You want people to easily find your local business online, don’t you? If you’re not using solid local search engine optimization (SEO) tactics, now is the best time. Suppose you want to go to a restaurant nearby, but can’t decide what to eat. Naturally, you’d whip out your smartphone and conduct a quick online search. You’d probably type something like “Restaurants near me” to get better results. People tend to write out specific phrases like “Best places to eat near me” or “Lawyer nearby”. This is the trend you need to consider while implementing local SEO best practices.

Local SEO helps businesses promote themselves online to local customers within a geographic area. The difference between local SEO and organic SEO is the intent. Google can pick out search queries that have “local intent”, meaning the searcher wants search engine results with local companies.

Why Does Local SEO Matter for small businesses?

Because local business searches often are based on geographic factors, organic SEO isn’t enough to rank, especially if your competitors are engaging in local SEO. Local SEO increases visibility for businesses interested in ranking for geographically-related searches.

Google wants to show relevant search results

Nearly half of the total Google search queries have local intent.  In the search results, there are usually two distinct sections dominating the top half of the search results page: paid ads and the local pack. With the right local SEO strategy, you should be at the top of this local pack since many users with local search intent use that map and the reviews to choose a business.

Local searches are more often people-centric

Why is Local SEO taking over? Because local searches are more people-centric than organic search results, meaning it’s more customized for each user. Nowadays, Google searches are all about local “near me” searches. Local search marketing is highly targeted and timely – people are searching for business literally at the exact moment they need it. You can’t get much more personalized than that.

How do you do local SEO?

Local SEO requires a variety of strategies:

NAP Citations – Be sure your business’ name, address, and phone number is EXACTLY the same across all of your online assets like your website, social profiles, and Google My Business/Bing listings.

Local directory listings – Claim and verify all listings on local directories including Yelp, Superpages, Foursquare, Yellowpages, etc.

Reviews – Reviews are key to local SEO. Regularly solicit reviews and engage in review-building tactics on social and search profiles.

Localized on-sight content – The more relevant your on-site content is to the searcher, the more likely it will show up in search results. This means creating unique geo-targeted service pages, specifying service areas, and including maps with your location on it.

Schema markup – Ask your web developer to implement local business schema on your website. It gives the search engines a clearer supply of local information about your business.

What are the MOST IMPORTANT aspects of local SEO?

Distance – If a user doesn’t specify a location in their search, Google will calculate distance based on what’s known about their location.

Relevance – This refers to how well a local listing matches what someone is searching for. Adding complete and detailed business information across the web can help Google better understand your business and match your listing to relevant searches.

Prominence – Some places are more prominent in the offline world, and search results try to reflect this in local ranking. Prominence is also based on information that Google has about a business from across the web (like links, articles, and directories).

If you’re not proactive in your SEO strategies, you might lose new customers to your competitors who will close the sale faster, thus, slowing down your conversion rates. If your website is not showing up in local search results, you’re missing a big opportunity to grow your local business. Give us a call to talk about what we can do for you!