Access recently conducted a survey, which found that more than 92% of consumers won’t travel more than 20 minutes to purchase their day-to-day essentials. That’s reason enough for companies of any size to invest in local search engine optimization (SEO). If that number alone didn’t get your attention, let’s take a step back and explore local SEO in a broader context so you can better understand why it matters.
What is Local SEO?
Local SEO is a marketing technique that optimizes your online presence for better search results when people are searching for companies within specific communities. This strategy helps ensure your business is more visible in local search results. Any company that has a physical location or serves a geographic region can benefit from local SEO.
Who Uses Local SEO Most?
If you have a brick-and-mortar location that offers products, or if you provide services to your local community, you’re someone who should be using local SEO.
Any local SEO company you talk to will tell you it’s not about the type or size of business you run; instead, it’s about optimizing your web presence to help people nearby find you when they’re looking for you. Local SEO services can be used for all sorts of businesses, including coffee shops and restaurants, landscapers, and everyone in between.
Long story short, local business SEO is great for any company that has a customer base located primarily in the same city or area where its business is located.
How Does Local SEO Work?
Let’s say you search for a “local SEO company near me.” What pops up?
You’ll likely see digital marketing firms in your neighboring vicinity offering local SEO services. This happens for a few reasons:
First, if you have location settings enabled on your device, Google automatically plugs your location into its database to return search results that are most relevant to your needs. Second, the firms you’re seeing at the top of your search results have likely put a good amount of work into their Google Business profiles while incorporating great keywords into their webpages and content. Together, this combination brings you to the companies Google sees as the most reputable or best fit for your needs.
Now, let’s say you want that to happen when someone else searches for the products or services your company provides. If you’re using local search engine optimization services, you’ll be helping Google scan through its index to give the best results for that person’s query.
However, local SEO works slightly differently from other types of Google searches because it uses a different set of ranking factors to rank local search results. As you examine local SEO importance, you’ll come to realize these unique ranking factors play into where your company is placed in the search results pages (SERPs):
- The location that the person is searching from
- NAP citations
- Presence of a Google My Business listing
- Keywords used in Google My Business profile
- Sentiment of online reviews
- Keywords used in online reviews
- Number of “check-ins” at that location
- Shares on social media
- Google Maps star rating for that business
Benefits of SEO
The SEO benefits to local businesses are far-reaching. The following are just a few of the small business SEO benefits we think you should know about as you embark on your journey:
1. More Relevant Traffic
When you optimize your site for local search, you can help the search engines understand who you are, what you’re all about, and where you’re located. This, in turn, allows you to deliver more targeted traffic to your website (and physical location) because Google will understand how to correlate your business with specific search terms.
When you target local consumers, you’re encouraging engagement from people who are more likely to visit your brand — in-person or online. The goal is to eliminate audiences who are unlikely to convert into paying customers so you can focus your energies on the people most likely to be paying your bills after they get to know you.
2. Builds Trust and Authority
People assume that high-ranking businesses have been vetted by Google and are trustworthy companies.
If you can manage to gain a top spot on the SERPs, you’ll encourage your audience to trust your brand. This top-ranking position also portrays your brand as an authority in your industry and elevates your level of appeal to potential customers.
3. Improves Online Visibility
The top five results of Google garner most of the clicks from searchers (excluding paid ads featured at the top of the page).
If your company isn’t appearing in those top five positions, your audience likely doesn’t even know you exist. If you make it to the first page but are not in the coveted top-five slots, you’ll still have a shot at getting noticed, but not nearly as much as landing a top-of-the-page position. If you’re on page two or later, you’ve pretty much fallen into a dark hole.
Digital marketing for local companies is specifically designed to help you crack the code and gain your spot in the top organic results so you can improve your brand’s chances of being discovered.
4. Builds a Community
Why use local SEO? Well, let’s be honest — if it’s going to bring you more customers, why wouldn’t you?
Companies and customers are coming together, understanding the importance of building communities and keeping local economies alive. When your company starts to make an effort to link to other local businesses, you’ll soon see the effects, both online and off.
Refer your customers to local companies that offer relevant services, and those businesses will likely do the same for you in return. Your customers will trust referrals from other companies with whom they’ve already developed a relationship, so the process is really win-win-win for all involved.
Contact Zero Gravity Marketing
Looking for the digital marketing agency CT companies love and trust? You’ve come to the right place. Touch base with our team at ZGM today to see how we can help you improve your local SEO efforts!