If you’re a local business and want to be easily found by potential customers, local SEO is essential. There’s no getting around it. Without a well-thought out local SEO strategy in place, you’re setting yourself up to fail.
But what exactly is local SEO? How does it different from normal SEO? And why is it so important?
As you could probably guess from the name, local SEO is a highly-targeted strand of SEO, dealing specifically with local businesses. While it’s been around for quite some time, it’s been growing in importance in recent years, ever since Google’s ‘Pigeon’ update in 2014.
Part of Google’s never-ending quest to offer up the most accurate results possible, local SEO reflects the way we search. Let me give you an example:
Say I wanted to get my hair cut, but wasn’t sure where to go. I’d open my laptop or smartphone, go to Google and search ‘barbers’. Thanks to local SEO, the top results I’ll get back should all be barbers in my local area.
Not only does this provide a better result for the customer, but it also helps level the playing field for businesses. Smaller businesses only have to worry about competing with their local neighbours, rather than every possible alternative online!
Why is local SEO so important?
While local SEO helps even the playing field for businesses, the benefits stretch much further than that. Just take a look at these statistics from HubSpot:
- Google’s ‘3-pack’ results (the A, B, C in the above image) appear for at least 93% of searches with local intent
- 50% of consumers who conduct a local search on their smartphone visit that store within the same day
- 18% of local mobile searches lead to a sale within one day
- 87% of smartphone owners use a search engine at least once a day
- 78% of local-mobile searches result in offline purchases
- 68% of searches went on to use the ‘get directions’ or ‘click to call’ options in a local mobile ad
How can you optimise your website for local search?
So, now you understand the importance of local SEO, what can you do to optimise your site so you’re achieving those top rankings?
First and foremost, if you haven’t already, make sure you’ve claimed your Google My Business page and ensure that your contact information, opening hours and other details are all completed correctly.
Once you’ve done this, you’ll need to link your Google Places page to a Google+ Local page, where you can feature more information, reviews, images, videos and other forms of media. Encourage your customers to leave reviews after visiting your business, as these are viewed very highly when it comes to Google ranking your website.
It’s also vital that your main website is properly optimised, with your address and other contact information displayed clearly and in a consistent format across your site. It can also be a good idea to embed a map on your ‘contact us’ page.
As with ‘normal’ SEO, it’s an ongoing process, rather than something you can just do once and then forget about. But if you’re willing to put in the time and effort, you can make sure your customers can always find you when they need you.
If you’re looking for a digital marketing agency in Manchester to help with your SEO, why not get in touch and see how we can help?