Search engine optimization (SEO) has become a common way for businesses to increase website traffic and awareness. Working internally and externally, it puts businesses higher on Google searches and gets them more known to others. Unfortunately, the biggest issue with SEO is that it can be very costly, especially to get results. That is why Local SEO has become a great option, especially for small, local businesses. If your customers or clients are international or even nationwide, a bigger plan would be better. However, if your customers are generally located in the same area, Local SEO might be perfect for your company.
Did you know that 45% of Google searches are done locally and intended for local businesses? Forbes conducted a study showing that 95% of people used their phones to search for local businesses and about half of those either called or visited. Another study showed that 88% of users who searched for local businesses called or visited within 24 hours.
What is Local SEO?
Local SEO is a concentrated Search Engine Optimization plan that specializes in local searches and results. Although the statistics above are impressive, the truth of the matter is that you are not going to get those results if you are not at the top of a search. Local SEO is strategic and focuses on a few key aspects that matter. It uses the general area of your customers or clients and utilizes a few keywords to get to the top of a search engine results page. With Local SEO, you will not receive half as many searches as the big corporations who spend thousands on SEO plans. However, as you can see from the Forbes study, the searches that you do get count and tend to turn into customers.
Is Local SEO Right for My Business?
Local SEO tends to be beneficial for most small businesses with local clients/customers. Though it is important to note that Local SEO can still help your business obtain customers/clients from outside of your general area. That is why it’s great for businesses in the hospitality industry, i.e., hotels and restaurants. People from other locations will be researching restaurants or places to stay in a different area. Therefore, someone from New York visiting family in Ohio will be searching for hotels and restaurants in that area, even though that is not where they are currently located. Local SEO is also great for those in the medical field, like doctors and dentists with local practices as well as lawyers. It is also lucrative for those in services industries, such as plumbers, electricians, hair salons, florists, etc., since their customers all tend to be local as well.
Where do the Results Appear?
Local SEO search results appear right under the Google/Bing PPC ads. They are in a box and show the name of the business, an image, the industry, the average star rating, etc. There is an option for the user to view all the local search results but initially, only the top three show up on the search. These three are usually what the users end up clicking, especially if they are not looking for anything specific. Below the box is the organic search results. Many people do tend to look through organic search results so it’s important to make sure that your organic keywords are strong and performing well.
It is also a good idea to make sure your Google My Business profile is up and running properly (note if your business doesn’t have a Google My Business profile, create one immediately. Not only does it look unprofessional without one, but until the business is claimed, anybody can claim it and write whatever they want about your business. Once someone has claimed a business, it is very difficult and takes a long time to remove them). Make sure that all the information is up to date and that there are images of the inside and outside of the company building. Google My Business aids in Local SEO efforts and it’s free. Additionally, if a business address isn’t there or updated properly, that business will not appear when someone in their location searches “near me.”
Why it’s Important
Local SEO can finally get your website where it needs to be and yield success. As previously stated, users who search with local intent tend to end up contacting or visiting the business. Think about it; when you are looking for a place to eat, you might search “Italian food near me” or search the name of the town you are visiting (if you are traveling outside of your area). You will then click on one of the first restaurants that appear when you search. As long as you are pleased with the menu, reviews, etc., you will probably head over there to eat. Local searches are instant and because of that, they are very important. Utilizing a Local SEO program can help. Imagine how much business you could obtain if you were at the top of that search and more than half of the people who searched “Italian food near me” ended up eating at your restaurant, with the possibility of them becoming regular customers. This proves that Local SEO truly pays for itself when you think of all the revenue you can obtain. If you are interested in our Local SEO program, give us a call.