Mastering local SEO: Why it matters more than you think

Keep reading

If you’re a business that has a physical location such as a shop, or you provide a service to a certain geographic area, the you can certainly benefit from local SEO (search engine optimisation). Searching Google for important keywords relevant to your business and a map or local pack with 3 more listings appears below it, local SEO can help you to grow your business.

Local SEO is a search engine strategy that allows your business to be more visible in local search results on search engines such as Google.

However, in order to understand local SEO, you’ll need to understand how a search engine works.

The evolution of search engines

Back in the earlier days of the web, there were fewer websites and so working your way around was much easier. Then, once the world of the internet start to expand, search engines were created so it was easier for users to access the websites they needed.

When you typed a phrase into a search engine, it would then be paired with websites that included those keywords in your search. Google very quickly overpowered other search engines by using this same idea and then became the first search engine to use links between sites. This provides an indication of which websites are trusted and have some authority.

Fast forward to today, Google now take what feels like hundreds of factors into account in order to determine if your website is relevant to display in a search result. Every single factor helps to form your digital footprint and each one of them will carry a different weight or value. The search engine will then combine all of these to give you search results. Your digital footprint is important for your business as it determines whether you’re at the top of a results page in Google searches.

What is local SEO?

We may have touched on this a little already, but let’s sink our teeth in a get to know. Local SEO is the task of optimising your web content to increase search engine visibility with local users and potential customers in your local area.

Is local search important? Will local SEO make any difference to your business? Well, the short answer is yes to both of those, and here is why – 45% of all Google searches are for local businesses. 

A study by Forbes has discovered that 95% of people use their mobile devices in order to retrieve local search results. Now, from these results 61% called, and 59% visited the local business. We don’t know about you, but if local SEO helps get nearly 60% more traffic into our business, we’re going to do it.

Also Read: Marketing Isle of Wight: Promoting a local business

Additionally, other studies have found that 88% of searches for local businesses on a mobile device either call or visit the business within 24 hours. So, not only does a local SEO campaign gain you more local customers, it gets you them fast.

If you want to find the holy grail of local search digital marketing, then you’ll find it buried within Google’s “local pack”, also referred to as a “map pack”, and no we don’t mean Google maps. This is the box that appears at the top of your results page, including three businesses, a map from Google maps and dropped pins. You won’t be surprised to find out that these businesses get the most clicks and more traffic than the businesses lower down the page.

Looking at the three businesses featured in the map pack, you’ll be able to see a number of things from their Google my business profile, including:

  • Business name
  • Business address
  • Google posts
  • Google review count and online reviews

So, what is it that those businesses do to get into that top three?

Well, with their digital marketing will be a strong local SEO strategy. But not only that, much of it comes begins with understanding local SEO, how it works and what you need to do to play the game correctly.

Why local SEO benefits business owners

Increase visibility

There are many parts of local SEO strategies that will not only boost your visibility when users make local searches, but it will increase presence online as a whole.

For example, building local citations is a staple of local SEO activity. This involves building mentions of your business name, the address, and phone number via online directories, social media profiles, and platforms where you can leave online reviews such as Google my business.

More foot traffic

As we’ve already mentioned, being more visible to potential customers can help to bring more foot traffic to your physical location. It doesn’t matter if you’re a cafe, dry cleaner, or hardware store, you’re all going to want to utilise your website and local SEO to raise awareness within the local community.

If you’ve invested heavily in specialist equipment, designed an innovative space, or have a bricks-and-mortar location because your products are best experienced in person, growing the number of people stopping by can help you to create a buzz about your space and make more sales. Implementing local SEO strategies to up crawl up the ranks of a Google search and might be the best thing you ever do for your business.

Targeted Web Traffic

If you’re a small business, you’ll understand that every moment you spend dealing with empty leads or people who aren’t going to use your service is money down the drain. 

Local SEO is important here too as it helps to get rid of irrelevant traffic and remove those saps preventing your business from running efficiently. Doing this ensures your business is only visible to search users in your local area that are interested in what your business offers.

Nearly 60% of people will turn to a good old Google search to research a purchase, even if they plan on buying it in store. It is convenient for them as it saves venturing out and then being disappointed when the item or service isn’t what they expected. However, this can prove to be incredibly advantageous for you, as you can focus on your own website, gaining positive reviews and local search presence to convert that customer.

Also Read: A guide to using customer questions to inform your content strategy and boost your SEO.

Become a more trusted business

Whether online or offline, we all know that reviews are great for your business. However, they are also a pivotal local search ranking factor. The more reviews your website and business has, the more visibility you can gain in local search.

Many people will only buy from brands and businesses that they trust. What builds trust is a user friendly website with detailed business information, site content and contact details. But, you know what else does? Yep, you’ve guessed it… reviews!

In fact, studies have revealed that more consumers that ever are reading online reviews before making a purchase.

So, build higher levels of trust with potential customers by gaining more reviews and increase visibility in local search results.

Improved Conversion Rates

When you’re focusing on your local SEO strategy, it can be really easy to get carried away with your Google business profile and how your local listing looks to potential buyers. However, it’s important that you don’t forget your website is important too.

Website optimisation tasks carried out for local SEO, such as adding new locally-focused optimisation, reviewing landing page text, and working on page load speed, all help with conversion rate optimisation (CRO). From there, you should see an increase in the number of conversions your site generates, including increases in contact form submissions, more phone calls, email subscriptions, or sales. 

All of your local SEO efforts will go to waste if the consumer is disappointed once they’ve clicked onto your website. Optimising your website is something you’ll need to do alongside your local SEO strategy. There will also be things you can do on your website to help crawl the ranks in organic search results – this includes inbound links, getting your business listing on other online directories and posting on Google to raise your Google business profile.

It could be working on page load speed, editing landing page text or optimising descriptions of local products or services; either way, it all helps with conversion rate optimisation (CRO). Due to this, you could see an increase in site visits in many forms, including:

  • Phone calls
  • Email sign-ups
  • Sales

More Sales

Small businesses, big businesses, it doesn’t matter, all of us want to make more sales and increase the amount of products we sell or become fully booked in the service we provide.

We now know that consumers use online reviews to help them in the decision-making process, especially when buying from local businesses or needing to use local services, such as electricians, plumbers and carpenters. Roughly one in eight people will take to the internet to find information about a local business, some several times a week too.

Have plenty of good reviews and a business strategy with good local SEO puts your business where it needs to be. Raising your business profile means you’ll start appearing when users type in local keywords relevant to your business.

Also Read: The importance of a landing page (that works).

Tap into the Support Small boom

In recent years there have been huge changes in consumer buying habits. One of the most notable is that many of today’s consumers prefer to buy their goods from local businesses.

Research has shown that consumers are thinking smaller and choosing to support small, independent local businesses over company giants. As an example, nowadays you visit one supermarket for all your needs; take it back a few decades and your meat was from a butcher, bread from a baker, milk from the milkman and so on.

But with so many small businesses trying to put mark their spot on the map, it’s no surprise that 56% of consumers say that they purposefully give their custom to local business and actively seek out local products. 

76% of people also said they plan to shop more locally over the next year, meaning an opportunity is emerging for independent, small businesses to boost their sales.

One of the core benefits of local SEO is it puts you in front of local consumers exactly when they’re looking for your products or services. As a result, this can empower you to take full advantage of this shift in buyer behaviour to grow your business. Now you know that more people plan to spend their money more locally, you want to make sure you’re at the top of those local searches.

Looking for local SEO services?

Wanting to increase your local presence? Speak to the SEO experts at Suki Marketing that know can work with you to create a strategy and have you appearing in local and organic results.

Why not contact us to see how we can help?

Looking for a little help? Let's chat.

my brixham holiday holiday lets website design suki marketing

Nail your SEO - Get our FREE SEO checklist

Grab your free copy below, easy breezy.