Local SEO sounds small time, doesn’t it? When we speak about SEO in general, we’re talking about optimising your site for the internet; the immense, ever-changing, world-spanning digital platform where everything and anything is possible. When you can reach a potential audience anywhere from Hanoi to Halifax, why would anybody ever bother performing SEO locally?
Well—I’m thrilled you asked. Priming your site to rank in local SEO results provides one heck of a boon. It doesn’t matter what size your business is, an effective SEO strategy will take location into account. There are several ways to do this detailed below, but first: what actually is local SEO?
Local SEO: a quick definition
When you’re looking to improve where your business falls in the listings on Google, you perform basic SEO: tweaking little bits of code, making sure the website’s pages are all consistent and coherent, adding specially-chosen blog articles, that sort of thing. This gives your site a boost generally in the Google rankings, depending, of course, on how much time you spend on it/how expertly you optimise.
Local SEO is a little more specific. Let’s say you run a little enterprise selling wooden furniture, and your business operates out of a small town called, oh I don’t know, Moop. If you were to attempt to make your business rank number one on Google for keywords like ‘wooden furniture’, you’d be competing against industry giants with continent-spanning setups and unfathomable marketing budgets. Yikes.
So: corporations often have dominion over the broadest search terms. All is not lost, however. If you shift your gaze to a more local market, you will be able to target an audience that the big brands might not even have considered. Adding a location to your keyword, such as ‘wooden furniture in Moop’ or ‘bespoke dining tables in Moop’ turns them from extremely common keywords into something called ‘long tail keywords’.
It’s easier to climb the Google rankings for long tail keywords, because rather than being super vague, they are specific enough that fewer companies will be jostling to rank for them. Instead of using a broad search term such as ‘wardrobes for sale’ for example, you might write an article which is optimised for the long tail keyword ‘cheap second-hand wardrobes near Moop’.
Sure, you might have another furniture retailer in the quaint rural town of Moop who you’ll have to compete with, but the odds of you out-gunning a small local business on SEO terms are far better than they would be were you to attempt to compete with international furniture chains. Incorporating local search terms into your SEO strategy in this manner can see you rapidly increase the number of visitors to your site—visitors who have one very specific goal in mind: buying.
Turning searches into sales
Ranking highly on Google for local SEO terms is dynamite for a business, because the customers that type in ‘bespoke coffee tables for sale in Moop’ are typically further along the ‘buyer journey’; that is, they’ve made up their mind what they want, and instead of idly researching, are now actively looking to buy. This means that the traffic you will get to your site from local SEO is particularly valuable.
Customers from your local area are likelier to be repeat customers too, and will be more likely to leave reviews, which are gold dust to a business’s online presence. The more relevant you are to your customers, the more likely they are to buy from you and engage with you. Easy peasy.
From tiny acorns…
SEO is a complicated game. Over the years, Google has announced literally hundreds of factors that can impact your website’s visibility online. A couple of factors that are very relevant to this article, however, are ‘click-through-rate’ and ‘time-on-page’. In plain English, these mean ‘the number of people who click your website when they see it on Google’ and ‘the amount of time they spend on your site’.
Having a strong click-through-rate and a good amount of time-on-page per customer are very impactful in terms of determining how high your site appears on Google. In short, Google wants to make sure that your site is good enough to warrant people visiting it; they need to see evidence of this before they’ll put you higher up in the rankings for common search terms.
Why is this relevant? Well, you can hardly be judged on click-through-rates and time-on-page (plus a bunch of other similar factors) if you have no traffic in the first place. Using local SEO can help you generate a good amount of traffic early on, and through this (assuming your website is a lovely, well-functioning place and not a terrifying digital quagmire) you can begin to climb the rankings for more competitive keywords, too.
…mighty oaks grow
Eventually, as your efforts compound, you will snowball into a mighty SEO force. All it takes is a little know-how and determination. Given the right keyword selection and a solid content plan, with local SEO you can set down the building blocks for a gleaming online presence.
There are a ton of keyword research tools available online for you to check out—or if you prefer to take a backseat and watch a team of SEO content folks do the work for you, let’s grab a coffee and chat!