Why local SEO is important for your business
Make finding your business easy, not with bright lights and flashy signs, but with local SEO. By the time you’ve finished reading this blog, you will fully appreciate why local SEO is important for your business.
Importance of Local SEO
Local SEO involves using keywords from what people search for and developing your website, local listings, and your content to be optimised for those key terms and phrases, in order to reach your local audience. As “Near me” searches increase by 130% year on year, Google’s algorithm has become sophisticated enough to know whether your business is local to the searcher; now more than ever, companies should be looking to local SEO as a tool to utilise effectively.
Key factors affecting your local rankings
Understanding the factors affecting your local ranking is tricky because no one understands the Google algorithms apart from the select committee of engineers creating them.
Moz used to annually conduct a Local Search Ranking Factors Survey (LSRFS) to poll the opinions of local SEO professionals. This was an attempt to reach a general consensus on the most weighted factors affecting how local SEO content ranks. Despite this being a useful activity for the industry, it proved ineffective as Google handles results differently based on the market, industry, platform, and device, meaning that no two searches were judged the same.
Some factors do continuously arise in the algorithm’s top picks despite changes. The top 4 recurring factors affecting your ranking are:
Gaining links means having other websites link back to your site, this can grow your reach and bring in new customers. Localised links come from local blogs/websites, influencers, communities or groups; they’re often small sites with a low authority score but are concentrated with people looking for localised information as opposed to general information.
Opportunities for links are vast, and getting involved in various things within the community can be beneficial to any business, not just small businesses. Whether you offer your local Facebook group a discount or sponsor your local junior football team; there are plenty of ways to get your name out there to the relevant community of people.
From Google’s perspective, links are like popularity votes. The more quality links you have on your site the closer your website is to the internet’s version of a prom queen.
Content, such as blogs, gives you the chance to share your expertise in the industry you specialise within. Making this content localised, may mean mentioning or writing about; your general local area, events, landmarks or even people. Mentioning these keywords, where relevant and appropriate, will boost your local SEO as Google will work out and understand that your business is local to those landmarks and events, broadening your reach within your selected area.
However, content must remain conversational, so name-dropping the same keyword in every sentence won’t get you very far in terms of readability.
Google My Business (GMB)
Your Google My Business page is the ideal place to really make a big impact with your local SEO. Start thinking of your GMB page as your new local homepage; where all your go-to information goes and the first contact you make with any potential local customer. Ensuring that your Google My Business profile has been planned with mobile users in mind is vital nowadays, as mobile device searches hold 52% of the international online traffic.
Your Google My Business page offers you the space to publish useful short form information, and service categories about the business. Additionally, you can add current images and videos (of 30 seconds or less) to catch the eye of anyone looking at your profile as they search on the local pack, or maybe even search via Google Maps for local search results and local services. (the map with the top 3 businesses attached in a list view, on the right-hand side of the screen on a desktop or central on a mobile).
Raise your hand if you go straight to the bad reviews when looking for somewhere new to try because, alongside 88% of other potential consumers, I most definitely do. Scrolling through to see if there is any consistency to the negative comments made or if they’re just a little bit nit-picky. Ultimately using the reviews to decide what to avoid or even if I should use the business at all.
Reviews, in the eyes of Google, are all about balance. Bad reviews can lower your GMB ranking but, having only 5-star reviews may seem fishy to both customers and search engines alike. Generally speaking, a good average rating for a business is between 4.2 – 4.5 stars, but if you provide a great service – you get great reviews. Simple as pie.
If you’re struggling to get reviews – ask and make it easy for customers to do; if someone is chuffed with your products or the outcome of your service, show appreciation and suggest they mention it in a review about their experience. There is never any harm in asking and remember “Shy bairns get nowt”.
Alternatively, don’t be disheartened by a bad review. The best thing to do is respond quickly but be honest and authentic with it. Responding in this way shows any potential customers that you care for your clients while also humanising the brand and maintaining the reputation of the business. Apologise and take accountability for the issue, but quickly shift to get the conversation private; offer a call, direct message or email. This prevents any dispute from being in the public online space too long which would make both parties look bad.
Why local SEO is important to your business in short
If you’re still wondering why local SEO is important to your business, let’s summarise.
Local SEO offers the opportunity to reach the people who matter – customers close to you.
Google My Business profiles are equally free, easy to set up and hold all key information both current and potential customers may need or want before buying your product or service. With the additions of photos, videos, posts and Q&A options your GMB page can offer you the most out of local SEO.
As Google’s algorithm only gets smarter local SEO is continually becoming even more accessible for businesses of all shapes and sizes.
In a ‘post-pandemic’ world, supporting local businesses matters now more than ever to consumers. Harnessing the power of local SEO can make your business more visible to the consumers looking for you and wanting to support local, and has been shown to drive significantly more footfall to businesses open to walk-in customers and 18% of location-based mobile searches result in a sale within one day.
If SEO is a practice that you can’t quite get your head around, don’t worry!
Here at ROAR, our DIY SEO Software offers you the helping hand you need to up your SEO and Local SEO game.
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