Search Engine Optimization, or SEO, is a must for every business. However, solely focusing on SEO for your website or your social media platforms leaves lots of opportunities on the table. In addition to general SEO, you also need to concentrate on local SEO for small business sales. Local SEO truly is its own sport, and you need to know how to play if you want to succeed.
Local SEO refers to searches that include the words “near me” or perhaps the name of a town or with a zip code. Local searches are also the default for searches conducted within Google Maps. Local SEO uses different algorithms and presents results in vastly different ways. Here’s why it matters.
Four Reasons Why You Must Invest in Local SEO for Small Business
1. Local SEO Targets Better Consumers
Businesses have a choice between focusing on widespread, national marketing, or local marketing. While small businesses would love to grow and reach national acclaim, you have to start with your local community. Local SEO gets your name out there and establishes your business as a part of your town or city.
But most importantly, local SEO attracts people who are more likely to actually pay you for goods or services. The vast majority of consumers want to support their local businesses over national chains. One survey found that over 80% of respondents would be more likely to buy from a local business simply because they want to support their local community.
In other words, customers are dying to find a great local business. Local SEO for small businesses makes you visible and can bring in new customers who are looking to support local companies. What’s more, local customers are far more loyal to businesses than they would be to a national company. This trend has been even more exaggerated by stay-at-home orders that have kept people from straying far from home.
2. More Searches Are Local Searches
Not long ago, local searches were occasional and peaked during the middle of the day around lunchtime when people were simply searching for a place to grab a meal. Now local searches represent a whopping 46% of all of Google’s searches. That’s right: nearly half of all searches are local in 2021.
“Near me” searches have increased in volume recently, especially due to the need to stay close to home as remote work became the norm. Overall, the trend is clear: more people than ever want to find local results and support local businesses. So, how do you respond to that trend and optimize your local SEO?
The majority of these searches happen on mobile, which means you need to make sure that good mobile web design is part of your local SEO strategy. If your website doesn’t play nicely with mobile, your customers will probably go back to their results and choose another option. This isn’t the only step you need to take, but it’s one of the most important places to begin.
3. Local SEO Needs a Fresh Approach
With a strong mobile website ready to receive all these local searches, what else do you need to do to make sure that your local SEO is optimized? Your goal needs to be to get into Google’s 3-pack. The 3-pack are those first three results on a local search.
Each of the businesses in the 3-pack will get a picture, a link to the business page, a 5-star rating, and a few other facts like distance and other details about the company depending on what kind of business it is. There are a few things you can do to improve these factors.
Google My Business
If you’re not using Google My Business, then you’re almost certainly not going to appear in the 3-pack. This is where you can make sure your business details are up to date. Always be certain that your phone number and address are accurate.
Likewise, verify that your business hours are correct. If you make changes, even sudden ones, go in and update the app. One thing that can severely damage your local search rating is if your hours are incorrect and a customer shows up only to find your location closed. If they tell Google that your hours are wrong, or leave a bad review explaining that you were closed unexpectedly, Google will be far less likely to recommend your business.
You can also add more photos to your page through this app, and we would recommend updating them regularly. Frequent activity on Google My Business is a sign that you’re active and attentive to your customers. Google is more likely to consider you a safe recommendation. This is where hiring a top-quality SEO service can make the difference: let the experts manage your SEO and stop worrying about your rating.
Another goal for your business should be to get as many positive reviews as possible. More reviews from customers tell Google that your business is legitimate and trustworthy. Remember that local search results are not always the closest options. They are the ones that Google considers the best within a reasonable distance.
Therefore, even if your business has a somewhat awkward location or is further away from the searcher, it can still appear higher on the list if Google thinks it’s the best option. Reviews are a huge component of that. You should look for ways to encourage reviews.
One strategy can be to offer discounts or rewards to patrons who leave reviews for you. You can also make it easier by leaving QR codes for your review page so customers can simply scan and leave a review without searching for your page. Leverage your other social media platforms to drive people to leave reviews. Every little bit helps!
4. The ROI Is Worth It
It’s clear that investing in local SEO makes sense from a sales conversion perspective, but is it actually worth it to put money from your marketing budget into your local SEO? It absolutely is. In fact, local SEO often provides a much better ROI than general SEO strategies.
The Lower Cost of Local SEO
With local SEO for small business, you don’t have to spend too much. Your website is already optimized for content, so you just need to make sure it has a quality mobile version. This can be accomplished for very little, depending on how your site was built. Optimizing Google My Business doesn’t take very long either.
The majority of the work comes from drumming up reviews and keeping social media accounts busy to drive people to your local pages. You may consider using blog posts to target local customers as well. However, local SEO tends to be quite focused and therefore requires less work than traditional SEO methods.
The Highest Return on Investment
Given that local search results are more likely to get a customer in the door, and local customers are much more loyal and likely to spend, it’s clear that the ROI from local SEO is unbeatable.
If you want to get the best return on investment possible for your SEO dollar, invest in local SEO for small business. Contact Social Media Move to see how we can help you improve your local presence and take your business to the next level.