Why Local SEO is Important for Small Businesses?

In this article, you will learn what is local SEO and why it is important for small businesses.

When you run a small business, your local community is your lifeline, your main source of profit, and your target audience. More importantly, your community represents your best opportunity to grow your business.

Understanding why local SEO is important for small businesses can make all the difference.

If you're a small business owner in your local community, it's important that you understand why local search engine optimization (SEO) is important for your business.

Local SEO is a service that can help improve the visibility of your brand and services to your local customers. The better your business is visible, the more likely you are to attract new customers. This can make all the difference between a thriving business and one that is struggling to stay afloat.

But, how can you tap into the buying power and loyalty of your local users? This is the area where local SEO becomes your most powerful tool.

Why Local SEO is Important for Small Businesses?

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What is Local SEO? Let's Look at the Basics

Today, Google searches for local information and services account for nearly 50% of total user query volume. Of those, over 80% of local searches on mobile devices turn into sales.

Local SEO is the marketing process that allows your brand to appear at the top of the search engine results page or Google 3-pack for any relevant local search. With local SEO, you can increase your website's organic traffic and expand your customer base.

But more importantly, local SEO gets your business in front of the eyes of potential customers who are already looking for your services in your area.

Should you Invest in Local SEO? Yes - Here's Why

While local SEO is a vital marketing strategy for all brick-and-mortar businesses, all businesses can benefit. For example, local SEO best practices should be part of all eCommerce SEO strategies. Similarly, tools like Google My Business and directory citations can help private sellers without a website. 

Below are some of the benefits of investing in local SEO:

- Improved local visibility for the business.

- Securing a position in Google's local 3-pack, which receives over 30% of local search clicks.

- Improved conversion rate 

- Reduced advertising costs

- Improved long-term search engine ranking

Ultimately, this strategy is essential for any business looking to stand out from the competition, regardless of their long-term goals, niche, or type of business.

Importance of Local SEO for Small Businesses

Search engines have become much more sophisticated over the years, so much so that they've been able to offer personalized results for years now and are getting better at matching those results to a given user's data. 

This is scary to some extent - Google, for example, can tailor its results based on location, time of day, your previous search history, etc. It can know that it's suggesting niche pages or websites to you because of your consistent interest in a certain topic. 

For advertisers and businesses, this is good news: personalization translates into more relevant results, and relevance is key to turning potential traffic into actual leads. 

One of the oldest and most consistent personalization factors that Google and other search engines use to personalize results is location. This has led to the growth of local SEO, a growing subset of SEO tips and tricks aimed at improving your business' ranking in a given subset of potential search users near your target area. 

If you run a home-based service business, it is essential that you claim and optimize your Google business profile. This way, people in your community or service area will find you when they need your help. Today, customers can get in touch with you directly through your Google business profile, whether they want to call you, send you a message or find directions.

But someone searching for the same thing 2,000 miles away probably won't find your website on the first page of results, or the second, third, or even fourth. 

Personalized results are just one part of the larger topic of SEO and the thousands of individual factors that affect the search algorithms of tech giants like Microsoft and Google. 

User data is valuable, and leveraging it effectively allows you as a business to improve your (ROI) return on investment at all levels of search marketing by ensuring that the subset of customers who come to your website through search engines like Google are actually interested in your services or products and didn't stumble upon you by accident. 

How does Local SEO Work?

Whether you're searching for something on your phone or on your home computer, websites like Google can determine approximately where you are based on information provided to the company by your browser.

The internet itself, while virtual, is still a physical network existing on Earth, and things like web communication protocols, DNS, and IP addresses are used to determine where you are accessing a website from. 

This information can be falsified, of course. But most people don't bother to do so, which means that companies like Google can reliably use this data to personalize search results and further improve the relevance of the results they offer. Other, more specific data is collected and pooled by the various services Google offers. 

For example, the average user searching for the keyword "bike repair shop" might be embarrassed if they had to specify exactly where that shop is located. If they don't specify anything at all, they might be annoyed that the search engine interprets their query as a general request for "what a bike repair shop is". 

The way modern search engines solve this problem allows users to greatly simplify their search terms and organically discover the solution closest to their respective needs. Meanwhile, local businesses benefit - if they improve their local SEO.

Can you Prioritize Local SEO?

The big question is: Can you prioritize local SEO and make Google recognize you above other competitors? In a way, yes.

Local SEO is just like regular SEO in most cases. Google and other search engines still rely on the same metrics to evaluate and rank relevant links: topic relevance, domain authority, content quality, and website user experience.

The main difference is that you need to make sure that search engines like Google know where you are. 

You can improve Google's perception of your business location by creating a Google Business profile, setting up your business on Google Maps, and making sure your website references your location not only on your "About" page but also in the rest of your text, such as highlighting that you are a "family-owned business based in Winslow, Arizona."

Why Local SEO is Important for Small Businesses? 

It's important to use both the city and state names. This format lends itself best to web crawlers that help gather data for local search results. 

3 Ways to Succeed With Local SEO

When choosing the best results for a local search, search engines like Google look for specific signals that determine a website's relevance, distance from the user, and prominence. So, if you're looking to outrank the competition and get your business to appear first in local searches, you should: 

Hire an SEO specialist based in your region

The specific challenges and benefits of local SEO vary by location and business niche. That's why the most important step you can take is to partner with a local SEO expert.

For example, if you are looking to establish a local business in the capital of New South Wales, you need to look no further than a consultant who provides SEO services in Sydney.

An expert with local knowledge can help you identify your competitors, build relevant quality backlinks (e.g. through local newspapers and magazines), and create content that resonates with your local community.

Use the right tools, such as Google My Business

There are a variety of local SEO tools you can deploy to start climbing the rankings and secure a spot in Google's Local Pack. These tools include:

- An optimized Google My Business profile

- Up-to-date and consistent NAP information (name, address, and phone number)

- Social media platforms

- Online directories and citations

- On-page signals (i.e.: specific services you offering and keywords)

- Online reviews

Create content that is locally relevant to your audience.

Localized content is essential to engaging your audience, both on your website and on your social media pages. Additionally, using localized tags and meta titles can help you establish more signals for Google's crawlers to pick up and evaluate. 

Not sure what your content strategy should be? A social media manager or local SEO specialist can help you understand the type of information and media your audience is most likely to engage with.

Build a Real Community

One of the most important aspects of local SEO is real community engagement. By networking with competitors, local charities, and businesses that complement yours, your local community can become your competitive advantage and help you build a strong reputation. Make sure you're leading your local SEO efforts both digitally and in your everyday life!

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