Local SEO: What It Is and Why It’s Important for Small Businesses
At this very instant, take out your phone, open Google, and then search for “best Japanese restaurant.” What do you see?
The top results usually aren’t the best Japanese restaurants in America or the world. But, it would probably be several locally-owned Japanese restaurants that are the closest to where you are right now.
That’s the power of local SEO.
How can your small business in Miami use local SEO to get ahead of the competition online? Whether you plan on working with a Miami SEO Expert or testing the waters on your own, here’s what you need to know!
What Is Local SEO?
Local SEO is a subset of search engine optimization that focuses on increasing a local business’s visibility in local search engine results.
The local search results generally respond to a meaningful “near me” query. This indicates that a search engine is looking for something “in [CITY],” or that the search engine has recognized that there are geographic constraints when searching.
Businesses can use local search optimization strategies to increase their visibility in search results for terms or keywords related to their business and its products or services.
Why Is Local SEO Essential for Small Businesses?
Today, nearly half of all Google searches are for local businesses. Even if a person conducts a daily search, the likelihood of Google displaying nearby local businesses is still very high.
Why is this important for small businesses? Google reported a 900 percent increase in searches for the term “near me” from 2017 to 2019. To better meet the needs of searchers, Google has begun to provide more results for geo-relevant searches based on:
This means that if your business is close to where someone does their search, provides the service or product they’re looking for, and has an optimized local business listing, you’re more likely to be found online by potential customers.
What Are the Upsides of Local SEO?
Aside from improving visibility in Google search engine results pages (SERPS), investing in local SEO has additional benefits for small businesses.
A Low-Cost Marketing Solution
While managing your business information in online directories takes time and effort, you can usually set up free local business listings across the web with tools like Google My Business and Facebook, making local SEO a more cost-effective option for online advertising.
Allows Local Customers to Find You
Seventy-two percent of consumers who search for a local business visit a store within five miles. So, if someone finds you through local search results or Google Maps, you have a better chance of picking up new leads for your small business.
Reaches Customers Who Are Ready to Buy
A staggering 80% of local searches conducted on mobile devices result in a sale. Local SEO puts you in front of customers when they’re looking for a product or service, making them much more likely to buy or inquire for more information.
Increases the Number of Qualified Search Visitors
Local search can aid in weeding out searchers who are unlikely to contact your company. This is not because search engines attempt to protect businesses from customers, but instead because they want to provide relevant local results based on proximity and intent. So, while someone 50 miles away is unlikely to find your Design company in a search, someone five miles away will.
How Can Local SEO Help Small Businesses?
The steps your small business can take to improve its visibility in local SERPs are less complicated than you might think. Here are some of the most straightforward ways to boost your local SEO efforts.
Create Reliable and Consistent Local Citations
Local citations occur when your company’s name, address, and phone number are mentioned online, such as in a local business listing. Ensure that your information is correct and used in a consistent format every time you add local citations to the web, regardless of where you add them. This increases the trustworthiness of your data in the eyes of search engines.
Include Your Company in Online Local Directories
Establishing local business listings in major search engines and online business directories such as Google My Business, Yelp, Bing Places, and Facebook makes it easier for search engines to verify that your business is legitimate and your data is correct.
Create and Manage a Google My Business Profile
You can feed your small business information directly into Google Search and Google Maps by creating a Google My Business profile for it. Not to mention, having a Google My Business account allows you to monitor business reviews in Google, make quick changes to your hours, and even communicate with customers via features such as Google Posts.
Regularly Respond to Reviews (Both Good & Bad)
Taking the time to respond to online reviews shows customers that you care and help your local search rank. While obtaining more business reviews may necessitate some effort, you should be prepared to respond—whether the reviews are positive or negative once you begin receiving them.
Make Hyperlocal Content Available on Your Website
Incorporating local keywords into your website copy can have a significant impact. Having business identifiers like “dentist in [CITY]” built into your website content, for example, can help search engines understand what you do and which local areas you serve. This means that if someone in your area searches for a “dentist near me,” you’re more likely to appear.
For small businesses, local SEO is critical. If done correctly, it is a tactic that can help you scale your business and increase your visibility to buyers in your local area.
But, be patient to see results – this is a long-term solution – and ensure you’re confident in the best practice. Plus, if necessary, ask help from an SEO Expert who has experience generating outcomes through website search engine optimization.