When you are in search of a local business or service, where do you turn? More than likely you pop open your laptop and rely on a search engine to fire back a plethora of results within a few seconds. Let’s face it: with the trusty Internet, searching is a breeze.
But have you ever wondered how businesses get featured on search engines like Google and Bing? This is where local SEO comes into play, and if you’re not taking advantage of it you’re missing out on an effective way to market your business online.
What is local SEO?
In simple terms, local SEO is a very targeted online marketing approach. It’s the process of getting your website to rank high in local searches to help promote your services and products to local prospects at the exact time that they’re looking for them.
This type of SEO practice works the best for someone who services a specific geographic area, such as a real estate agent. For example, if a potential homebuyer is searching for “real estate agents in the Philadelphia metro area,” local SEO will help to position you directly in front of this person, and ahead of your competition.
Why does local SEO matter?
Think that local SEO doesn’t matter if you’re a small business? Think again!
For starters, anyone and everyone are performing local searches. In fact, according to a stat from Search Engine Watch, 59% of consumers use Google every month to find a reputable, local business. Which means that if you’re not ranking for these local searches, you’re missing out on numerous opportunities.
While organic SEO can be extremely effective, the competition for local SEO is much smaller. You’re only competing for a position with other businesses within your local area, instead of nationwide. The better visibility that you have on a SERP (search engine page), the more likely that someone will click and convert into a valuable customer.
How can I increase my local SEO presence?
Create a Google Business Page.
A Business Page is an easy way to get your information in front of local searchers. They act as mini directory listings, and your information—phone number, address, and website—is displayed when someone searches for your business. In addition, a Business Page provides a platform for previous clients to leave reviews—which are coveted for both your business and for Google, alike. In fact, Google aims to display the most relevant and trusted reviews for all search terms. Meaning if your business listing includes an array of positive reviews, there’s a greater chance that you’ll show up for local searchers.
Have high-quality content on your website.
Ah, Google’s algorithm—it’s almost as confusing as Facebooks, but here’s the good news. We know that whenever Google updates their algorithm, they continue to add more signals that scan the content on your website. So, what does this mean for you? That your website’s content plays a big role in how high your Google Business Page will rank within the search results. Google deems websites that have high-quality content more valuable, and are likely a better fit for searcher’s questions.
Double check your contact information.
Your contact information—name, address, and phone number—on your website should be accurate and listed in text form, not as an image. Sounds like a no-brainer, right? However, this seemingly simple detail can oftentimes go overlooked and end up negatively affecting your local SEO. Google compares your website’s contact info to what you listed on your Business Page, and if they aren’t displaying the same information, your search rankings could be hurt. It’s important to ensure that your website and profile are consistent.
At the end of the day, if you provide services for a specific geographic region, consider utilizing local SEO to increase your online marketing efforts.