Even though the internet connects us to each other on a global level, many businesses still thrive best when they cater to customers near them. Local SEO is a form of search engine marketing that lets you promote your business online to local customers who are searching for your type of service.
Believe it or not, you don’t even need a website for your business to rank locally. If you have a social media account like Facebook, Google will rank the page appropriately as if your Facebook page is essentially your website. So no matter what state your online presence is in, local SEO affects you too!
Help Local Customers Find You
Customers trust businesses with accurate online listings. If they search for you and want to visit your store, finding out they’re in the wrong place will make them less likely to try again. They may find a competitor with an accurate listing. They may even be skeptical that you’re a legitimate business if you don’t have accurate information.
Information Submitted to Google
Without local SEO, search engines may have trouble identifying where your business is located in the real world. The first major step is to verify your business on Google. Information you need to include so potential customers find you when they search for you online are:
- Phone number
Also called NAP, providing this information will help Google rank you and make your business easier to find—especially when people type in the kind of service they want. It also helps customers trust you more. If any part of NAP is incorrect (be it misspellings or out of date information), Google won’t rank you in local searches, no matter how well known you are locally.
Information on Your Website
To improve your local SEO organically, your on-site information should be consistent and correct. In addition to your company’s location on Google maps, consider publicizing:
- Your company’s address
- Your company’s hours
- A store locator tool to help customers find your nearest store
In addition, you can make local SEO a part of your keyword strategy. Adding the name of your city or region and a relevant keyword within your landing page content will help boost your local SEO. As you can see in this infographic, 92 percent of listings have a name, address, and phone number in their landing page in addition to their service information with a relevant keyword like “search engine marketing strategy.” Just remember not to keyword stuff, otherwise Google will penalize you.
Local SEO is Affected by Reviews
According to Shopify, reviews are important to local SEO because they affect your ranking in local search engines and which search results get clicked.
In 2015, 67 percent of people said that reviews influenced their decision whether or not to patron a business. Because people rely so much on online reviews when making a purchasing decision, Google takes them seriously—in 2015, reviews made up 8 percent of how Google ranked a site in local search results, considering:
- Review quality: Reviews that are relevant to your business and aren’t fake.
- Review rate: How often your business is getting reviewed by customers.
- Review diversity: Reviews that are diverse and come from a wide variety of customers.
Specifically Target Your Audience
While you could put out an ad in your local paper, local SEO ensures that advertising for your business gets seen by a wide range of people. Setting up a Google My Business page is a good way to target your local audience. That way, when people search for you on Google Maps or in search, your business will show up in results.
When you set up your business on Google My Business, you will be including NAP information. Google My Business will use that information to reach out to people in your local area who are searching for you. Additionally, you can use services like AdWords to create an ad with a specific target audience to spread awareness of your business—almost like you would when you boost a post on Facebook. So when your specified audiences search for the services you offer, Google will use the information you provided to reach your local audience.