Do you know why local SEO is important, whether it is relevant to your business, and how to improve your chances of success with local customers and clients? This guide will help you with getting some clarity on local SEO and show you why it matters so much.
What Is Local SEO?
Local SEO is exactly what it sounds like. It is the practice of optimising your online presence to increase your search engine visibility with users in your local area.
Why is local search so important for businesses? 45% of all Google searches are for local businesses, so it really matters.
Most people use their mobile devices to perform local searches, such as to check the opening hours of their local bar, to find a nearby takeaway, or search for stockists of a particular product they want. A lot of these searches will then call or visit the business. A huge amount of these searches for local businesses on a mobile device results in a call or a visit within 24 hours, so you really need to make sure you’re showing up in these searches.
Google’s ‘Local Pack’ is where you should aim to be when you’re working on local search marketing. The Local Pack is the three businesses that show up in a box at the top of the search page when you make a search like ‘office cleaning companies near me’, along with a map and dropped pins. It’s not surprising that the links in this area get a lot more clicks and more customers than any of the links that appear lower down on the page.
But how do businesses manage to get into this magical area? Getting there is all part of a strong SEO campaign, and to get started, you need to have a solid understanding of local SEO (or hire someone who does), how it works, and how to play the game.
If you aren’t sure where to start, and you need some help and advice to improve your local SEO, it can be well worth using an external agency to help you. These agencies are the experts and can give you advice on things like local SEO citations and other ranking factors. They can also run your campaign for you if you prefer.
Who Needs Local SEO?
If your business has a local customer or client base, then you can benefit from local SEO.
Some businesses might not realise that could be drawing in more people from outside their local area when they use local SEO. This is especially relevant for catering and the hospitality industries, which may often be searched by non-local visitors before they come to your venue.
Businesses that need local SEO include:
- Hospitality, such as hotels, restaurants, cafes, and bars
- Medical practices, like doctors, dentists, and clinics
- Law firms, like barristers and solicitors
- Local services, like electricians, plumbers, florists, hair salons, accountants, and gyms
Businesses that don’t need it include:
- Private sellers
- Ecommerce companies
- Online-only services
Why Is Local SEO Important?
Local SEO will help your business to stand out, even if you don’t have a website, and helps to drive people to your premises through online leads.
These leads are from people who were searching for products or services that your business offers, so they are likely to give you a high conversion rate.
Searches with local intent are getting more common, with many users now turning to search engines to find local information and search result information sending a huge 70% of consumers to a physical store.
Local SEO can also drive people to see your business more favourably. The more information they have about your business before they visit, the more trustworthy you will seem in their eyes.
What Are The Key Local SEO Ranking Factors?
The three most important for local ranking, according to Google, are:
- Relevance. This is how well people’s searches match a local listing. Adding detailed information about your business helps Google to understand it and match your listing to relevant searches.
- Distance. This is how far potential businesses are from the location terms used in a search. If a customer doesn’t specify a location in the search, Google calculates distance based on what is known about their location.
- Prominence. This is how well-known a business is, based on the information Google has about it from across the internet, like links, articles, and directories. Google review counts and scores are also factored in local search rankings. More reviews and good ratings will improve your local ranking.