The practice serves a major purpose in boosting your website’s visibility. The tool is defined as using SEO, a standard tool in a marketing strategy, to target your local demographic.
Local SEO is especially crucial for small businesses targeting a specific geographic location. For example, a neighborhood, city, or town in which a business serves.
Neglecting local SEO can result in your business not showing up when locals search for your services.
Boosting your business’s presence online doesn’t need to be an uphill battle. It’s a matter of working with local intent to rank well in local search results.
For businesses looking to boost visibility and generate leads for products or services, we’ve rounded up everything you need to know about local SEO.
What Is Local SEO
Local SEO is the practice of localizing a website’s SEO so it can reach a targeted geographical area. Typically, the SEO tool is used to help generate business for local establishments looking to attract more customers to their brick-and-mortar storefronts or local services.
With local SEO, a business can pinpoint its target audience. This differs from online blogs or e-commerce sites that hope to cast a wide net through their online presence. Instead, businesses will hone in on their local consumer via the modified local SEO tool.
Why Local SEO Matters
Generic websites hoping to gain a diverse amount of traffic don’t need to focus on reaching their locality. However, for businesses hoping to reach potential customers, local SEO can be a monumental tool for boosting organic search results.
It also helps to note just what percentage of Google searches are done by locals looking for local services. The answer is that over 90% of searches were for local businesses in 2020, according to On the Map.
Not capitalizing on the sheer volume of local searches means leaving customers on the table. Not to mention, your business’s website is more likely to rank far behind competitors who have taken the time to enhance their local SEO.
How to Do Local SEO
There are a few options to ensure success when it comes to local SEO. Below are a few to try out, both technical and non-technical.
Emphasize Your Location Online
While it may seem obvious, many businesses fail to make their location clear on their website. Both users and search engines want to understand where you are located easily.
That means creating a location page for your business, especially if multiple establishments exist.
Also, include any relevant business information on a location page that visitors may need to know. For example, placing a brief note about accessible parking or business directories can help guide visitors.
Ranking well on search engines, particularly Google, means being as helpful as possible. Don’t leave potential customers wondering where you are located or which areas you serve. Including an easy-to-find address and phone number can be helpful on these pages and on page footers. These are known as local citations and are an important component of local SEO.
Keep it Local
If your primary goal in having a website is to target a certain geographical location (think: a restaurant in X town or pest control company servicing X city and suburbs), then it’s important to keep it local.
Create SEO-rich blog posts and pages that emphasize your expertise in the area filled with local keywords. Helping to boost your authority for the locality can mean more eyes on your business’s website, regardless of the reason for the initial search. Within this, don’t neglect long tail keywords or skip on your local SEO keyword research – these are all important steps.
Don’t neglect related social media accounts, either. Social media is simply an extension of your business’s primary webpage. Be sure to create content to keep each social media site updated and effective too. It can be helpful to market both to active users and those that are rare social users via ads or relatable posts.
General SEO Tips
It’s important to remember that regardless of which area you’re hoping to pinpoint, effective SEO habits are crucial for ranking.
Search engines will always prioritize a well-made site with effective content over a poor competitor. Ensure your business’s website adheres to these basic SEO tools:
- Effective meta description
- Proper headings (H1, H2, H3)
- Internal and external linking
- Proper keyword research and use (no keyword stuffing, using a keyword research tool, keyword modifiers)
- Unique, effective content
- Optimal design and web speed
- Responsive design for mobile devices
If your business’s website receives poor traffic or little lead generation, it may be time to comb through your site. Starting with a list of keywords, running auditors for site errors, and other tools can help put you on the right track. All of this work, especially the marketing efforts, will pay off in the end!
Continually updating your site to align with SEO best practices helps ensure proper ranking. If you’re struggling, consider purchasing a service that helps you pinpoint broken links, slow loading times, and other issues.
How Google Uses Local SEO to Determine Local Ranking
Google considers all businesses’ local SEO in three distinct ways to help generate rankings. As defined by Google Support, those three principal factors include relevance, distance, and prominence.
When a person searches for a local business (opting for digital over the yellow pages), Google will suggest results based on those three factors. If you’re looking to boost your local presence, consider the definitions of each as you boost your site’s local SEO.
Relevance – How well your business’s services fit the searcher’s needs.
Example: A resident searches for local sandwich shops, and your business focuses on pasta.
Thus, the relevance is poor, and your business is unlikely to be recommended to the searcher. A complete business profile and thorough site details can help Google sort through relevance.
Distance – The distance from the searcher’s location to a business.
Example: A resident searches Google Maps for nurseries in Los Angeles. Generally, locations closest to the city center (or the searcher’s exact location if known) will rank higher than those in the next town over.
Clear defining of all locations can help Google understand whether to recommend you via a tool like map pack or local pack to the searcher.
Prominence – The notoriety and reputation of a business. If a business has numerous news articles, is a popular destination amongst tourists, and is referenced across platforms, its prominence is higher.
Google wants to recommend well-regarded businesses for users, especially when there is an over-saturated market.
Example: A tourist searches coffee shops in Seattle near Pike Place. With dozens of results, distance and relevance may not be as key in the search as prominence.
Focus on incentivizing online reviews or check-ins for sites like Yelp, creating a strong virtual presence to boost prominence. Promoting reviews can be alarming due to the increased chance of a negative review. But the benefits far outweigh any risks.
Curious how your site is shaping up against the competition? Many recommended heading to the search engines to “google my business.” You’ll be able to determine your domain authority and devise a plan to build it up. Sometimes that means being industry specific or focusing on location.
H2: The Bottom Line
Enhancing a website with local SEO helps locals find the results they’re looking for while generating more leads for your business’s local area.
Considering how Google uses a business’s information to determine ranking, it’s crucial that both general SEO and local SEO tools are used to boost your relevance.
A higher ranking can help locals find the results they need, and businesses generate more clientele. With today’s increasingly online world, it’s simply not enough to list your business anymore.
So, when it comes to the question of “local seo (why does it matter),” the answer is that properly using the tool can completely transform your website’s ranking and, ultimately, your business’s success.