You can sell the best products and services, but that won’t make any difference unless people know where to find your business. So, if you’re struggling to gain traction and expand the visibility of your small business, it might be time you start considering local SEO marketing techniques.
Local SEO has always been the best way to increase your organic search presence and make your business thrive in local markets. That’s because when most people are looking for a product or service in a specific area, the first place they search is online.
97% of people use the Internet to research local businesses before visiting their physical stores, according to a Tribunal study. That means any company that hasn’t optimized for local search is missing out on a lot of potential customers.
With that in mind, this blog will discuss why it’s essential for every small business to have a solid local SEO strategy. On top of that, we’ll share a few tips to optimize your Google Business Profile to boost your ranking in local SEO.
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What is Local SEO?
Local SEO is the practice of optimizing the online presence of a business to attract more local customers. The main goal of local search engine optimization is to increase the visibility of a business in local search results on search engines like Google and Yahoo.
When people search for products or services in a specific geographic area, local SEO helps local businesses appear in relevant local search queries.
That enhances the business’s online visibility in local directories and map applications, making it easier for potential customers to find and engage with the business.
A good example of Local SEO is when you search for ‘Restaurants in Bristol,’ and Google gives you the top 3 restaurants in Bristol along with a highlight of their rating, cuisine, price, and hours.
This is also known as a local pack. In essence, it’s a feature that Google offers that highlights the top local businesses on the search engine results pages and offers a complementary map, as shown in the image below.
Top 10 Benefits of Local SEO for Small Businesses
In this section, we’ll discuss the top 10 reasons why every business needs to invest in a solid local SEO strategy.
1. Competitive Advantage
Local SEO makes it possible for small businesses to level the playing field, especially when going head-to-head with larger competitors. When potential customers search for products or services in a specific location, a small business with an optimized local SEO strategy will stand out.
This type of visibility will position your business as an excellent and accessible option for local consumers. That builds trust and credibility, making your business an authority despite its size in your niche.
Also, it helps small local businesses bring in a steady stream of high-quality leads that would otherwise have gone to the bigger brands.
2. More In-Store Traffic
Local SEO tends to enhance the online visibility of a business within a specific geographic area. Therefore, it improves your chances of driving more foot traffic to your physical shop, improving your conversion rates.
Remember that 72% of consumers searching for a local business are more likely to visit a store within five miles. So, if your small business is available on local search results or Google Maps, there’s a higher chance of capturing new leads.
Local SEO also directs nearby customers to your physical location. Ultimately, that ensures your marketing efforts are focused on the most relevant and potential customer base, maximizing your chances of converting your leads into sales.
3. It draws Visitors
Local customers are definitely what your business will thrive on. But when you invest in a Local SEO strategy, your business will also attract newcomers and visitors coming to your location for the first time.
Just think about it this way: most people who are visiting your city have no idea what kinds of businesses are there. Even if you are a reputable brand, that alone is not enough to make them want to visit your store.
So, when they get to the area, the first thing they are likely to do is look for shops and restaurants in the region. This is where you’ll get an advantage if you have optimized your business for local SEO. They will find your business before any others.
The same applies to people who are moving into your city. They most likely know nothing about the business there. Therefore, you can put your best foot forward and show off your business to acquire new, loyal customers.
4. Visibility on Google Maps and SERPS
Local search results typically appear in the results of most search engines, including Google, Bing, and Yahoo. The idea is for these search engines to give their customers answers to products and services within their vicinity.
That means if your business is highlighted in the local search results, you are more likely to get high organic traffic from customers in dire need of your services or products. Your business will often be displayed with a map, business listings, and relevant contact information.
5. A Surge in Niche-Based Traffic
Optimizing your small business for local SEO helps search engines rank your business and drive the right kind of traffic to you. Most of your traffic will likely be potential customers looking for your exact products and services, not random people.
That said, your business will experience a significant surge in niche-specific traffic, making it easier for you to bag more clients. Unfortunately, if your small business isn’t properly optimized for local SEO, you will end up with unwanted traffic surges that will not convert to sales.
6. Higher Conversion Numbers
When customers search for local products and services, they are typically in the advanced stages of their purchase process. That means they are looking for someone who can deliver quickly. That said, when you optimize your business for local SEO, your conversion numbers will likely go through the roof.
Optimizing your business will ensure your products and services easily appear in front of these motivated users, leading to a higher chance of conversion. Above all, that also creates a seamless user experience, building trust and confidence in your services.
7. Google Business Profile Listing
When users search for a specific service on Google, the Google Business Profile listing appears on the knowledge panel. That simple act by this established search engine redirects the traffic and curious customers to check out the profile listing instead of continuing with their search.
GBP (Google Business Profile) listings usually include pictures, reviews, contact information, and a more personal experience about your business. That helps customers build trust in your services after seeing other customers’ experiences.
With that in mind, local SEO helps your business rank highly on search engines while giving customers an impactful first impression through Google Business Profile.
As a small business owner, you have to ensure the marketing budget is within reasonable measures so as not to strain your company or dip into your profits. Thankfully, local SEO, unlike other marketing strategies, offers a targeted approach to potential customers within your immediate vicinity.
With such specificity, every dollar spent on local SEO marketing is optimized for reaching your local audience while increasing your conversion rate. This marketing technique allows your business to turn its full attention to the local audience, who can easily become loyal customers.
9. Local Community Engagement
Local SEO helps small businesses connect with local communities, organizations, and events. By creating targeted content and participating in local conversations, businesses can establish stronger community ties and be seen as valuable resources.
Such engagement can drive brand awareness, foster customer loyalty, and drive long-term success in a simple yet effective way. When a local business optimizes for local SEO, it becomes easier for people in the neighborhood to find it online when they need something.
Also, as the business actively participates in the local community, it establishes itself as more than a service provider. This engagement creates a sense of familiarity and resonates more with local customers. And when community members see the business actively contributing to and caring about local issues, they are more likely to choose it and recommend it to others.
10. Local SEO Helps Your Dominate Voice Search
Each year, voice search is becoming a more dominant force. In fact, 27% of the global online population already uses voice search on mobile. Not to mention, 58% of people use voice search to find a service local to them. That’s mostly because voice search is more convenient than a traditional search. So, if you optimize your business for Local SEO, you have a higher chance of dominating voice search and increasing traffic from people searching for local businesses in your area.
Tips to Improve Your Ranking on Local SEO
Now that you have a better understanding of why Local SEO is crucial for every small business. Here are a few tips that you can add to your Local SEO strategy to improve your ranking on local searches.
1. Optimize for Google Business Profile
Google Business Profile is a free listing that offers comprehensive information about your business. It highlights details such as your business name, address, phone number, business hours, and categories to potential visitors.
That said, if you want to boost your ranking on local SEO, ensure you complete your Google Business Profile with accurate information. Also, upload high-resolution images that showcase your business, products, and services.
2. Improve Your NAP Consistency
One of the best ways to make it easy for people to find you on search engines is by regularly auditing your business information across online directories, websites, and social media platforms.
Ensure consistency in your business name, address, and phone number. The whole idea is that the more Google sees consistent name, address, and phone number citations for your business, the more it gains confidence in the legitimacy of your business.
So, get as many consistent NAP citations as possible on trusted websites. For instance, Apple Maps, Bing Places, Facebook, and Yelp, among others,. If there are any changes to your business information, such as a move or a new phone number, update these details promptly across all platforms.
3. Attain Reviews
Reviews and testimonials are the best ways to build customer trust. They validate your expertise and give potential buyers confidence in your business. That said, to improve your ranking on local SEO, create a review generation strategy.
Actively seek reviews from satisfied customers. Encourage customers to leave reviews on other relevant platforms, such as Yelp, Facebook, and industry-specific review sites. Display positive reviews on your website to build trust with potential customers. You can even consider creating a dedicated testimonial or review page.
4. Optimize Online Directories
Ensure your business is listed on major online directories that are relevant to your industry. Claim and verify these listings to have control over the accuracy of your information. Provide comprehensive information about your services, products, and operating hours.
The more information you provide, the better your chances of ranking higher in local searches. Also, ensure your data is accurate by regularly monitoring and updating your listings to reflect any changes in your business details.
5. Add Location Pages to Your Website
If your business has physical shops in multiple locations, create individual, unique location pages for each. Include specific details about each location, such as the address, phone number, and unique services or products offered.
But that’s not all; optimize each location page with relevant meta tags, headers, and content. Use location-specific keywords to improve local search visibility. In addition, embed a Google Map on each location page, showing users how to find and access your business in your physical locations.
6. Create Local Content
As the Google Search Engine continues to get upgraded, it means that content creators should focus more on writing to fulfill users’ search intent rather than pleasing the search engine. With that said, you can create blog posts, articles, or resources that are specifically tailored to your local audience.
This can include local news, events, and industry insights relevant to the community. Just make sure you integrate local keywords naturally into your content to enhance its relevance to local search queries.
7. Participate in Your Local Community
Another clever way to increase your business’s visibility in local SEO is by supporting and sponsoring local events. When your business participates in local community events, it helps put a face to the name of your company for the local community, and it allows you to connect with customers personally and develop leads for future business.
Alternatively, you can become a member of local chambers of commerce or business associations. This not only builds credibility but also provides networking opportunities. Offer workshops or participate in events that provide value to the local community. This can position your business as an authority in your industry.
8. Conduct Local Link Building
Build relationships with other local businesses and explore opportunities for cross-promotion. This can lead to natural, local backlinks. To start with, develop valuable and shareable content within the local community.
This could include infographics, guides, or resources that others in your area might find useful. Beyond major online directories, seek out local and niche directories where you can submit your business information for additional backlinks.
To prosper as a small business, you need to direct your efforts toward specific and relevant marketing practices. As we’ve seen from this article, one of the best strategies to improve the visibility of small local businesses is local SEO.
Local SEO will help your audience find you when they search online if you have a storefront or service area. Therefore, investing in local SEO is a proven way to put your small business in the limelight and attract all the relevant customers.