8 Reasons Why A Local SEO Strategy Matters
Google’s own data tells us that 46% of searches now contain some sort of ‘local intent’. This might be a phrase such as ‘best Italian restaurant near me’ or ‘electricians in Yorkshire’. Phrases like these suggest that the user is searching for specific, locative information about a service or product – this is distinct from a search like ‘best women’s shoes’ or ‘how to fix a broken plate’ which do not have ‘local intent’.
Local SEO is an effective way to market your local business online directly to customers who are searching for your niche of services or products and are also nearby. This is particularly important for businesses with physical locations that are trying to boost footfall. An effective Local SEO campaign promotes your business and services to users at the exact moment they are searching for them online.
Local SEO practices can differ from a traditional SEO campaign in several ways.
What is a Local SERP?
For searches with local intent – which normally contain a phrase like ’near me’ or are conducted through locative search channel like Google Maps – the search engine is aware that the user is looking for local services and so will serve a different Search Engine Results Page (SERP) to that user, which we refer to as a Local SERP.
The 1st aim of Local SEO for any type of business is to win a spot on the ‘local pack’ (also called the ‘3-pack’). This is the block of three businesses that appear in a separate segment at the top of the SERP, above the standard search results. This ‘local pack’ will normally appear only on searches the Google has deemed to have local intent.
8 Reasons Why A Local SEO Strategy Matters
- Local customers use search engines to find local businesses
- 46% of all Google searches have local intent
- Search engines are the primary way of finding businesses for 67% of customers.
- 50% of local intent searches are attempts to find information about a business like its phone numbers, address or opening hours.
- 78% of local searches lead to a purchase or visit to a location.
(Statistics sourced from searchengineland.com and business2community.com)
- The best local SEO marketing is timely and microtargeted
Most people performing a search with local intent are looking to find a business. The second most common reason is to find a local provider of a service (‘carpenter near me’ etc.). Many searchers do not have a specific business in mind and even those that do can be persuaded to try a competitor if they are given equal prominence in the local pack.
By utilizing local search tactics, you can better place your business to promote its services to people at the moment they are searching for them. New customers get a great first impression when they find exactly what they need at the exact moment they are looking for it.
- Local search converts more than any other type of marketing
Online business directories such as Yelp, TripAdvisor or Foursquare will display additional information about a business such as its opening hours, address and phone number. These directories will often occupy most of the 1st page of results for any local search. For this reason, it is important to ensure you are listed in as many local business directories as possible and that the information listed there is accurate an up to date.
Local directories boost conversion rates as high as 50% for some services, so it’s important to make sure you are listed on as many as possible to gather as many leads as possible.
- Most search is mobile
The majority of local searches are made by people on their mobile phones and a large proportion of these are made while they are ‘on the go’.
The means that an effective local SEO strategy can capture potential customers while they are already in your area and with a shopping mindset, significantly lowering the barrier of what is needed to encourage them to visit your premises.
- Local SEO has the highest return on investment (ROI)
Unlike traditional marketing channels like print ads or radio spots, Local SEO marketing is only displayed to your potential customers when they need to see it. There is no wasted ad spend, increasing the chance of generating a sale for every £1 spent. This make Local SEO on the most efficient marketing channels for ROI.
- 56% of businesses have yet to claim their Google My Business listing
Google My Business (GMB) is a free business directory listing which Google generates for almost every business. These listing a normally generated automatically from data pulled from other websites and directories. Having a GMB listing can drastically increase your footfall and/or sales, but this relies on using it to its fullest potential.
While Google generates these listing automatically, to fully take advantages of all the features you need to “claim” them. This involves proving to Google that you are the official business owner. For most businesses this is a simple process
Once you have officially claimed the profile you can upload your own images, adjust the opening hours, contact information, link the profile to a Google Ads account, post information to customers and more. The more information a profile contains and the more relevant it is – the higher the chance of it appearing in the local pack.
Leaving your business profile unclaimed means that you are not using it to its fullest potential. There is also the risk that an unscrupulous local competitor may claim your profile first which can make proving your ownership harder at a later date.
Claiming your GMB profile is the quickest way to boost your local SEO and will have the biggest impact on the short term.
- 18-34 year old consumers trust online reviews just as much as they trust personal recommendations
Word of mouth continues to be the most important marketing factor for local businesses, but the scope of “word of mouth” now includes online reviews and social media.
Encouraging your satisfied customers to leave reviews on Google My Business or other local business listings (such as your Facebook business profile).
- Many local SEO tactics cost no money to implement
- It’s free to claim and edit your Google My Business profile.
- It’s free to be listed on many local business directories.
- It’s free to ensure your contact information is accurate and consistent across the web.
- It’s free to ask customers to leave reviews.
These tasks alone will give you a great head start on the competition.
We hope this has been a useful guide to some of the steps you can take immediately to give your business a local SEO boost. For more help with search engine optimisation, local, national, or global, speak to our team today.