No matter what industry you’re in, it’s always important to work on boosting your online presence. With so many different ways to reach people these days, it can be difficult to know what to focus on, but for many businesses, local SEO should be a priority.
The ability to reach local, engaged people is invaluable, but too many businesses are missing out when it comes to appearing in local searches. This is a shame because local SEO shows a great return on investment, but, the great thing is, you can take steps to change this.
So, why should you be implementing a local SEO strategy, and how can it make the difference you’ve been looking for in your marketing?
What is Local SEO?
Local SEO is the process of optimising your website so that it shows up in local search queries.
When someone goes to Google and types in a query such as “digital marketing near me,” this is known as a local search. There are lots of indicators Google uses to decide if a searcher wants local reviews, and it will identify certain phrases where it knows the user wants localised results.
- Digital marketing near me
- Digital marketing in Cornwall
- Local digital marketing
Google wants to show people the very best results for these searches, but if you’re not signalling to it that you’re a digital marketing agency in Cornwall (for example), then you’re not going to show up in those results.
Local SEO is all about making sure your website gets mentioned whenever there’s a local search related to your niche.
What Do Local Results Look Like
Local results are characterised by what Google refers to as local packs that feature a map listing some of the top local results for your query.
Since we’re based in Cornwall and everyone loves ice cream, let’s take a look at the results for “ice cream shop Cornwall.” Here we can see the power of the local pack. It gives these three ice cream shops a prime place right at the top of the results.
Around 46% of searches are looking for local information, which means these local packs are a common feature in the SERPs. If you can get your website featuring in these prime spots, then you’re going to see a lot more clicks.
Why is Local SEO Important?
Local SEO will vary in importance depending on what type of business you have, but for most, it can make a huge difference. Of course, a prime place in the local results means more clicks, but that’s just the beginning of the advantages of local SEO.
The stats behind local SEO are really impressive and the biggest thing about them is that people who click your local result often end up buying something from you.
- 88% of local searches on mobile result in that person calling or visiting your store
- 72% of people who performed a local search visited a store within 5 miles
- 78% of local searches result in an offline sale
- 18% of local mobile searches result in a purchase within 24hrs.
The key thing here is buyer intent; when someone does a local search, they’re normally pretty set on buying something.
It’s More Targeted
If you’re a local business that serves local people, then what benefit do you get from ranking worldwide, or even nationally for your keywords? It might bring in lots of traffic but if all your products and services are tailored to local people then it’s probably not going to result in many sales.
When you successfully use local SEO you’re reaching a much more targeted audience, allowing you to offer a personalised experience. This is another reason why local searches so often result in a purchase; you’re reaching exactly the right people with your messaging.
When you’re going for national and international keywords, there’s a lot more competition. If you’re doing your SEO well, then you’re finding the keywords where you’ve got a shot at ranking, but still you’re going up against some big companies and famous names.
With local SEO you’re up against a very different kind of competition though.
For example, if you’re trying to rank for “CRM” (customer relationship management,) then you’re up against some huge companies in Wikipedia, HubSpot, Microsoft, and Salesforce.
However, when you’re competing for the keyword “CRM Cornwall,” you’re up against very different companies.
This means you’re likely to have a much more realistic shot at ranking for this keyword.
How to Improve Your Local SEO
So, we’ve established that local SEO can make a big difference to your business, but how can you go about optimizing to show up in the local results?
In many ways, the process of optimising for local SEO is the same as it is for regular SEO, and it centres around a key premise: answering the questions/ pain points your target audience has.
There are a number of different ways we can do this.
Fill Out Your Google My Business Account
If Google and your target audience are going to find you, then you’ve got to help them out by giving them basic information about your business. The best way to do this is by making sure your Google My Business Account is filled out.
Make sure to fill it out thoroughly with up to date information such as opening times, addresses, and contact numbers and ensure that it’s been verified. These are the details Google will use to fill out all your information in the search engine results pages (SERPs,) so it’s an important first step to take.
Another step you can take is to encourage your customers to review your business on Google. This helps show Google that you’re a legitimate and trustworthy entity, and can help you rank better.
Reviews are a great tool to help your business and bring customers in, so always try and be responsive and encourage people to leave their thoughts.
Craft Content that Matters to Local People
If you’re going to reach local people, then you’ve first got to understand what they are searching for and how they are searching for it. Use a keyword research tool such as Ahrefs, Ubersuggest or even Google Keyword Planner, and discover what local keywords are popular.
Here’s what some keywords for “ice cream in Cornwall look like.”
This keyword research really helps you to dig down into how people search for “ice cream in Cornwall,” and then you can craft content around those keywords. Another great feature shows you the questions people are asking Google about ice cream in Cornwall which is a great way to optimise for voice search.
Once you’ve got your keywords, then it’s about crafting high quality content that’s going to engage your local audience. Ask yourself what local information people want and how you can work your keywords into these topics.
Localise Your Product/ Service Listings
If you’re offering services in a variety of locations, then make sure you’re capitalising on this by giving each location a dedicated product/service page. For example, our Cornish ice cream company might have locations throughout Cornwall, so we want to make sure we’re advertising this by offering individual pages for our outlets in Truro, Penzance, St Ives, Padstow, and Falmouth.
This gives you an opportunity to be much more specific with your local SEO and target each individual area. There’s no need to be stuffing keywords in at every opportunity, just write naturally about your services and target location, and Google will pick it up.
Again, it’s not just a case of signalling to Google what your business is all about, it’s about tailoring your content to your audience and giving them as much information as possible. The more targeted and personalised your web pages are, the more likely they are to create leads and sell your products/services.
Get Listed in Online Business Directories
The online world might seem very modern, but in many ways, it’s based on the same principles of the past. One such feature is business directories.
In the past, if customers wanted to find a local business, they would look in a directory such as the Yellow Pages. While these directories have moved online now, they do still play a part in people finding your business, and it’s beneficial to make sure your company is being featured.
These listings on websites such as Yelp, Foursquare, and Mapquest, provide Google with more confirmation that you are what you say you are and that you should be featuring in local listings.
As well as boosting your business’s visibility, listings in online business directories do factor as a positive ranking signal, so will boost your local SEO efforts.
Focus on Building Quality Links
Backlinks – the links that point from other people’s websites back to yours are one of the most powerful ranking signals out there. If you’ve got lots of links from high-quality websites in your niche, then your website has a great base to build from.
The same thing goes for local SEO, and you can actively work on building links from other local businesses.
One of the great things about this is that local businesses are often keen to help each other out, which gives you a great opportunity to build some strong links. Start by building relationships with the other businesses in your area, and then reach out to them about a guest post that can add value to their website whilst also getting you a crucial backlink.
Local SEO is often under-utilised, but it can have some seriously impressive results for your business. One of the key tenets of digital marketing is being able to target the right people with the right message, and if your customers are locally based, then local SEO is one of the best ways to do this.
What’s more, people who are searching for local businesses often have high buyer intent, which sees these queries turn into sales at a high rate. If your business isn’t ranking for these searches, then you’re leaving these great benefits wide open for your competitors to enjoy.
However, with the right strategy, and a few tweaks to your local SEO, you can give your website a much better chance of showing up in these searches. If you’re creating high-quality content, and consistently get it in front of the right people, then you will start to see results, and local SEO is going to give you the return on investment you crave.
Whether you’re looking for tips on your SEO, or help getting started with your content creation process, we’re here to help, and can point you in the right direction. We know you’ve got the amazing local business, you just need to announce it to the right people, and that’s what we specialise in.
Take the first step today by contacting us today. Let us know what your project is all about, we’d love to help.