At this point, most small business owners understand and agree that SEO is important. It’s hard to find someone who doesn’t use Google as a way to research the products or services he or she is looking to buy. So it makes sense to business owners that they should aim to rank at the top of Google’s search results.
But when it comes to SEO, Local SEO is an extremely important part of the puzzle that sometimes gets overlooked.
So what is Local SEO?
Local SEO is Google’s way of pulling up search results based on a geographical area. For example, if you’re in New York City and search “coffee shops,” you’re likely not looking for coffee shops in Louisiana. So, Google pulls up results that are local to you since that’s what you’re looking for.
Unlike traditional SEO which focuses exclusively on your website, Local SEO also focuses on your Google My Business profile page. Google displays business pages (along with a map highlighting where the businesses are located) for many locally-focused search phrases.
Local SEO creates a valuable opportunity for businesses to market to local customers, clients and patients.
Here are 6 reasons why you should be investing in Local SEO.
1. The Majority of Local Customers Use the Internet to Find Businesses.
I like to think of Local SEO as the modern version of the Yellow Pages. It used to be that if someone needed a local product or service, they’d look under the Yellow Pages and see which businesses were listed.
Today, people turn right to Google and type in the service or product they’re looking for with a “near me” or their city name and state attached at the end of their search. Then, Google pulls up the most relevant local businesses for that search.
A recent survey conducted by BrightLocal found that only 5% of people have never used the Internet to search for a local business. In other words, that means that 95% of people have searched for a local business online.
With that many people looking online to make purchasing decisions, it’s important to make sure that your business is getting found.
2. Attract Your Ideal Customers When They’re Ready to Buy.
When you create a Google My Business page for your business, you can choose what categories you want associated with your business, and you also get to provide a description, where you can incorporate keywords. And your categories and description help affect what search results you can be displayed for.
The great part about this is it gives you control over what types of customers your business page gets in front of. Plus, most of the people who are searching for Local SEO results are ready to make a purchasing decision. This gets you in front of your ideal local customers, and can lead to more sales for your business.
3. The Growth of Mobile Creates a Real-time Need for Local SEO
Gone are the days where you need to look up a place for lunch or a spot to pick up a bagel before heading out for the day. With mobile phones basically acting as a mini computer that can be taken on-the-go, people can now look up any destination when they actually need it.
This makes Local SEO even more important because it means that people are searching for a business literally at the exact moment they need it. If I’m walking around town and suddenly have a craving for some ice-cream, I can immediately take out my phone, open Google Maps, search for ice-cream stores, and get a whole listing of the closest spots to me.
If your ice-cream shop doesn’t come up on the list, then there’s no way I’d visit it and that’s a missed opportunity for a customer who is immediately ready to purchase your product or service.
4. Local SEO is Very Cost Effective and Provides Results
Creating a Google My Business Page is completely free which means you can’t beat the cost for starting with Local SEO. In fact, most local online directories including Yelp, Trip Advisor, Yahoo, and Bing, are all free to list your business on.
And in addition to being cost effective, Local SEO provides results (in terms of quality leads and sales). A recent article on Search Engine Land claims that local searches lead 50% of mobile visitors to visit a store within 1 day and 18% of those searches lead to a sale with 1 day.
With high conversion rates and low costs to get started, Local SEO offers an opportunity for strong return on investment (ROI).
5. It’s Fairly Quick and Easy to Set Up.
One way you could incur a bit of a cost in getting started is hiring someone to set up your Google My Business page for you. This can be a good idea to ensure that your page is set up correctly. However, the process is fairly straightforward and therefore easy to do yourself.
Whether you’ve already started with Local SEO or not, our article on the 11 Steps to Improve Your Local SEO can help you make sure your set-up is done correctly.
6. Online Business Reviews from Customers are Excellent Testimonials
Online reviews matter. In a study conducted by Bright Local, 74% of people said that a positive online business review makes them trust a business more, and 60% of people said that a negative business review brings the quality of the business into question.
Having a Google My Business page allows your customers to leave reviews of your business to tell other people how much they love it. You can ask customers directly to rate your business on Google and other online directories as a way to build credibility for your business.
Google My Business page reviews are one of the major factors in Local SEO rankings. So, by getting more reviews, not only will your business rank higher in Google, but you’ll give a better first impression to potential customers.
In this article – 5 Answers to FAQs about Local SEO – we provide step-by-step guidance on how to get reviews on your Google My Business profile.
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