Have you been hearing the term, local SEO a bit too often lately? If you are a business owner, we are sure many people around you must have suggested you to invest in this marketing technique. Statistics reveal that 80% of local searches result in conversion. So, having local SEO can increase your conversion rate big time. If you are thinking about inculcating this strategy but aren't sure whether it is worth your money and effort then this piece of writing is a must read for you. All your doubts and apprehensions about local SEO will be cleared by the time you finish reading this article. So, let's get started!
What is Local SEO?
Local SEO helps optimize business’ online visibility for specific geographical location. Local SEO strategies help local customers find and locate businesses in their vicinity. This is an effective strategy to attract local customers and grow business. It bridges the gap between the consumers and service providers and proves to be beneficial for both parties.
The Inception of Local SEO
The need to provide local search results was first felt back in the year, 2003. Businesses realized how important this technique was for them to flourish. Local searches have improved over the years owing to the many strategies introduced from time to time. A major breakthrough in this direction happened in the year 2014 when Google launched Google My Business (GMB). A great initiative by the search engine giant, GMB allows businesses to create business listings on Google.
You must have seen that as you conduct local search on Google, two different search results are shown. These are local SEO 3 pack results and regular organic results. The boxed area that appears on the first page of search engine results is the local SEO 3 pack. It shows the local business' Google My Business listing. Here, you get the top three local businesses that are most relevant as per your search query. So, it helps you find local businesses with ease.
All the necessary information such as the address, contact number and website of the businesses are available on GMB. It also provides reviews and ratings of the business. Thus, it does not only help you find businesses in your area but also assists in taking better decisions about which one to go for.
Moreover, businesses can interact with customers through this platform. They can also expand their presence using GMB insights. It provides information about where the customers are coming from and how they reached them.
Advantages of Local SEO
We have just learnt what is local SEO, when it started and that it proves to be advantageous for both businesses as well as consumers. Now, let us have a look at the various advantages attached to local SEO and why businesses must inculcate this strategy.
Large Number of Searches Occur with Local Intent
Research shows that 46% of Google searches are made with local intent. This is especially when one is looking for a service such as that rendered by an electrician, plumber, carpenter, etc. It is also true when one is looking for clinics, labs and restaurants. Businesses that have their site optimized as per local search engine certainly have a higher chance of attracting greater customers.
Get an Edge Over your Competitors
Google My Business (GMB) listing is an essential part of local SEO. Businesses that have registered on it are experiencing an increase in their web traffic. GMB list grabs the attention of the users looking for addresses and contact details of businesses in their area. This content receives numerous clicks as it is most relevant to the searched query.
Now, the good news is that around 56% of local retailers do not have their name included in this list. Most of the businesses haven’t even optimized their business using other local SEO strategies.
So, having your name listed on GMB and incorporating other Local SEO techniques will give you an edge over your competitors. Large number of people will be able to find you during local searches. Thus, you will gain more popularity in the local market.
Proximity Matters to Consumers
A recent research by Access shows that proximity is of immense importance to the consumers. It further states that 92% of consumers prefer travelling for 20 minutes or even less for fetching their daily essentials. And how do they find out about the stores near them? Well, it is mostly done by conducting online searches. No wonder, ‘near me’ searches are on an increase. Reportedly, ‘near me’ searches have increased more than 500% in the last few years. This means that the location of your business is of vital consideration for consumers.
Half the Users Visit Store within a Day of Local Search
Most of the users who conduct local search do so with the intent to take action. These are genuine searches where the person actually intends to visit the store and make a purchase. Research shows that 50% of the users conducting local search visit a store within a day. Findings also reveal that 76% of people who search for a local store on their smartphone visit the place within a day. So, having local SEO in place will attract people who are actually interested in the products and services you are offering.
Interestingly, it has also been observed that 28% of local searches lead to purchase. Hence, you are attracting potential buyers and are on your way to boost sales by investing in local SEO.
Local Business Searches on an Increase
If you think people are conducting generic searches most of the times and are more inclined towards brands as they look for products online then you are not aware about the latest search trends. Local businesses are being searched quite frequently on the internet. Studies show that 29% of people conduct search to look for local businesses minimum once a week. So, investing in local SEO strategy helps gain popularity and drives more leads.
Unlike advertisements that have a short shelf life and are highly expensive, local SEO can help reap benefits for long time. Besides, it does not cost a bomb. Just invest in effective local SEO strategies once and see how they keep bringing consumers to your doorstep for months to come. Some updates and revisions in the strategy would obviously be required from time to time as Google algorithm keeps changing. However, you will not have to change your SEO strategy completely or invest huge bucks in running it each time. Just a few minor changes/updates are needed in local SEO and you are good to go.
High Return on Investment:
Local SEO does not require much investment. There is an SEO company in Pune, Kolkata and Mumbai that offer top-quality local SEO service at a cost effective price. However, the return you get on this investment is quite high. As already mentioned, local SEO attracts a good number of local consumers. Several of these people search and visit the stores with the intent to purchase your product. And many among them make a purchase.
When you invest in local SEO you don't need to spend money on pamphlets and billboards to publicize about your products and services to boost sales.
Enhance Brand Awareness
Branding is all about creating brand visibility to stay on the top of the consumers’ mind. This way your brand seems familiar to the consumers and they begin to trust whatever you offer. Investing in local SEO is a good way to increase visibility among the locals and thus build brand awareness among them. Many small scale businesses have incorporated local SEO strategies and gained several views online which in turn has increased their brand awareness and helped them grow.
Be Among Your Customers
By inculcating local SEO strategies you will get closer to your customers. It has been observed that the internet has become a vital part of consumers’ local commercial activity. As per a study by BIA/ Kelsey, 97% of consumers look for products online and read about them before making a purchase. So, by optimizing your business for local search engine results you will be just where your customers are and establish a bond with them.
Benefit by Word of Mouth
Local SEO is a good way to promote your brand in the local market. When you keep up to the promises made online people will love the experience and recommend your brand to their friends and family. This will increase your popularity and bring in more business. You may even end up becoming a hot favourite among the locals.
Boosts Chances of Expansion
You cannot just go on and compete directly with big brand. It is essential to take one step at a time to build a big empire. The first step is to get recognized and create goodwill in your local market. Local SEO plays a vital role in gaining recognition in the local market. Once you create a strong foothold locally, you can go on to expand your business. The expansion plan may include expanding your existing store or opening more stores in other areas/cities.
How to Optimize Your Site for Local SEO?
Now that you have learned the advantages of local SEO, here is a look at how you can optimize your site for local searches:
Register on Local Online Directories
It is important to get your business listed on local business directories such as Indiabiz list, Yellow Pages and India Mart if you want to create a strong foothold in the local market. It is recommended to list your business in both generic and niche specific directories.
Uniformity of NAP
It is important to mention the same name, address and phone number across all local business directories, GMB and citation sites to optimize your search results.
Location Specific Content
Your content must be optimized as per the location. To do so, you must include keywords that are relevant to your location as well as niche. To handle this task more effectively, it is a good idea to use Google Keyword Planner or Google Trends.
Moreover, you must look for ways to answer queries in a way that your local audience can understand. This is a good way to establish a connection with them.
Google My Business
As already mentioned, this is an effective local SEO tactic. You can register for it easily and get your credentials on the list to gain greater visibility and enjoy the benefits that follow.
On Page Elements
You must ensure that meta data for your site is optimized as per your geographical location. It is also essential to mention your name address and phone number at all the necessary places.
Mobile Friendly Website
Now-a-days, mobile users are increasing rapidly. So, your strategy must not just focus on those who are searching for your business on the internet or voice search devices but must be such that you reach the mobile users too. One of the best ways to do so is by getting a mobile responsive website. This way the mobile users will not have difficulty accessing it on their mobile. It has been observed that 61% of mobile searches result in contacting local businesses if they have a website which is mobile friendly.
Besides, 18% of location-based mobile searches lead to sales within a day.
High Quality Backlinks
High quality backlinks are an important ranking factor for local SEO. So, you must be very cautious while choosing backlinks for your site.
The links and posts you share on your social media platforms impact your local ranking to a vast extent. This is because they send signals about your social presence to Google. It is a good idea to announce local events, sales and launch of new products to send positive signals to Google.
In addition to all this, you must create structured data and also make sure you build page for every product, service and location.
So, we see how local SEO can offer multiple advantages that ultimately lead to greater lead generation and better business. If you haven’t incorporated it yet, it is time you do and get it done by someone who has sound knowledge and enough experience in SEO.