviewing landing page text, and working on page load speed, you’re increasing the likelihood of a high conversion rate.
  7. More Competitive
    Doing all of this research will allow you to look more closely at your competitors and find ways to improve upon what they are doing. Showing up in searches and putting energy into local SEO puts your business in a much more competitive position.

 

It’s Time to Care About Local SEO

We hope to have convinced you. Local SEO can be hugely impactful to your business. Consider everything we’ve shared, and if you don’t know where to start, give us a call. We’d be happy to help you.

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