We explain how local SEO can help small businesses grow and the tips and tricks to improve your local search ranking.
Why Local SEO Is Important for Small Businesses?
The internet has leveled the playing field for small businesses, particularly those serving niche markets and local communities. In fact, a recent study showed that about 46% of Google searches involved local information, while 72% of consumers who did a local search visited a brick-and-mortar store within 5 miles.
What Is Local Search Engine Optimization?
Local SEO is a marketing technique to increase the search visibility of companies serving local communities or certain geographic areas. Oftentimes, they are small businesses with a physical location such as restaurants, cafes, gyms, auto repair shops, and hair salons.
Local service providers such as plumbers, professional cleaners, and HVAC technicians can also benefit from local SEO.
Simply put, these businesses can make themselves visible to their local target customers who are using search engine tools like Google to learn more about their “pain points” and the companies that could provide them solutions.
One of the goals of local SEO is to improve the local search rankings of a business. Hence, the content of your websites and other online platforms should include local keywords and phrases, for example, “restaurants in Sacramento.”
Including the location and landmarks can also help with your local search rankings since Google and other search engines can detect and utilize the location of your target customers through their mobile devices.
How Google Determines Local Ranking?
The search engine giant uses three factors to determine local rankings: relevance, distance, and prominence. In addition, their algorithm is constantly evolving to make sure that it provides search results that are helpful and relevant to consumers.
Relevance is about how well a local business profile matches the users’ search queries. To ensure that you are “relevant” to your target audience, all your online platforms should include complete and detailed business information, i.e., address, contact number, and email.
Also, make sure that you create a location-specific “About Us” page.
Even if people don’t specify their location in their search queries, Google’s algorithm calculates the distance between them and the nearby businesses. For this reason, you might rank higher than your competitors if you are closer to the users.
Prominence refers to the popularity of a business, not just online but also in the offline world. For instance, community parks, the town’s favorite hang-out spots, museums, and local landmarks are popular in local search results.
Meanwhile, Google determines the prominence of your business based on articles, directories, and links. Also, the more reviews and positive ratings you have, the higher is your local ranking.
Your prominence is also determined by your search engine ranking.
What If Your Business Doesn't Show Up for Relevant Local Searches?
You might be losing hundreds of thousands every year if you don’t show up for relevant local searches. According to a survey released by SEO Tribunal, around 78% of location-based mobile searches resulted in a purchase.
Another study conducted by Joel House Search Media showed that 28% of consumers who did local searches bought a product or signed up for a service.
How to Fix the Problem:
If you don’t show up for relevant local searches, you can fix it by doing the following tips recommended by Google:
Online Listings and Directories
Aside from Google My Business, you can further beef up your local search ranking by adding or claiming your business through listing and directories. Below is the list of most popular (and free) business listings.
- Apple Maps
- LinkedIn Company Directory
- Super Pages
- Better Business Bureau
Just like in Google My Business listing, make sure that you provide these online directories with complete and consistent information that includes your name, location, and contact details.
Localized Website Content
One of the many ways to localize your website content is to include your name, location, and phone number on your site–ideally on every web page and not just on the “About Us” or “Contact Us” page.
In general, it is ideal to include your contact number on every web page, a practice that has been shown to increase conversions and revenues. By making sure that your business is contactable, you can also improve customer satisfaction and loyalty.
Frequently posting blogs that include location-specific content, landmarks, and local events and festivals can also help your local SEO.
Social Media and Local Content
While social media platforms do not directly influence your search engine ranking, they are a great way to connect with your target audience and increase brand awareness and exposure.
If you’re a small business that provides service to your community, use a local hashtag to gain exposure and increase views. Remember, social media users often post their location and conduct search queries using places and landmarks.
A Word of Caution About How a Small Business Can Grow Big with Local SEO
When you create localized content, whether it is for your website or social media account, don’t use keyword stuffing or post irrelevant content that doesn’t provide value to your target customers. These bad practices not only destroy your brand (and reputation) but also result in penalties from Google and business directories.
To learn more about local SEO and how you can turn your small business into a strong brand, contact LOJO Marketing at (916) 303-4080. You can also schedule a FREE consultation with us.
At LOJO Marketing, our team of digital marketing experts and content creators can help small- and medium-sized companies remain competitive in this new business landscape.