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Local SEO : The Smarter Way to Promote Your Business

September 30, 2020

Written by Marcy Beuses

With a passion for seeing small businesses succeed, Marcy Beuses has two years experience writing content driven articles that are focused on driving conversions and marketing for all start-ups.

What can Local SEO do for you?

Your digital space allows your brand to be seen by people all over the world. However, local SEO allows your brand to target a more narrow audience. Your community members are always looking for new places to visit or new restaurants to try. Over the past few years, “near me” or “close by” search queries have grown more than 900%! Why wouldn’t you want in on that?

Using local SEO for your brand is important, now more than ever. More people are looking for new experiences on the go, and if you’re not in their top results, the odds of them visiting your establishment can be very small.

But how do you use this practice? Local SEO is a simple idea, but can be a little complicated once you look a little deeper. Every brick-and-mortar establishment can benefit from this practice, but where do you start?

Local SEO fact : "near me" or "close by" search queries have grown more than 900%

What is Local SEO?

If you have ever looked up a brick-and-mortar business into a search engine, you have seen local SEO in action. Local SEO can be a powerful tool for your business that you may not be tapping into yet.

However, in order to really harness the power of local SEO, you must remember that even though you usually have one search engine, there are tons of other search engines that you could be tapping into.

Let’s Start with the Basics

Have you ever entered a “coffee shop near me” in a search engine bar? Most likely, you will see something called “a local pack” which consists of three local businesses. This will include the information like the establishment’s address and ranking.

In the past, search engines like Google have included up to 5 businesses in the local pack. However now, we only get 3 businesses, otherwise you have to click the “see more” button to see the business you might be looking for.

A screenshot from Google that shows local SEO in action, with a local pack for coffee shops near me

How Does Local SEO Work?

You may be asking, how do search engines choose which businesses to feature in this coveted space? Unfortunately, these spots do not rotate to feature everyone. The businesses displayed here

Search engines want to give their visitors the best quality information as fast as possible, this shows that they can be trusted and are knowledgeable to keep them coming back. So they use the website’s relevance to the visitor’s queries. Think of it this way, if you were looking for a coffee shop on Google, but only found ice cream shops, you would be very upset. Search engines understand this.

Relevance refers to how much the content of a website that corresponds to the search term used. So if you do sell coffee but also ice cream (like the above example), you need to make sure that your website talks about both.

Why is Local SEO Important?

Local SEO is a vital part of your brick and mortar business. According to Google, almost 50% of people searching for local businesses in their search engine visited those same businesses that showed up on top of their results that same day.

What this means is that people made simple searches, such as “bakeries near me”, “best pizza place in (town name)”, or “chiropractors in (city name)” and were able to find and connect with some businesses in the same day. Meaning, with the simple act of utilizing local SEO, one of those searches could be your business!

Local SEO is important because people are actively looking for your type of business. Making sure your contact information is accurate and available to those who want them is vital, and could potentially lead to more customers.

local SEO fact: almost 50% of people searching for local businesses in their search engine visited those same businesses

Know what your Customers are Looking for

4 in 5 consumers conduct local searches on search engines with the goal of finding your phone number, business hours, address, email, or website information. This is why it is so important for all your information to be consistent, accurate, and available.

Another important feature that greatly influences local SEO, is the ability to make a decision based on the reviews that business has as an average. These can be found on Google, Yelp, Facebook, and other sites relevant to your type of business.

92% of consumers now read online reviews. The social proof that a high review score has on potential customers is very important, and can directly affect your Local SEO marketing strategy.

Local SEO fact: 4 in 5 customers conduct local searches on search engines with the goal of finding your phone number, business hours, address, email, or website information.

Who Benefits from Local SEO?

Many businesses can benefit from Local SEO, but let’s be honest, some have a better advantage than others due to the circumstances at hand. Businesses who are able to show a phone number to call for emergencies or a business that is the closest to your location are great reasons why Local SEO is so beneficial.

Lawyers

Lawyers and firms are a great example due to the fact that they can simply show their firm’s phone number to allow people to call in and get quick advice and a free consultation. The ability to have a button ready to go, rather than typing a whole phone number, makes the process way easier than before.

Restaurants and Medical Practices

Restaurants and Medical practices enjoy the benefit of true Local SEO for one simple reason, most of us do not want to drive hours to find a place to get what we need. We can simply search for what we want, and enjoy the convenience of proximity. The greatest taco spot or the best physical therapist could be just around the corner.

It is important to note that some ventures won’t enjoy the benefit of local SEO. E-Commerce sites, government centers, and private centers are all examples of establishments who prefer to have their information hidden or private from the public.

The best way to benefit from a Local SEO strategy, is to understand the type of business you have, make it easy to connect to your customers, and establish a competitive edge.

In order to grow your business and enjoy the benefits of a local search, you must rank higher than the competition while focusing on key factors that Google uses to rank higher.

How Can Your Business Rank?

So, you may be saying to yourself, “I get what local SEO is, but how can I rank with it?”. Easy, search engines look for 3 key factors: relevance, distance and prominence. Think about it, if you are at work, and type in “restaurants that deliver” compared to typing that in at home, you’re going to get different answers at each place.

Since 46% of all Google searches are looking for local information, you want to make sure that you are putting your best foot forward. Don’t miss out on the traffic you could be getting through this.

Relevance

First and foremost, you need to make sure that your website is optimized for whatever it is that you are providing. Make sure that your website content and Google My Business shows what you do! Be clear and concise with this information. If you are a coffee shop, make it known.

Distance

This is specifically for targeting a local audience. You wouldn’t want a coffee shop 75 miles from you, no matter how great it is.

Prominence

This refers to how well known your business is. Everything from backlinks to directories can factor into this. The more your brand is known the higher up you will rank.

Also factored in are your reviews on Google. The more positive reviews you have, the higher your ranking will most likely be. If you don’t have any reviews, that’s okay! Start now. Ask every customer that makes a purchase to leave a 5 star review. Odds are there will be at least a few who remember. You can also offer coupons to anyone who leaves a review, or something in return for their time.

Auditing Your Digital Presence

The word audit can be daunting if you’re not familiar with what you are auditing. But that doesn’t take away from its importance! Auditing your digital presence for local SEO doesn’t have to be a difficult chore you have been avoiding.

With the age of the internet, your business is all over the web, and it is up to you to make sure that you are being shown in the same way. There are several different ways to audit your local SEO, but let’s start with the basics.

?The Basics of Your Local SEO Audit

Like most things, this can easily get overwhelming. For this, you should start small. To keep things simple, there are three key points to keep in mind when starting your audit. In this next section, we are going to be focusing on Google and Google My Business.

Eligibility

It seems simple, but you have to make sure that you are eligible to utilize local SEO. There is no point in going through the audit process if you’re not. In order to truly benefit from local SEO, you should ask these five questions :

Do you provide your service at a physical location?

Is your business a brick-and-mortar location, or do your customers have to go to your location in order to get your service/product? This is the most important question to answer yes to.

Do you provide your service at a customer’s location?

Do you provide services like landscaping or construction where you have to go to the customer’s location to complete your service?

Is your business only virtual/online?

If you don’t have a physical location that your customers can visit, then local SEO might not be the best strategy for you.

Is your listing address your home address?

Are running a business out of your home? Its okay to utilize local SEO, as long as you are okay if a customer shows up!

Is your listing address at an unstaffed virtual office?

Your customers may try to visit your location, if there is no one there, Local SEO might not be a good fit for your SEO strategy.

Keyword Stuffing

Keyword stuffing can affect your rankings on search engines with a normal SEO strategy, but it can also hurt your local SEO. Keyword stuffing is when you load your web page with keywords or numbers in an attempt to boost your site’s rankings on Google. This can be anything from grouping your keywords, or even putting them out of context.

Does your GMB (Google My Business) listing match the legal business name?

Consistency is key here. If your customers look your business up and they see another name, odds are, people are going to go to the next result. You need to make sure that if you show up on any directories (think yelp and the yellow pages), your information is the same across the board.

Is there any keyword stuffing in your listing name?

You have to make sure that your GMB name matches your company’s name. You should not be stuffing in any other words to try to boost your rankings. It most likely won’t work and will probably end up with Google penalizing your website.

Individual Practitioner : Includes company’s name in the business listing field

This is really for a company that services several different areas. You may offer carpet cleaning services to different cities around your state. If this sounds like your business, you need to make sure that you are not competing with yourself when trying to rank.

Reviews

How many times have you looked up a business and saw horrible reviews for them, and decided not to go there because of those reviews? Reviews provide your customers with the information to help them make decisions and hopefully purchases.

Incentives provided for reviews?

If you don’t have any reviews on your GMB or your site, that’s okay! But you have to start sooner than later. You can try offering a coupon or or discount for people who have reviewed your services. Let your customers shout your name to their friends and family. Your customers can be your biggest mouthpiece if you show them that they are useful to you.

Owner or current employees generated reviews?

If you are starting out with no reviews, do not think that it is okay for you to have your employees or yourself leave a review. If your future customers find out, they could see this as dishonest and not trust your brand. Be genuine and truthful, and if you’re still looking for reviews, offer incentives to your first customers.

Company has negatively reviewed competition?

This one is straightforward, do not write bad reviews on your competition. It is a bad tactic that if found out, could be detrimental to your brand.

Once you answer these questions, you can choose to dive deeper into your GMB categories, auditing your URL to more consistently show your brand’s name or even diving deeper into your reviews. Make sure that you are keeping all of the information consistent and concise in order to fully utilize local SEO to the fullest.

Local SEO fact : reviews provide your customers with the information to help them make decisions and hopefully purchase.

Are you ready to take a crack at local SEO?

So many businesses can benefit from auditing and taking a good look into their local SEO. It may take a bit of time, but your business should be utilizing it to its fullest potential. So, Are you ready to get in on the more than 28% of local searches that become purchases with local SEO?

If you need help getting into the world of local SEO, contact us today for a free quote, and take your brand to new heights.

Adrimedia is a full service graphic design studio located in Orlando, Florida. Bringing brand identity to Florida is a passion for us all. Let us help your business be the very best it can be. Read more from us or Contact us at: [email protected] or follow us on Facebook and Instagram @Adrimediadesign.

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