If you’re looking to take your business to the next level, you need to stay on top of the local search trend for 2017. We’re sharing why this is so important.
As local businesses become increasingly aware of the importance of digital marketing and search engine optimization, SEO continues to grow more and more complicated.
As you read this, hundreds of people in your local area could be searching for products and services that you provide, but are they finding you?
What’s the point of advertising your brand far and wide if the people down the road don’t know you exist? If growing your business is important to you, then you have to start in your own neighborhood.
The best way to get your name out to your community is by optimizing your local search engine traffic.
In this article, we’re going to explain what makes local search engine optimization so important to your business and the best ways to take advantage of that traffic.
Why is Local Search Engine Optimization a Priority?
1. People Qualify Their Searches Locally
When someone is researching a product or service online and they want to find it quickly, they tend to add a local qualifier like their city name or “near me.”
If your business isn’t locally optimized, then it may not show up in their search results and they could end up going to one of your competitors.
2. Search Engines Recognize Local Searches
Even when people don’t add a qualifier to their search, most modern search engines are designed to recognize when a local search would be more helpful and populate user search results with local businesses first.
If you run a restaurant, hotel, or other business that draws a significant portion of its revenue from local customers then you need to invest in local search optimization.
3. Local Searches Result in Purchases
Search Engine Watch reports that 4 out of 5 consumers conduct a local search online before visiting a store and 61% of mobile searches for local businesses result in a purchase within 24 hours.
So if your business isn’t optimized for local searches, how much easy business are you throwing away?
How to Optimize Your Your Business for Local Searches
1. Google My Business
Your first stop in figuring out how to best optimize your local search results is “Google My Business,” Google’s one-stop shop to manage all your business information and increase your local SEO ranking.
Once you sign up for a free account, make sure to verify it, as owner-verified accounts rank higher than unverified ones.
When filling out your profile, you’ll want to include the following information:
- Telephone Number
- Hours of Operation
- Website Address
- Images (with keywords)
- Business Categories
All of this information makes you more discoverable on the web, which in turn makes Google put you higher in their search results.
2. SEO Ranking Criteria
Beyond having a verified and descriptive “Google My Business” profile, there are a few factors that affect your local SEO ranking. These are the criteria that can put you above your local competitors.
As with SEO in general, your search engine rankings improve when your business’s website links out to other pages, and when other pages link back to you. It’s even better if you establish two-way links (linking out to a site that already links back to you).
For a customer to be able to find you, they need to be able to search keywords relevant to your business. For example, if you run a pizza shop, your website should contain the word pizza multiple times on different pages.
When a customer searches, “Pizza near me,” Google will populate the most relevant pages for the user. If your site contains the word “pizza” on multiple pages, it determines that you’re more relevant to the user’s query.
Google My Business Signals
This includes customer reviews of your business, photos, and your owner-verified profile.
3. Local Search Engines
Google should be your first stop in creating a profile because it’s the most widely used search engine in the world. But it’s not the only search engine, so it shouldn’t be the only site you create a profile on.
Determine the sites that would be most popular with your target customer base and create profiles on each of them.
Here are some places you might want to consider:
- Bing Places
- Yahoo Local
Some local search engines are specific to business categories like restaurants, but others are as broad as Google.
It never hurts to show up on more search engines, so do some research on where your customers get their information.
4. Social Media
Yes, if you want to run a successful business in today’s world, you have to be active on social media. Not only is it one of the easiest places for customers to find and learn about a new business, but it’s the place most people spread the word about them.
At the very least, your business should have a Facebook and Twitter page, but if you want the competitive edge (and you should), it doesn’t hurt to have pages on other popular sites such as:
- Google Plus
91% of internet users have at least one social media account, and the average user has at least five. If you want new customers to find you on the web, then you need to be where they’re already spending their time online.
But it’s not enough just to be present on social media. If you want your SEO rankings to improve, you need to stay constantly relevant. That means you should be frequently updating your pages with new content, so your customers have a reason to continue visiting.
For your business to grow and be successful, your customers need to be able to find you online. And your first priority should be the people in your local community.
Create profiles for your business on Google and any other local search engines that are relevant to your business, and make sure they’re optimized to give you the best possible search engine rankings.
Finally, to improve your local SEO rankings your business needs to be active on social media.
Customers are the lifeblood of your brand. For your business to grow, your customer base needs to grow, and that means investing in local search marketing as soon as possible!