Search engine optimization (SEO) has greatly influenced the way businesses develop their websites and hone their content. Web traffic has become all the rage, since companies big and small have seen the positive effects of SEO on their businesses. Among these pluses are: better brand reputation, higher conversion rates, and more diverse opportunities online.
Many companies, however, still fail to see the importance of SEO’s local counterpart. Local SEO is a “specific sub-area” of website optimization that targets smaller but more specific niches. Expert marketers suggest the strategy to small businesses as it can greatly enhance their online visibility. But as technology and consumer demands have changed, local SEO has also become a fitting approach for established businesses. How has it evolved and how can it help your venture? Here are some advantages associated with local SEO.
Provides more personalized results
Today’s consumers are always on the go, constantly looking for businesses that can service them with greater convenience. With local SEO, business owners can provide more individualized results to consumers searching for products and services within their area. Individuals with enabled location services can easily search your venture and access your business information online.
Expands local exposure
Local SEO is a powerful tool for small businesses that have recently started their enterprise. By using the right keywords (a mix of industry keywords and modifiers are ideal), you can easily target people residing nearby, attracting them to visit and learn more about your products and services. It’s a great way to boost local exposure and build a loyal following.
Business competition is increasing in small and large-scale markets. To stand out, entrepreneurs should target smaller niches to achieve relevant visibility and increase their revenue. Optimizing your website locally allows your business to be more visible to your market and get ahead of companies that don’t employ SEO.
Targets mobile users more easily
According to a report published by Hitwise, 58 percent of consumers use their smartphones to search businesses online. 72 percent of mobile users search for food and beverage, while 68 percent look for topics related to health. Business owners should take advantage of this by optimizing their websites for tablets and smartphone devices. Develop a responsive website and optimize it locally for better conversion rates.
Narrows business focus
Since local SEO targets specific niches, entrepreneurs can implement a more focused marketing campaign to better identify the strengths and weaknesses of their business. By narrowing down or targeting their audience, businesses can cater to customers more effectively and measure responses more accurately. Apart from building healthy customer relationships, this will also improve business reputation.
Best Practices for Local SEO
So how can you completely take advantage of local SEO? Other than utilizing the right keywords, below are some of the best practices:
- Create local business listings – Google My Business and Bing Places for Business are great listing websites that can enhance your local SEO strategy. These free and easy-to-use tools put your business on maps and search results so customers can find your venture more conveniently.
- Provide consistent business information – Business information such as name, address, and phone number should be consistent across all web pages. Customers rely on the internet when finding business info and confusing your target market with conflicting phone numbers, for instance, is no help. Proofread your site’s “about us” page and don’t forget to check your Facebook and Twitter profiles, as well.
- Welcome customer feedback – Do you know that 84 percent of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations? Word-of-mouth is still effective for business, but an online testimonial can quickly attract visitors and increase your sales. Encourage feedback by putting a comment box on your website. Customer reviews improve your business ratings (notice the stars on Google?) and online visibility ultimately boosts your local SEO efforts.
Industries That Can Greatly Benefit from Local SEO
Companies with successful SEO strategies may ask “Do I really need local SEO for my business?” The answer is yes, especially if you are part of the following industries:
Food and Beverage
Hungry customers always search for the best yet nearest food stop. Creating a local SEO strategy for your bar or restaurant does not only enhance business visibility but also allows your business to cater to a geographically targeted market.
Healthcare is important and finding a good doctor is a major concern for many individuals. Skilled and trained positions are always in demand, which is why it is ideal to establish your practice in a certain vicinity. Customize your website according to a local crowd to gain clients more quickly.
People seeking homes, apartments, or condominiums search the internet first. Real estate agents can take advantage of this by applying local SEO tactics for real estate on their websites. Optimize your pages locally and target potential investors who prefer specific town and cities when purchasing a property.
Home Repair Services
Small businesses have a lot to gain in local searches. Home emergencies like a leaking faucet or broken front door occur unexpectedly, forcing many homeowners to search for nearby repair services. List your business online so it can immediately appear on search results.
Many businesses discount the significance of local SEO, especially when they already have a successful and long-performing SEO strategy. However, it is still important to optimize your website locally to boost credibility. Thousands of businesses launch every year and targeting a local niche can take your business ahead of the competition. Include local SEO in your marketing campaign for a more effective business strategy.