Many website owners now understand the importance of SEO. Business owners know that search engines are the way that most people search for things on the internet and therefore it becomes important to be highly visible on search engine results page as this translates into higher traffic and conversions.
Achieving a higher ranking on search engines (i.e. Google) is no easy feat. It takes a lot of hard work and development of only the best SEO practices. Unfortunately, results don’t just come overnight. What a lot of business owner seem to be unaware of is the power of local SEO. Local SEO can provide some real benefits but tends to be overlooked.
Well, local SEO is when Google shows results based primarily on geographical location. Let me explain it to you this way; so if lived in Sydney City and wanted to go eat Italian food for dinner, I’d be pretty annoyed if I searched “Italian restaurants” into Google and it listed me with results from some suburbs in Sydney. So what Google does is it only shows results that are local to the area I am making the search from.
Local SEO differs from normal SEO because there is a distinct focus on your Google My Business profile and not solely on your website. If you didn’t know, Google shows business pages in the results page (which is why it is important to set up a My Business profile, if you don’t already have one). This shows users a map and address etc. allowing them to easily see where the business is located.
You can see in the results below when I searched for “Italian restaurants”. I didn’t even have to type “Italian restaurants Sydney” or anything similar, it automatically knew where I was and gave me the local results.
When businesses do not engage in local SEO they tend to miss a whole potential section of consumers. Local SEO provides businesses with a great opportunity they cannot afford to miss. By targeting local consumers you will tend to get a better success rate because this is exactly what they are looking for.
Consumers use local search to help them locate a particular business they were looking for as well as to find a local product and/ or service. The interesting thing about the local searcher is that they are usually looking for an actual business however they don’t have a name in mind.
This goes back to the “Italian restaurants” example. I wanted a specific business name so I could conduct further searches using their name to see if it is a place I would like to eat. But I didn’t have any specific business in mind, hence why “Italian restaurants” was searched.
When you deploy local SEO tactics you are better targeting your audiences. This means you are able to promote your business and what you have to offer the local consumer. When I searched for “Italian restaurants”, I was clearly not looking for a steak house. All the results given in Google were specifically targeted to my needs.
Local SEO means you are targeting only the consumers who are genuinely interested in what your business has to offer. For example, if I searched for “restaurants” it would give a list of all different types of restaurants. Maybe I don’t feel like eating fast food or sushi, but I would have to sift through the website (with no conversions for them) until I found one I liked.
So when using local SEO for your website, you may not reach as many potential consumers as normal SEO. However, you know that the consumers you do reach are highly targeted and much more likely to lead to a conversion because you are probably exactly what they are looking for.2. Local customers use the internet to find businesses
When is the last time you used a phone book to find a local business? The internet revolutionised the way people do things and search for information. Now, it is so easy for customers to use the internet to find a local business.
Local SEO is kind of like the modern day version of the Yellow Pages. Instead of flipping through the pages of the phone book, consumers now use Google to find what they are looking for. Google helps users find exactly this by listing all the local businesses by relevancy.
With so many looking online for local websites, you would be silly to not invest resources into SEO. As well as this, Search Engine Land explains that local searches make up nearly half of all Google searches. Also, almost 80% of local mobile searches lead to a purchase offline (i.e. when I searched for “Italian restaurants” and then went to one of the restaurants I found on the list provided by Google – that would be an offline purchase). Yes you read that right, almost 80%! And people still don’t think local SEO is worth it?!3. Cost effective with a potentially high return on investment
Overall SEO practices offer a more cost effective approach compared to other forms of marketing, e.g. PPC advertising or social media campaigns. Local SEO certainly fits into the category as well. Local SEO strategies are fairly cheap and can be more effective than the traditional forms of online marketing.
As well as this, the return on investment is usually quite high. This is because of the highly targeted nature of local SEO. As I said before in the first point, when using local SEO you are really only targeting those consumers who want to know specifically about your business. This therefore means your return on investment is better.4. It’s easy to create a profile
With local SEO it is important for you to set up a Google My Business profile. While you can get in touch with an SEO company to do it for you to ensure everything is completed correctly. It isn’t actually that hard to do it yourself. The process as a whole is straightforward.
Despite this easy process, only about 44% of all businesses claim or set up their Google My Business profile. Google My Business is actually free and it is available to almost all businesses. When you set up your profile it increases the likelihood of your listing showing up in a high position on Google. Back to the “Italian restaurants” example, in the picture you can see those businesses that have set up their Google My Business profile.
Despite the benefits setting up this profile can bring, not many businesses do (as said above, only 44%). While this is a missed chance for them, it is an added opportunity for you! This allows you to get a good head start against your competition.
This means once everyone is doing it, your website will be established and hopefully have a better ranking than the others. There is no time better than the present, so set up your profile now while there isn’t as much competition!5. Increase in quality reviews
There is no trying to fight it, online reviews are important. When you set up your Google My Business account it allows for an easier way for consumers to leave a review. Most customers don’t think about leaving a review unless they are reminded. So with Google My Business you are most likely to see an increase in your reviews.
This is an example of what your profile will look like if you set up a Google My Business account and a user types your business name into Google:
Reviews are how you build credibility and many consumers take reviews very seriously. Usually it is better to have the option open for reviews (even if you get a few bad ones) then to not let consumers review at all. Because whether you like it or not, there are plenty of other places (i.e. social media) consumers can go to voice their opinion.
By allowing for reviews through your Google My Business profile, you have the ability to reply and talk to all those who have left reviews. Consumers will tend to trust other people’s previous experience more than that of the business themselves saying how great they are.
In local SEO, Google My Business reviews are certainly one of the biggest ranking factors. So the better the reviews, the better chance you have a high ranking. Not only this, but you give potential clients a good first impression.Summary
Many website owners seem to be jumping on board with SEO, however they don’t know about the true power of local SEO. When you put local SEO practices into place you have the ability to grow your business well into the future.
Local SEO isn’t widely used so it is a good idea to start now before too many of your competitors catch on! By setting up your Google My Business profile you are truly opening your business up to so many new and exciting possibilities.
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