Search Engine Optimization (SEO) refers to enhancing your website’s visibility to get more user engagement when they search for a particular phrase, service or product. This helps your website stand out from other websites swarming the internet today.
Search engines like Yahoo, Microsoft Edge, and Google take into account several factors that form your ‘digital footprint’ to identify whether your business provides what a user is looking for. Additionally, each element is given a separate value to judge whether your website is trustworthy and authentic.
What is local SEO? How does it work? Find out how to optimize your business for local search and capitalize on the top 3 factors that matter the most.
What is Local SEO?
However, marketers may employ a more specific strategy that may be necessary for better results. Local SEO enables a business to stand out in the local search results of search engines like Google. This helps your business target consumers from an exact geographic location or neighbourhood.
Moreover, Google has updated its algorithm to calculate the distance of each business from the location of the user, which shows them the company closest to them.
For example, if a customer searches for ‘Japanese food’ near them, Google will show them a list of restaurants serving Japanese food in their neighbourhood. Being on that list could help boost your sales substantially if you serve Japanese food.
In fact, as per Google statistics, 76% of people who conduct a local search on their smartphone visit a business in no less than 24 hours. 28% of those searches result in purchases for the product/service.
Top 3 Benefits of Local SEO – You Must Know!
Local SEO enables your business to be more accessible and easily found by customers who live in your geographical area. But this is not the only best thing about it. Here are three other reasons why Local SEO is essential for your business:
- Your Business is Easily Found: A few decades ago, individuals would rely on street vendors and local shopkeepers to point them in the direction of a restaurant or shop. Today, however, 86% of individuals rely on Google Maps to direct them to the exact location of the place they need to go to. Additionally, 61% of users stated that they search locally on a daily basis.
- More Significant Number of Conversions: Local SEO directs people to engage with your website at a greater rate. This increase in traffic could lead to a rise in conversions where users like, subscribe, share, or purchase your products and services. A survey found that 83% of users try to learn about various businesses near them through Google Search.
- In the age of Google, users do not need to visit your website for them to become consumers of your products and services. This is because they are able to access information about your business from Google’s search results, or they can view your location on Google Maps.
- Builds your Reputation: For your business to grow, it needs to be seen. A Local SEO survey highlights how 82% of users spend up to 14 minutes reading online reviews for local stores/businesses before they make a decision. A good reputation would thus motivate users who find your business on local searches to visit your store or try your products or services at least once.
- Conversely, to boost your business’s local SEO rank and build a popular public profile, your business needs to acquire new customer reviews at a steady rate. Reviews and ratings are thus a win-win for your business.
Also Read: Top 10+ Huge Benefits of Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
How Does Local SEO Work?
Back when the internet was introduced, there were relatively few websites. However, soon multiple websites were launched, and the internet began to expand.
Search engines were created to allow people to find the sites more easily. When a user types something on Google, for example, ‘how to make money?’, the search engine goes through ranking factors to find the most relevant websites for your search. The aim is to help users find sites that match their search more easily. However, many people do not know that Google is searching through a stored copy of these sites found by ‘spiders’.
Spiders are programmed bots that crawl through websites and copy all their information onto an Index. To create this Index, each spider starts from a single page on a single website and follows any link it finds on that page. After it has copied the content on that page, it goes on to the following link and so on. Each website copied is stored on Google’s servers and can be accessed by users almost instantaneously.
To better understand this, imagine the Google Index as a library and a spider as its librarian. The spider acquires various books (websites) to store in its library.
Whenever someone wants to take out a book to search for specific content, the spider takes into account several ranking factors to order the pages and provides you with options that best answer your questions. While your school librarian might not have given you some good book recommendations, the spiders work quickly to provide you with up-to-date information.
This helped Google dominate other search engines because of creating links between websites, indicating trust and authority.
Google’s Local Ranking Factors
Google allows businesses with a physical presence to create a Business Profile. When a user searches for a product or service, each Business Profile is given a local rank based on three factors. Here’s how Google determines local ranking:
- Relevance: According to Google, the significance of a Business Profile is determined by how well it matches with what a user has searched for. One Local SEO strategy while creating your Business Profile is that you should use appropriate keywords. Try to add as much detail about your business as you can. This will help your business match with relevant searches and lead to a more significant number of conversions.
- Distance: The distance is calculated based on how far each business is from the user’s location or the location they have searched for. Therefore, if a user searches for ‘Ice cream near India Gate’, they will be given a list of ice cream shops near India Gate along with the distances of each shop from the location. The closest shop will be given the highest ranking in this case.
- Prominence: A business’s reputation is determined by how well-known and popular Google considers that company to be based on its online and offline popularity.
But how does Google decide that your website will appear on the first page of search results? It searches for unique ranking signals such as the location of the customer, keywords used in the Business Profile, how customers have reviewed the business, how many times the company has been ‘shared’ or tagged on social media, and the number of ‘check-ins’ that Google has received from that location.
How to Maximise Local SEO for your Business? [Top 7 Tips]
Search engines utilize information from websites, social media, and citations to provide accurate and relevant information to users from across the globe.
To improve the Local SEO of your business, you need to complete several marketing activities frequently. These are some activities for which you could allocate your businesses resources:
1. Optimizing your Business Profile
Make sure you do not forget about your Business Profile after creating one. Contact numbers, opening hours, menu, and location should be regularly updated. Not only does this help potential customers engage with your business, but it also generates a positive user experience crucial to your business’s future.
Other activities that could help you optimize your Business Profile include:
- Adding photos and videos.
- Responding to questions.
- Encouraging customers to share Google reviews and respond to them.
2. Build Local Citations
You can build local citations by adding the details of your business, such as the name, address, phone number, and link to the website, on online listings like business directories or review websites.
Please be sure that all the information you provide is consistent across all platforms. Some business directories that you can create a listing on are Foursquare, YELP, Google+, LinkedIn, and Local. This benefits your business by bringing in more traffic and conversions.
3. Collect Local Reviews
If your business has received positive reviews and recommendations on Google and other search engines, it will be given a higher local ranking. This is because positive reviews help authenticate the quality of service and products the business provides. You can encourage customers to leave a review for your business through emails or ask them to give you a rating after purchasing your product or service.
Responding to reviews is equally beneficial. Whether the review is negative or positive, responding to customers’ concerns shows potential customers that you care about their expectations.
4. Optimizing your Website
The most important and valuable way to enhance your website is to create valuable and informative content. Using keywords appropriate to your products and services will make them more relevant and visible to potential customers. Additionally, building internal links among the content you put out is an excellent Local SEO strategy to improve your business’s local rankings on Google.
Another essential feature is making your website mobile-friendly to ensuring customers have a positive user experience. To make your website attractive, you should use high-quality images relevant to your content and locality.
5. Conduct Local SEO Audits
To ensure a smooth growth curve for your business, you must remember that Local SEO is an ongoing process. This means you must update your Business Profile regularly and post high-quality content on your website and social media. A Local SEO audit could include the following:
- Does your business’s Google My Business appear on the search results page?
- Have you built local links that make your website easy to surf?
- Is your information across directories and listings consistent?
- What does the local standing of your competition look like?
- Is your website gaining traffic? Are customers interacting with your website through likes, shares, or subscriptions?
6. Generate Local Content
You need to be relatable to the local population to improve your local rankings. Putting out available content will attract a crowd from different parts of the world and may, thus, not guarantee a sale of your products and services. For example, if you are a law firm based out of India, your website could include content and fun facts related to the Indian Constitution. This will appeal to the Indian population, who is your target audience.
In case your business functions out of two different locations, it is advised that you either create two separate websites or two separate pages for each site. This will help you generate content specific to each region effectively.
7. Add a Touch of Journalism
Local news agencies and media houses always look for new stories from the neighbourhood. Each of them has a website that you could target getting recommendations or reviews from. Organizing events, having a ‘grand opening’ or calling guests is bound to get a beat reporter to cover the entire thing and talk about it online. You could send news agencies an email mentioning the event and wait for them to get back to you.
Bounce Read: Top 20 SEO Growth Hacking Techniques [For Any Business]
This guide to Local SEO should’ve helped you gain a clearer picture of what it is, how it works, how local rankings are given and what are some strategies you can adopt to dominate the online space.
You must build an ecosystem for your business’s digital footprint by capitalizing on some of the unique ranking signals mentioned above. While many factors affect how well your business does in the online space, don’t get overwhelmed and put a pause on Local SEO in the initial stages of growing your business. Remember that it is an ongoing process requiring you to adapt to changes made by Google and the industry.
If you are still new to the world of Local SEO, you should try to optimize your business in each area by giving special and focused attention. This will help you effectively serve users and potential customers in your neighbourhood or city and help your business grow successfully.
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