Search engine optimization or “SEO” is a proven way to increase a website’s rank on Google, Bing, and other popular search engines. The idea behind SEO is that one follows a series of processes to improve a site’s visibility and accessibility to both search engines and human visitors.
Why local SEO should matter to you
SEO techniques are broad and, when used correctly, the right ones will always return the best results for website owners. One approach to optimization is local SEO, and it’s a technique that is becoming more important and relevant in today’s digital world.
As a business leader and website owner, you will want to ensure that your brand quickly reaches your target audience on the World Wide Web. Local SEO is a crucial way to deliver details about your brand on a regional level and is vital for those with retail stores and physical premises that customers can visit.
Because of Google’s “Venice” algorithmic updates, most search engine results pages (SERPs) are filled with localized results tailored to relevant queries. For instance, if you search Google for supermarkets, the SERPs will display details of such vendors in your vicinity. What’s more, you don’t even need to be logged into a Google/Gmail account for those relevant results to get displayed.
It’s also worth noting that nearly half of all search queries carried out on Google are done so to seek out local products and services. As you can appreciate, local SEO is now a powerful concept to embrace for your online marketing strategies!
The sad truth is that many website owners fail to recognize the importance of local SEO or, indeed, how to harness its power for their sites.
Regardless of whether a site is new or established, if you have a physical presence in your area, you should carry out a local SEO audit of your website. Here are 12 reasons why:
1 – Consumers go online to find local businesses
It’s no secret that when we need to find a local company to provide a service or offer a particular product to us, we’ll search online for them. Gone are the days where we would spend time searching through paper-based local directory listings. Thanks to the Internet, we can now get the answers we need in seconds.
An interesting fact to bear in mind about local business searches on Google and other search engines is this: mobile searches have surpassed desktop ones! That means the likelihood is high that people will be searching for local businesses while they are on the move.
2 – Local SEO is a highly targeted marketing strategy
While the primary reason for local searches is to find specific businesses, the secondary one is to seek out products and services. In essence, there are two groups of people performing local searches.
The first is trying to identify a specific company or brand in their local area, usually a retailer. Meanwhile, the second group don’t have a particular business name in mind. However, they know the name of the product or service that they want.
Local search engine optimization tactics ensure you can position your brand to best meet the needs of consumers in your area. If your website’s aim is to attract people from a particular town, city, or region, a local SEO audit is a must to help you achieve that goal.
3 – Local SEO can help you achieve high conversion rates
Have you ever noticed that online directory websites often dominate the first page of SERPs for local searches? That’s because they include NAPs in their listings – Names, Addresses, and Phone Numbers.
You will no doubt have deduced that those three pieces of information are vital to attracting consumers to a local brand or the products and services that it offers. What you may not realize is that NAPs are a brilliant way to help you achieve high conversions from your website!
Because more people are turning to the Internet for help than classifieds pages in local newspapers, you’ll have higher response rates from your website. As long as you carry out a local SEO audit first, of course!
4 – Smartphone ownership is rising to exponential levels
The days of “ordinary” or standard mobile phones are numbered! These days, more of us are opting for smartphones – even people that seldom use all of their functions and features! The main selling point of smartphones is they allow us to connect with other individuals in a multitude of ways.
They’re also extremely useful for displaying website content without the need to use a desktop or laptop computer.
Devices such as the Apple iPhone and Samsung Galaxy are pretty good at loading up web pages, even those that aren’t designed for mobile browser screens. According to StatCounter, smartphones and tablets accounted for 51.3% of all web browsing back in Q4 2016.
With the processing power of a computer in a small, compact form, smartphones make it easy for us to search for brands, products, and services wherever we are. They are also a convenient way of searching for local retailers that stock specific products.
By conducting a local SEO website audit, you can ensure that your brand becomes at the forefront of people’s minds when they search for the types of things that you sell.
5- Local SEO gives a high ROI (return on investment)
Business leaders will naturally want to keep their marketing budgets small and only stick to strategies that work. In the world of Internet marketing, search engine optimization can sometimes feel like a gamble to entrepreneurs. With all the time and money invested in promoting a website, they will worry that they aren’t getting value for money.
One of the huge advantages of local SEO strategies is they provide a high ROI, regardless of the budget spent! So, if you’ve got a retail store or local service business, you will no doubt want to promote your brand to the local community first and foremost.
As mentioned in point three earlier, local SEO is a highly targeted marketing strategy. When you complete a local SEO audit of your website and carry out any required optimization work, you will soon discover just how fruitful your investment will be!
6 – A local SEO audit can reveal crucial competitor insights
Whenever you plan a new marketing strategy, you will no doubt carry out plenty of research before you execute it. For instance, if you were doing a PPC ad campaign, you’d determine which keywords were most relevant for the things you were trying to promote.
For local search engine optimization, an audit of your website can actually help you find out valuable information about your competitors. For example, a local SEO audit could show you the best-selling products and services in your area from the range that you sell. And it can also give you insights into how saturated the market is in your immediate vicinity or region.
If you head over to Google Maps and search for a type of business in there, you’ll see a list of relevant results. That information can be handy at helping you size up your competition and give you an edge over them. Plus, it can alert you if you’ve not taken the time to complete your listing on Google My Business (the details of which would be shown on the map results).
Of course, not everyone uses Google Maps to search for local businesses or firms that sell specific products and services. But, the SERPs for standard Google searches usually include a small map on the page with a list of local providers if you’re doing area-based searches.
7 – You will learn more about the feedback your customers give you online
When you have a local listing on Google My Business, people won’t just find out vital contact details about you. They also view such listings to determine what kind of feedback you get from other customers.
Online feedback is a very powerful thing and can either propel a brand’s reputation into the stratosphere or destroy it. Do you know what your customers are saying about you online? If not, conducting a local SEO audit will help you find out that information.
8 – You’ll find out more about consumer spending habits
You might not realize it, but your best-selling products and services online might not sell like hotcakes in the offline world! An advantage of selling to consumers face-to-face and on the Internet is you can learn a great deal about their spending habits and tailor your offline and online offerings accordingly.
One of the benefits of having a local SEO audit done on your website is you can find out more about the types of products and services consumers are most likely to buy from your physical premises.
9 – Your website will rank higher in Google and other search engines
One of the basic things we get told about SEO is that we can measure the popularity of a website through an unofficial metric called Domain Authority. In a nutshell, the higher your DA rank, the more of your content will get shown in relevant SERPs.
As you probably know, search engines like Google use a variety of factors to rank sites. Local SEO is now an important aspect of website ranking and one that will contribute to a higher domain authority.
Even if you don’t have a retail store, you should still optimize your site for local SEO. Don’t forget that some of your customers may wish to speak with you in person or on the phone to discuss their requirements before buying from you.
If you don’t make it easy for those potential sales leads to find you, they will take their business elsewhere. And that’s obviously something you don’t want to happen!
10 – Proximity-based searches are on the rise
Sometimes when people are searching for brands, products, or services on their smartphones, they might not enter the name of their local area.
However, Google will magically display relevant results that list local businesses and organizations in the SERPs. Most modern smartphones have GPS built into them, and Google uses that information to locate where the searcher is.
These days, it’s not just smartphones or even tablets that more of us are using to search for things on the go. The evolution of wearable technology means things like smartwatches are also enabling people to find nearby local companies.
A local SEO audit will give you the best chance of being seen by people using mobile devices and wearables to search for the products and services that you sell.
11- You need local SEO to give you a competitive edge
There is no denying that competition is getting even more fierce these days for most industries and sectors. With search engine algorithms and technology, in general, evolving at such a rapid pace, it’s crucial that your brand keeps up to avoid getting left behind in the dust.
Having a local SEO audit performed will give your brand a much-needed competitive edge. Even if you don’t have premises where customers can visit, it still helps your business get found online by your potential clients.
12 – You need to know if search engines are penalizing your site
It might shock you to learn that some business leaders have no idea whether their websites are “blacklisted” by search engines or not! Sure, typing in their brand name into Google might show up a link to their site in the SERPs. But, what happens if none of the products or services you offered come up on the first or even second results pages?
One of the most important things about search engine optimization is that you know whether you are in Google’s good books or not! A local SEO audit is an ideal opportunity for you to find out the answer to that question.
You may find that your website got penalized for something as simple as duplicate content on a couple of pages – an easy mistake to rectify.
So as you can see, there are a myriad of reasons why making sure your site has implemented all the local SEO best practices to ensure it’s maximizing the organic visibility you need to reach your clients.
If you need help with your local SEO and are now considering a comprehensive SEO site audit of your site, let’s get together and put a plan together for your website.