Local SEO (Local Search Engine Optimization) is an extremely effective way to market your products and services to, you guessed it, a local audience.
Four out of five consumers use local search to find information about local businesses. Think about that- if you’re not optimized for local SEO, you could be missing out on 80% of potential customers. Let’s dive in and find out more about local SEO and why it’s important to include it in your digital strategy.
GOOGLE MY BUSINESS
If you only take away one thing from this article, this is the most important: Claim and update your Google My Business page! Only 44% of businesses have claimed their Google My Business listing– are you one of the 56% that’s missing out?
Having a Google My Business page is the number one, most important ranking factor for local results. In a previous post, we discussed how to update your Google My Business listing. Refer to that post for instructions on how to claim your listing and what information to include.
Onsite SEO refers to creating content on your website that is search engine friendly. The goal of your onsite SEO should be to make it as easy as possible for search engines and users alike to understand what the page is all about.
Include content in your website that your customers want. Sounds pretty self explanatory, right? Provide your users with a reason to visit your website, and reasons to keep coming back. Designate keywords and phrases that are relevant to your company and industry.
Consider writing about local content on your blog or elsewhere on your website to increase your website localization (keep reading to learn what that is).
Optimize your title, meta description and headers
How you optimize your page has a lot to do with how easily Google finds you. Each page should have a keyword or phrase specified, and include this in your title and meta descriptions. Use header tags in your content, and include these keywords if possible.
Make your website mobile friendly
Mobile devices are responsible for 52% of web traffic and account for nearly two out of three minutes spent online! So, it goes without saying that your site needs to be mobile friendly. Use Google’s Mobile Friendly Test to check your site. Nine out of ten smartphone users conduct local searches on their devices. Let that sink in. In case you weren’t convinced of the importance of a mobile friendly website, hopefully you are now.
Here are some other impressive stats:
- 67% of smartphone users are more likely to purchase from companies whose mobile sites or apps customize information to their location (Google, 2019)
- 70% of smartphone users who bought something in a store first turned to their phone for information about a purchase (Google, 2017)
- 46% of people say they would not purchase from a brand again if they had an interruptive mobile experience (Google, 2017)
Consistent NAP usage
When we talk about NAP, we’re not talking about catching a midday snooze. NAP stands for Name, Address, Phone Number. Also referred to as Website Localization, this is an important way to get your website recognized by search engines. This information should not be in an image on your site; it needs to be in text format so search engines can find it. The most common place for this information is on your footer. If you’re looking for further website localization, embed a Google Map on your site.
Offsite SEO refers to anything not on your website that supports your local SEO efforts. Google My Business, online directories, external websites featuring your NAP, etc.
SERPS & The Google 3-Pack
When a search engine understands a search to be done with ‘local intent’ (46% of searches are), it will generate a local search engine results page (SERP). The Google 3-Pack is how Google displays the top three search results, using the user’s location. For instance, if you typed ‘restaurants’ or ‘restaurants near me’ into Google, it will display the top three restaurants closest to your location. This is pulled directly from Google My Business pages, so if your listing isn’t claimed and updated, it will not show up.
What is a citation? It’s any online mention of your name, address and phone number (NAP). These include:
- Online directories, local government or chamber of commerce sites
- Review and referral sites such as Yelp, Thumbtack, HomeAdvisor, etc.
- Social media profiles
It is very important that your name, address and phone number all appear consistently on these sites to maximize your local SEO. Many sites will also have additional fields for website, email, business hours, etc., and be sure this is always kept updated.
As mentioned above, online reviews are an important party of citation building. So important, in fact, that we are going to talk about them in more depth.
Think about the last time you purchased a product or service. Did you first read an online review? If you didn’t, chances are your friends and family did: 82% of consumers read online reviews for local businesses! And 91% of consumers say that positive reviews make them more likely to use a business. Encourage your customers to leave online reviews on Google and any other sites that are relevant to your business. A business with many positive Google reviews has higher visibility and a greater chance of making it on the Google 3-Pack.
Conversely, poor ratings have a similarly large impact. 82% of consumers are less likely to use a business if they have negative reviews. Do you have some negative online reviews? All hope is not lost- Reputation Management goes a long way to win over the customer. A whopping 97% of review readers take in businesses’ responses to reviews, so make sure you are regularly monitoring your reviews and responding to them appropriately.
Update your Google My Business if you haven’t already, and take your local SEO seriously. Don’t assume that purely by existing you will appear on the front page of Google searches and the 3-Pack. You’re going to need to roll up your sleeves and get to work. But, if that sounds like more than you’re willing to bite off, give the experts at Blindspot a call! We know local SEO and what it takes to boost it.