The Importance of Local SEO
Some people believe that you must pick the most searched-for keyword and target a national audience in order to be successful on Google. Others think it is necessary to pay an extortionate amount of money to advertise in the paid Google listings in order to drive visitors to your website.
Many also believe that it is only the big, household-name corporations that are benefitting from SEO and that smaller businesses will never reap the benefits of digital marketing.
But they’re wrong.
With the evolution of local SEO, many smaller, regional businesses are now benefitting from Google’s drive to ensure that someone searching for a product or service in their area stands as much chance of seeing a smaller business on page one of the search results as a household name.
However, achieving a high ranking doesn’t just happen automatically and here’s how you can maximise your chances of success through local SEO marketing.
What is Local SEO?
Local SEO focuses on providing the most relevant results based on a user’s current location. Marketing your business to people who are in the area and actively looking for your services allows you to tap into a rich source of potential customers.
Local SEO is fast becoming one of the critical components of any digital marketing campaign, large or small. The increase in smartphone usage has meant that Google has to cater for users on the move. They do this by providing them with the most relevant answer to their search query, which will be tailored to their location at the time e.g. a search for ‘pizza’ will generate a list of nearby restaurants.
Back in 2014, Google recognised that more and more users were searching for local businesses - in fact, 4 in 5 consumers were using search engines to find local information.
They decided to allow business owners to better target their local customers by introducing a new platform: Google My Business.
Google My Business
Introduced in 2014, Google My Business (GMB) has been integral in the evolution of local SEO marketing. So integral, in fact, that without one of these profiles your business will struggle to be seen in the local Search Engine Results Pages (SERP’s).
A Google My Business profile is an information-packed listing that tells users everything they need to know about your business; where you are based, what you do, your address, phone number, opening times, reviews and of course, a link to your website. Fully completing your GMB profile makes it easy for visitors to gain a quick overview of your business and get in touch.
Users are generally looking for the quickest and most convenient answer to their problems. If you can tell local users ‘we are open these hours on these days; if you can’t visit us right now, here is our phone number, here is our website for more information’, then you are becoming the most convenient option to resolve their query.
If you haven’t optimised your GMB listing, you are missing an easy opportunity to improve your Google presence.
Local Directory Submissions
The details that are on your GMB listing are assumed by Google to be correct. If your site appears elsewhere online, e.g. on any of the various online directories or other websites, then these need to align with your GMB listing.
Providing consistent Name, Address, Phone number (NAP) details is critical in telling Google that you are based at ‘X’ location. If your address changes between local directory submissions, how would Google (or users) know which is the correct one? If it isn’t easy for Google to understand where you are located, it may choose to show one of your competitors in the search results instead.
By providing consistent NAP details across the search engines, you are confirming your location, allowing Google to understand which users would be relevant for your business.
3-Pack Local Listings
The 3-Pack Local Listings are what Google deem to be the three most relevant Google My Business profiles to display in response to a given search and these are shown at the top of the search results.
The profiles that Google chooses to display vary depending on the user’s IP address. Just because you rank 1st when you search using a particular keyword, this doesn’t mean that you will rank 1st universally for everyone else. However, ranking 1st does tell you that your profile is working well and is optimised.
Due to Google’s secrecy, digital marketers struggle to determine how Google chooses the most relevant GMB listing. However, by analysing more and more GMB and 3-Pack Local Listings, we can gain a good idea of what does and doesn’t work and advise appropriately.
Compare your own GMB listing to your competitors that rank well and highlight the differences. Are they displaying more information or detail on their GMB listing compared to yours? Could you be doing the same?
Benefits of Local SEO Marketing
Local SEO marketing is highly effective when carried out correctly. Businesses can maximise the potential of the local market by ensuring they can be easily found on Google. By targeting local areas not only within their GMB listing, but also in their website (provide information about the area you cover, provide case studies covering nearby locations etc.), they should be able to generate an increase in local traffic.
It is important to target carefully though. The narrower your local targeting, the fewer searches there will be for that search term. For example, a county-targeted term will have more searches than a town-targeted term, but as you will be more relevant, you are more likely to rank well and convert users searching for a town- targeted search term.
Another benefit of Local SEO Marketing is that you target an area as opposed to a demographic. Your business will be relevant for anyone living in the vicinity or visiting, no matter their age, gender, job profile etc.
Improve your Local SEO Marketing Strategy
By improving your local SEO marketing, you’ll be able to see the benefits for your business. There is a lot of work in ensuring that your local marketing is constantly up-to-date and current, but when done correctly, you give yourself the best opportunity to thrive as a business.
Web Results Direct are a specialist digital marketing consultancy as well as a Google Partner. With a deep and proven understanding of SEO and PPC, their key competencies are driving increased traffic to the websites and digital platforms of its clients.