What You Don’t Know Online Can Hurt You
How do you know if you need a local SEO strategy? The critical word in this question is “local”. Do you have a business that attracts customers from zero to 15 miles away? Would potential customers searching for your products and services drive up to ten minutes to reach your business? If you can answer yes to these questions, you probably need to manage your local SEO strategy.
So what is local SEO? And why is it important?
What is local SEO?
Local SEO involves optimizing your online presence to attract business from local searches on Google and other search engines. According to Hubspot’s local SEO statistics, 46% of all Google search engines look for local information. And 72% of consumers who searched for a local product or service using local SEO searches near me visited a store within a five mile radius.
So does local SEO work? It sure did if you were one of those businesses. Wondering where to start? To illustrate the benefits of focusing on local SEO, we have put together a list of five reasons why it is essential to the success of your business.
5 reasons why local SEO is essential to the success of your business
Reason # 1 – Your business details appear in front of consumers looking for your products and services
Remember the good old days when you scoured the yellow pages to find companies that offered the products and services you needed? Today, all you do is type in the product or service you are looking for in a search engine on your laptop, desktop or mobile device. The companies that offer those products or services will appear. And if you type “near me” it will show you everything close enough to drive from your current location.
Pretty slick. Those “near me” local SEO searches save you time. Just choose what you like, open the map and directions, and voila. If you look at those results carefully, you will see that they are filled with online business directories, just like the yellow pages of days gone by.
When you compare local SEO vs. Organic SEO, both are still important. You want a content marketing strategy that helps your pages rank in search engine results for specific keywords and keyword phrases (the goal of organic SEO strategies). But local SEO is critical for businesses serving a localized community. It is somewhat less important for global companies that attract customers from all over.
Reason # 2 – Always accurate online directory citations increase your organic and local package rankings
You must include your business name, address, and phone number accurately and consistently in top-ranked local business directories and citations. That information is known as your NAP details (name, address, phone). A search engine bot is more likely to list your business on search engine results pages (SERPs) if they are confident that their information is consistent and accurate.
That seems fair. Do you think you could get frustrated if Google sends you to a company that is not there or gives you a phone number that is no longer in service? Search engines want to find this basic information about your business in many places on the Internet.
When they find that information in multiple places, and it is consistent and correct, they trust the data. But if Google or Bing, for example, see confusing and inconsistent data, they consider it less valid, less reliable. Therefore, search engines are more likely to omit it in favor of a company with more consistent NAP data.
Reason # 3 – Your company site gets more links from authoritative and trusted sites
Backlinks, or links that point to your site from trusted and authoritative websites, play an essential role in SEO. They validate the existence of your website, proving that your site is a viable force in the vast universe of the Internet. Additionally, some directory dating sites add a website URL field to their listings and display these URLs as “dofollow” links. That transfers valuable link equity to your site. Search engines use backlinks to determine the authority of your domain, boosting your SEO (unlike ‘nofollow’ links, which are nice but don’t give you any juice).
Want another great way to get a backlink while doing something else worthwhile to build your business? Join your local chamber of commerce or other business group. Doing this will provide a relevant local link to your website, and you will be able to network at local events. While you’re at these events, you might get some business or even more backlink opportunities.
Also, if you have vendors or are a product vendor, you might want them to link to your website as well (with a dofollow link, of course).
Reason # 4 – Your business will be closer to reaching the first page of search engine results
Online business directories take up a lot of space on search engine results pages (SERPs). As a result, local businesses that they list in their directories get top billing in local search queries. If you are not on those lists …
You need to know how to list your business in these local dating business directories because you will lose valuable business. And what you don’t know online can hurt you.
You might have the best pizza in town, but if the guy on the other side of town doesn’t find you when he searches for “pizza near me,” he’ll go buy his pizza from your competitor. And that brings us to Reason # 5.
Reason # 5 – Your business will get opportunities for third-party reviews
These are the three basic pillars to get a good ranking in Google’s local map package.
How well do you target your ads to the keywords or topics your potential customers would search for on your website?
How well does your business stand out online?
How close is your company to the potential customer looking for your products or services?
We have touched on relevance and proximity. Now is the time to talk about prominence – the positive reputation and feedback your business enjoys on the internet. How do search engines find this information? Many citations and directories allow clients to post reviews and rate their experiences with local businesses.
By providing excellent service, your business will benefit from this added benefit. But it is not enough to get good reviews. You should also answer them. And, if you receive a negative review, don’t worry. Just make sure you stay calm and respond appropriately. Work to resolve the problem as quickly as possible. Even a simple apology is better than no response.
More tips for local SEO
Local SEO for multiple locations, list all locations with staff including full name, address and phone number on a Contact Us page on your site.
For businesses with 10 or fewer locations, please list the full name, address, and phone number of each location in the footer of the entire site.
Make sure people can easily find your phone number on your website and is clickable on mobile devices.
Just as you want to be consistent across directories, make sure your NAP data is consistent across all pages of your website.
If your business offers services in multiple locations, you need a separate page with unique content for each site. Avoid copying and pasting from one page to another.
Customize your local SEO for your type of business
So what you don’t know online can hurt you. If your business isn’t working on a local SEO strategy, you’re leaving money on the table that your competitor in town will collect.
Local SEO works well, but takes time and patience just like organic SEO. This is why many companies hire a local SEO agency to put all the pieces together.