Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the last decade, you’ve probably heard of SEO. Even if you’re not 100% sure what it means, most business owners have come across SEO at one point or another. As a quick catch up, SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization, and it’s the way businesses get themselves found online using search engines. But the big wide world of search engines is just that – it’s big! And while you can use them to find anything in the world, the latest data shows that around 46% of searches on Google are more local in nature. People are looking for services, products and solutions in their local area, so if you provide those things, you need to make sure you’re showing up in those searches. That’s where local SEO comes in.
What is Local SEO?
Local SEO very much takes the ‘global’ out of ‘global search engine’, and instead really focuses on your immediate area and community. This might not seem like a big thing, but it’s a huge bonus for local businesses, if they know how to capitalise on it. Local search can be a huge source of business for bricks-and-mortar businesses like restaurants, bars, doctors surgeries, law offices, local shops, tattoo parlours – anywhere with public-facing premises. And for businesses without premises, like locksmiths, plumbers and builders it’s a great way to highlight that your business exists and what you do.
One of the big focal points of local SEO is Google My Business. Google My Business helps you home in on the local search, boosting your rankings for relevance, distance and prominence for searchers near to you. So if you want to show up in local searches, this is something you need to focus on. If you search a company name in Google and a little box turns up on the left with their name, photos, information and reviews – that’s their Google My Business listing. A Google My Business listing is free and easy to use tool that helps customers find your business, and allows you to manage your business information on Google. Businesses with Google My Business listings are given slightly higher priority in searches, as well as appearing on Google Maps – which is essential for local SEO.
On top of Google My Business, some other elements to local SEO include online directories, customer reviews and heavily optimised web pages using local search terms. Combining all of these things with your existing SEO strategy is the best thing you can do for your business online.
Why is Local SEO Important?
If your business is already putting time, effort and money into SEO strategy, then you might be thinking ‘why should I put even more effort into this new thing?’ And honestly, if you’re investing in SEO already, then you may already be implementing a lot of local SEO techniques already! Local SEO is simply normal SEO but on a more detailed, local level, and engaging in it can significantly increase your visibility to customers in your area.
It’s also a great way to raise awareness for your business in general. With so many customers searching for businesses in their local area, you turning up in the local search spreads your brand name and puts it in their mind, even if they don’t need your services at that exact moment.
And just in case you’re not convinced, here are some statistics about local search that might show you how much of a difference it could make to your business:
- 72% of people who did a local search went on to visit a shop within 5 miles of their location.
- 30% of searches done on a mobile phone are related to a location.
- 71% of people say that they confirm the location of a business using Google before they visit it for the first time.
- Roughly 78% of all local mobile-based searches result in an offline purchase from a local business.
How Does Local SEO Work?
The way Google works used to be the same across the board. But over the years as local searching became a more important thing, Google decided to change how it approached local searches. After analysing trillions of data points and search histories, Google saw a pattern. They realised that people were likely to search for certain types of business that operate in their geographic area, using certain terms and looking for certain things. So rather than the ‘normal’ Google search algorithm, Google uses a different set of ranking factors for local searches, to give users the best results. A few of these ranking factors include:
- The location of the searcher
- NAP (name, address and postcode) citations
- Relevant Google My Business listings
- Keyword use and volume in any Google My Business listings
- The general sentiment of online reviews (positive or negative)
- The number of ‘check-ins’ at the location
- General social media presence, including ‘check-ins’
- Relevant Google Maps star ratings for each business
In other words, if you want to succeed with local SEO, you need to be paying attention to these factors, as well as the standard Google algorithm.
In today’s world, not having an online presence simply isn’t an option. But in a world where every single business has an online presence, it can be difficult to stand out from the crowd. At Lion Spirit Media, we provide a detailed and bespoke SEO service guaranteed to appeal to Google and get your voice heard. From roaring content writing to website audits, meta descriptions, keyword research, and optimised product descriptions, we can provide you with everything you need to make sure your business is the loudest and most visible in local search. For more information, click here, or get in touch to book your free consultation and get your foot in the Google door.