The Importance of Local SEO for Local Small Businesses

The Importance of Local SEO for Local Small Businesses

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) success goes beyond ranking for keywords, especially if you have conversion goals to meet. Almost every small business has a website these days, but this research by Econsultancy shows that only about 22% of businesses are satisfied with their conversion rates.

How is that possible?

The answer is simple. For every service you offer or products you sell, there are thousands of other businesses out there doing the same. When web users run searches, they are presented with results which include all those businesses i.e. your competitors.

When people in your city are in need of products and services you specialize in, how do they find you? 9 in 10 people use the internet to find local products & services and according to Search Engine Watch, Google's “near me” searches have increased by 200% over the past few years. That is searches like “Furnace repair near me” or “roofing contractors near me” or “cafes near me”. People are always looking for the closest business offering something they need. In fact, Google tells us that 30% of mobile searches are related to user’s location. However, if you are not being found on the search results, you are missing out on tons of customers!

Local SEO Agency in Toronto, Canada

Google’s algorithms have been programmed to push local businesses to the top of result pages if their content is relevant. Google is way beyond promoting junk websites stuffed with keywords for bots. Their first concern is relevance, and that is what local SEO is built on. For example, if you sell drones, and your business is located in Ontario, then Google wants you to be on their first result page when someone searches “where to buy drones in Ontario” or simply “drones in Ontario”. Local SEO is therefore an amalgamation of keyword relevance AND locality. 

Don’t believe me?

Here’s the first thing I see when I search for “where to buy drones in Ontario”. These are Google My Business (GMB) results, which I will be explaining later.

The first results (even before websites) are GMB pages of drone stores, often referred to as the “Google Snack Pack” or “Google 3-pack”. Google knows that giving their users relevant data as quickly as possible will keep them happy.

Now, here’s the good news. You can take advantage of this opportunity using Local SEO. Local SEO consists of all SEO efforts that are targeted towards visibility by a local audience - usually people within your area or city.

This report shows that 72% of consumers who perform a local search eventually visit a store within 5 miles of their location.

Businesses that do local SEO the right way experience an almost immediate growth in their conversion rates. Not just that, this growth stays consistent if their efforts stay consistent as it is a more sustainable way to attain customers, contrary to pay per click ads, which are less trusted by users.

Some of the benefits of local SEO include:

  • Your business comes up in targeted searches based on locality.
  • Your website traffic increases
  • You get better brand recognition
  • Local SEO can support brand extension
  • With higher traffic, you get higher conversion such as sales, signups, etc.
  • You can build long-term networks with other local businesses

And you would not disagree that all these aforementioned are the bread and butter of local small businesses. Local SEO is not just for e-commerce sites. A Search Engine Land report shows that 78% of local mobile searches will eventually result in an offline purchase. That being said, Local SEO can promote offline transactions just as much as online conversions.

 

I do SEO though, so why am I not getting found?

If you are not getting found in online searches, it could mean one of two things.

Your website could contain data that Google does not agree with, or even penalizes for. Hopefully, you have not been penalized. Avoid all blackhat SEO efforts such as keyword stuffing, paid links, duplicate content, etc. They could cause your website to get banned from all Google’s result pages.

Another reason for low page rankings is incomplete SEO efforts. SEO is ever-changing and local SEO is more targeted than the general efforts.

To get your pages to rank better, here are a few changes you could make today:

5 Changes for better Local SEO

  1. Co-ordinate your NAP along all platforms

No, I’m not asking you to take a nap. NAP stands for Name, Address, and Phone number. You can also include Website, as website links are required on many platforms. These platforms usually include social media sites and online directories such as Yelp, Fouresquare, Yellowpages and even Social Media sites like LinkedIn and Facebook. .

If you’re hoping that potential customers find you online, then it makes sense to ensure that they have access to the right contact information. Even after finding a business, 86% of people still look up the location on Google Maps.

Also, according to this study, 78% of location-based mobile searches eventually result in an offline purchase.

Beyond this, Google also considers the presence of a NAP when ranking pages. This survey by Moz shows that it is part of the on-page SEO that accounts for 21% of results.

  1. Title and Meta tags

Your title and meta tag are a reflection of your website’s content. They are the few lines of words that make both Google and a user decide if your page is relevant to their search. Here’s what it looks like:

They should contain simple and clear information on what you are, where you are located, and what services you offer. When setting your title and meta tag, think of the keywords a user will type in, to find a business like yours.

  1. Google My Business (GMB)

GMB is the biggest directory on the internet, and it is owned by Google. Businesses can claim or set up their GMB pages for free. The best part is GMB results appear at the top of the result page, even before websites. They look like this.

It is possible for another person to use your GMB page for fraudulent activities without your knowledge. If you haven’t yet, claim your page by going to https://www.google.com/business/

 

  1. Online reviews

This study revealed that 84% of people will trust an online review as much as they trust a recommendation from someone they know. This report also shows that 72% of consumers say they prefer to learn about a local business through a quick online search.

To build a positive online presence, always encourage your customers to leave a review after making a purchase from you. For better results, you can promise them an incentive, such as a small discount on their next purchase.

For many people, seeing a few positive reviews is all the confirmation they need to trust a new brand.

You can also monitor what people are saying about your brand by using tools like HootSuite. This way, you get an alert whenever someone leaves a review, directly or indirectly. Try to send nice replies to as many positive reviews as you get.

However, sometimes users are not so kind. This guide on Moz shows how you can handle negative reviews online.

  1. Create and encourage local content

According to Hubspot, 72% of online marketers describe content creation as their most effective SEO tactic.

Before you do this, you need to analyze your audience. You must have very detailed answers to the questions, “who is my target audience?” and, “What would they be interested in?”

When you have these answers, you can begin to create content for your website on topics that your audience is interested in enough to search for.

A few examples are:

  • Personal experience reports on local events
  • Changes in your city and how they might influence your business
  • Practical guides on the types of products or services you offer
  • Answering popular search questions such as “Where can I shop for kids in Ontario”. Remember to answer only the questions related to your industry.
  • Encouraging local press or media coverage of your business

 Help local customers find you!

The internet is currently a competitive space. Having an online presence for your business is not just enough. You must help your potential customers find you by staying visible, with the right efforts. If you want to have any form of success by using the internet to promote your local business, you must focus on a sustainable online presence growth. We here at BIZ-NECESSITY, based in Toronto, will provide you with a FREE Analysis of where you stand and where your business can truly get to. Just >CLICK HERE<

FREE online presence analysis for local small businesses