Sep 21, 2022
As a small or local business, it can be difficult to compete with big brands when it comes to being found on Google searches. As larger businesses (with bigger budgets) target the keywords you want to rank for, it can seem difficult to get to the top of search engine results pages (SERPs) to drive traffic and click-through. But, there is a way!
Local Search Engine Optimization (SEO) can help your business be more visible in search results on Google. For example, if you’re a restaurant, hairdresser or hotel, local SEO could be your way to get found online to increase bookings and sales.
After all, customers today go online to research, find reviews and purchase. An Accenture report found that during the Covid-19 pandemic, 56 percent of consumers shopped in neighborhood stores or bought locally sourced products. This is set to continue in the long-term according to 79 percent and 84 percent of customers.
This means that businesses - particularly small ones - need to be present online to gain visibility and provide information that drives people to take an action such as making a booking or requesting more information.
In this blog, we will look at why local SEO is important and what exactly it is, how to create a local SEO strategy, and tips on how to boost the online visibility of your business. And of course, we’ll look at some examples of businesses that have made the most of local SEO.
Before we delve into how to make the most of local SEO, let’s look at it and the difference between local and national or international SEO.
When you use SEO, the aim is to improve your website so it moves up search rankings and gets found by your target audience. With local SEO it’s about using local terms or keywords so you get in front of people searching for a service or product in your area or locality.
The wonderful thing about SEO is that you can make it work for your business. For example, national SEO (also known as traditional SEO) is focused on optimizing your site to rank for keyword terms at a nationwide or national level. So if you’re in the United States, the keywords you use will have a U.S focus.
International SEO on the other hand focuses on geo-targeting and language targeting. So the results are the traditional SEO results shown to people using Google but they are located in a country or region that’s different from the location of the business or website.
In comparison, local SEO is very targeted and specific to a location. Local SEO results come in two forms:
A recent Milestone study found that 69 percent of website traffic is local and organic providing your business with great scope to get noticed if you know what to do. Plus, according to Google, mobile queries using ‘where to buy’ and ‘near me’ keywords increased by over 200 percent in the last two years!
How can local SEO help businesses? Local SEO can help your business climb up Google’s search rankings to attract people that are looking for your service. You can also use Google My Business (now called Google Business Profile) which is a directory that offers you a way to display business information on local searches and Google Maps.
You may be wondering what kind of business needs local SEO. The answer is any business in a local area that has contact with customers. It’s not only about driving sales or revenue. you can use local SEO to build brand awareness or provide information (or solutions) that provides value.
Before you can improve your local SEO, you need to figure out where your business stands right now. The first step to doing this is to conduct an audit of your local SEO.
So what are the things you should look at?
Once you’ve conducted a local SEO audit, you should have a great overview of your website. Not only will you have identified areas to improve on but also areas that you perform well in which you can then capitalize on in this next phase.
When it comes to local SEO for small businesses, it’s a long game so expect the process to take some time to bear fruit but don’t just do it and leave it as is. For SEO you need to constantly monitor performance and make tweaks to maintain and improve your SERP rankings. So, how do you increase your local rankings?
Some ranking signals can determine how your business appears on SERPs. For local SEO, those signals include
The best way to guide your local SEO activities is to have a strategy. A local SEO strategy will help you to build brand awareness, increase rankings, drive traffic and boost leads. You can do this by
There are also a lot of bloggers out there, so see if there are any in your location or that specialize in your niche that may want a guest blog or give you a shout-out in an upcoming article for a quote. Check out this guest blogging guide and toolkit to see what’s involved.
Here are some of the SEO tools out there that can help you to optimize your website for ranking.
As mentioned above, the most effective way to use local SEO is to localize your content. That includes your website, custom landing pages, blogs or FAQ pages, and basically, any content that your customer will see or hear (voice search is on the rise and very focused on local content).
Here’s an example from Denny’s that uses a customized landing page to provide information about their Florida branch.
You can also create an experience around a location like the Marriott Hotel in New York. It focuses on the city and what it has to offer and ties it to its location and accommodation.
You can also create a blog based around a location to tap into keywords but also show authority. Location-specific blogs are a great way to achieve this as they help to match a person’s search intent with the content. Expedia uses its blog effectively to feature locations through engaging content that drives traffic and conversions.
Check out some tools and templates for successful blog posts to create your own.
Local events are another way to attract a local audience. Bronx Zoo has a dedicated page for its events along with exhibits and experiences to tap into local searches.
SEO is a simple and effective way to get your brand and content seen by your audience. DMI has partnered with Neil Patel to offer you a Search Marketing course that will cover paid search campaigns, SEO optimization, demand generation, search analytics, and much more. Reserve your place today!