The Importance of Local SEO for Local Businesses
Posted on 17th October 2022
For many businesses, their aim is to attract local customers. Much of today’s online activity for a business is around boosting its presence on the internet, particularly in search engine results.
Local SEO should be at the heart of online marketing campaigns to make the most of your online presence and be found in Google searches.
What is local SEO?
So, what do we mean by local SEO? According to Hubspot, it is the “process of improving search engine visibility for local businesses”, particularly those with physical locations.
Search engines, including the most popular Google, rely on local online content, like websites, social media profiles, and internal and external links, as well as citations, to gather the information that will match a search query. This is known as search engine optimisation, i.e. making sure your content contains the relevant keywords used in search queries.
Local SEO uses a variety of tactics to create content that Google can find in a user’s local area to formulate and provide local information based on a user’s search query. In this way, the search engines are providing users with their results of businesses in the user’s local area that provides the requested products or services.
Why local SEO?
Search engines, like Google, use intelligent algorithms that evaluate the keywords and the user’s search intent, which is now a major SEO ranking factor. Essentially, the reason for this is that more and more people are searching for local information online, and search engines have adjusted their algorithms to meet this demand.
Because of this, your online marketing and search engine optimisation activity has to be focused on your local area to boost your online visibility and make your business more discoverable in search queries. Greater visibility locally also relates to higher footfall to your physical store.
Local SEO is becoming a crucial aspect of any business’s marketing strategy, not least because 81% of consumers use Google to evaluate local businesses. The benefits to local SEO include:
Greater online visibility.
Boosted foot traffic to a physical store.
Benefit from the ‘shop local’ boom.
Targeted web traffic.
Building trust and reputation.
More competitive, leading to more sales.
Improved lead conversion.
Top local SEO best practices
There is a wide variety of local SEO tactics that can be employed by Wimbledon businesses to boost their local SEO.
Google Business Profile – previously known as Google My Business and now called Google Business Profile, if you haven’t set up your profile, you need to do it as soon as possible. One of the top local SEO strategies, it is a free online directory and a great source of free publicity. You can share a lot of information about your company within your profile, such as opening hours, your products or services, office location(s), contact and website details. But it also allows customers to leave a review about your business. When nearly 64% of consumers are likely to read Google reviews before visiting a business’s website or making a buying decision, having a Google Business Profile is a must.
Optimise your social media channels – Google considers social media channels a vital part of their search criteria, particularly the content you share on your social media platforms. However, search engines are clever enough to spot the spam content so make sure it is relevant to your business, informative and gives the reader a reason to return, is engaging and encourages your customers to interact with your business locally as well as online, and contains links at least back to your website.
Create locally-focused content – high-quality online content is another major ranking factor for search engines. If so many users are searching with local intent, what better way to reach your local audience than by creating content that targets them? Not only are you potentially reaching a wider audience that is local to your business, but you are also building a reputation as a local authority on your products or services and solving a problem in the local community. When you create local content, don’t forget to optimise your headers, meta descriptions, title tags and your URL, as well as the content, to ensure it targets a specific geographic location, search phrase or particular keywords.
Keywords are vital – while you don’t want to splash every keyword or phrase you can think of across your entire online content or over-use keywords, it’s still important to use the right keywords for your products or services. For example, there are plenty of hairdressers online, so just using ‘hairdresser’ isn’t going to be enough; Google will list hundreds. This isn’t much use to you or the consumer. However, if you consider how many people are searching for local intent, i.e. a hairdresser that is local to them, extend your keyword to include your location, like ‘hairdresser Lincoln’.
Internal and external links – search engines like links, particularly internal links that support the structure of your website, help the search algorithms to find more information about the relevant product or search within a user’s search query, as well as distribute page authority and ranking power.
A mobile-friendly website – this is an absolute must in today’s mobile world. Statistics show that 61% of all Google searches are done via a mobile device, and ‘near me’ searches on mobiles have increased 250% since 2017. By ensuring your site is mobile-friendly, i.e. all pages, content, headlines, etc. load correctly, quickly and are easily readable on a mobile device, the easier it is for customers to find you
Maximising your local SEO opportunities is as important as ever. Local people want to find local businesses but if you haven’t got a handle on your local SEO activity yet, now is definitely the time to get it sorted.
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Tagged as: Digital Marketing Strategy, Google My Business, Search Engine Optimisation, Search Engine Optimization, SEO, Website content
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