What if you were completely sabotaging the SEO strategy for your business?
One “rookie mistake” that many businesses make is overlooking local SEO. By doing so, you severely cut into your ability to establish a strong local brand that you can later expand.
But what is local SEO? How do you go about it, and why is it so relevant for your business? Keep reading to discover the answers!
What Is Local SEO?
Our guide is going to walk you through the best and easiest ways for your business to develop your own local SEO. Before we go any further, though, we need to answer a fundamental question: what is local SEO?
Typical search engine optimization is all about getting to the top of the results for certain searches. With good organic SEO, you can expand your brand and seriously boost your profits.
However, standard SEO is designed to reach potential customers all over the world. And while there is nothing wrong with cultivating a global business strategy, you shouldn’t ignore the customers closer to home.
And that’s what local SEO is all about: optimizing your SEO in such a way that it appeals to those who live in the area near your business.
More About How Local SEO Works
You may not think you are overly familiar with how local SEO works. But chances are that you benefit from SEO for local businesses every week without knowing it!
That is because search engines like Google take proximity into account when you conduct searches. Therefore, someone Googling “Chinese food” is going to get results for places that are nearby. And when you are traveling, you can achieve a similar result by using near me searches (like Googling “Walmart near me” to find the closest Walmart).
In short, local SEO is very convenient for average people. But if you want your business to make the most of this opportunity, you will need to use our guide to fine-tune your approach to local SEO.
What Are the Benefits of Local SEO?
Now you know a bit more about what local SEO is and how it works. But if you’re still on the fence, then you likely want an answer to a different question: what are the benefits of local SEO to your business?
The biggest benefit to local SEO is that you can increase your business by reaching out to local audiences. The vast majority of potential customers don’t want to spend more than 20 minutes to buy something they need, and so they are likelier to seek out nearby businesses. By embracing local SEO, you help more of these prospective customers know what your business is and where you are located as soon as they conduct a search.
Another benefit to local SEO is that it is fairly easy to set up. While you can spend a lot of time getting the keywords just right for local searches, the best step is also the easiest: providing your business information to Google (more on this later).
The final benefit is also simple: your business doesn’t have to choose between traditional SEO and local SEO. By embracing local SEO on top of what you are already doing, you can reach more customers than ever without sacrificing any of the customers you already have.
Are There Any Downsides of Local SEO?
Now you know about the many benefits of local SEO. At this point, you may be wondering: are there any downsides to local SEO?
Pretty much the only downside to pursuing local SEO is if you have a business that doesn’t have a brick-and-mortar store presence. For example, plenty of businesses do primarily mail-order and work out of a home or small office. If that business doesn’t have a public-facing presence, then local SEO wouldn’t do much for them.
Does your own business serve local customers? If so, it’s time to explore which businesses benefit from local SEO.
Which Businesses Benefit From Local SEO?
As we noted above, any business that serves local customers can seriously benefit from local SEO. But here are a few types of businesses that particularly benefit from this marketing strategy.
Restaurants are an obvious choice, especially if the restaurant delivers. When customers are hungry, they want to know who is close by and has the food they are looking for.
Bars and grocery stories benefit from local SEO for similar reasons. Whether someone wants a pint at the bar or to grab their own six-pack from the store, they want to go somewhere that is close to home.
Finally, any business that involves visiting customers to render service will benefit from local SEO. For example, electricians, plumbers, and locksmiths all end up making “house calls” to customers. With the right local SEO, these businesses can help customers found out which professionals are close by and ready to help.
Getting Started With Google Local SEO
By now, you should have a clear idea of whether your own business needs local SEO or not. If you’ve decided to go for, then it’s time to get started. And the first step is providing the right information to Google concerning your business.
To start, you will need to enter your information into Google My Business. Basic information includes the name of your business, the street address, your phone number, your business category, and your website.
Sounds pretty simple, right? Now, depending on what a customer searches for, Google may display important information that customers can use. And if they are using a smartphone, that same customer will be able to get GPS directions to your business or give you a call with the click of a button!
How Will Google Display Your Business?
Like other forms of search engine optimization, local SEO helps more customers to discover your business. And with Google, this is especially easy because local businesses get priority ranking for certain searches.
For instance, if you run a pizza restaurant and a customer searches “pizza near me,” Google will display three nearby pizza places in what is known as a “Snack Pack.” Importantly, these Snack Pack results appear above the normal Google search results, and a large number of potential customers are likely to choose a restaurant from the Snack Pack selections.
Long story short? By taking a few minutes to enter your Google My Business information and a few more minutes to find the right keywords for your site, you can seriously increase the foot traffic to your business from the sheer number of customers searching for nearby goods and services.
Understanding the Smartphone Factor
Earlier, we talked about how local SEO is especially beneficial to customers conducting searches on their smartphones. That is because they can click on things like your address to access Google Maps directions or on your phone number to initiate a call. Additionally, they can click on your website to learn more about your business.
And that brings us to an important point: if you haven’t done so already, you need to optimize your website for mobile users.
One rookie mistake that many businesses make is creating a website only with desktop users in mind. However, the majority of those browsing the internet now do so via mobile devices. And even more than that conducting local searches via mobile because they may be coming home from work or traveling to a new area.
As you can imagine, a website designed only for desktop users will be ugly and difficult to navigate for mobile users. And you are really shooting yourself in the foot if local SEO brings those users to your website and they cannot properly read or navigate that site.
Fortunately, you can have your cake and eat it, too, by using responsive design for your website. Responsive design effectively resizes the site to fit the screen that a user is browsing on. Therefore, such a site will look great on desktop and mobile alike!
Using the Right Keywords
So far, we have focused primarily on things like Google My Business. But to make the most out of organic SEO, you need to use the right keywords as well.
Some keywords are relatively obvious. Like, we touched on how near me searches work earlier. If you are an electrician, then you definitely want to rank for things like “electrician near me.”
However, a less obvious way to generate keywords is to combine the service that you offer with the city your business is located in. For example, “seafood in Destin” is a keyword that would help a seafood restaurant in Destin, FL reach more people.
Don’t be afraid to brainstorm related searches such a user might be conducting. For example, that same seafood restaurant may want to focus on other keywords like “shrimp in Destin” and “lobster in Destin” to lure in locals who have some very specific cravings.
Unexpected Ways to Find the Right Keywords
No matter the SEO, finding the right keywords is always the hardest part. And with local SEO, some of the best ways to find keywords are very unexpected!
For example, you can get some pretty good keyword ideas from Google’s autocomplete feature. Using the same restaurant from above, the owner could type out “seafood restaurant Destin” and see what autocomplete suggests. Because these suggestions are based on things that people actually search for, then these are good keywords to invest in.
If your city is on Craigslist, you can always visit the site and swing over to the services section and search for your type of business. Pay attention to the services these listings advertise and the adjectives they use to describe themselves. This can help you generate even more ideas for local SEO keywords.
Bing Places and Apple Maps
We have mostly focused on Google because this is what most of your potential customers will be using for searches. But to reach as many people as possible, you need to also focus on both Bing Places and Apple Maps.
Bing is the scrappy underdog rival to Google, and Bing Places is their equivalent to Google My Business. By filling out your information on Bing Places, you can rank higher in local searches for users searching via Bing. Yes, this will be a fraction of the people using Google to search, but it doesn’t hurt to cover as many avenues as possible.
Next up is providing info to Apple Maps. While plenty of users rely on Google Maps for GPS needs, the sheer number of those with an iPhone means that many of your potential customers are using Apple Maps instead. By optimizing all of your Apple Maps information, you can make it easier for customers to find you with nothing more than a Siri search request!
Get Those Citations
The final element to good local SEO is one that it not completely in your control. What are we talking about? Local citations, of course!
The more your business information appears in other places online, the more prominent you will be in local search results. But for these citations to do you any good, they will need to include your business name, address, and phone number. Because of that, the right citations are sometimes referred to as NAP citations.
What can you do about citations? To some degree, you can request that other sites add your NAP information. Similar to requesting backlinks, having more sites with your info out there helps more customers discover your business.
It’s also important to check the sites that have your existing NAP information for clarity. If multiple sites (especially prominent sites) are giving out incorrect information, it can confuse both Google and your customers. But if enough sites have correct NAP citations, it can help more customers than ever discover you via Google and social media alike!
Your Next Move
Now you have an answer to the question “what is local SEO?” But do you know who can help take your SEO to the next level?
Here at PayPerClickAuthority, we specialize in SEO, social media advertisement, PPC, and so much more. To see how we can help your business succeed, just contact us today!