Local SEO For Small Businesses: How Good Is That?
Brace Yourselves for the important information ahead: What is SEO? What is Local SEO? How does Local SEO help small businesses grow?How can local SEO help your small business?
Why Local SEO for Small Businesses? Why local SEO only?
Keep Calm & Picture this:
You are a local business on the verge of extinction.
Or, you have just started out and looking for profitable growth avenues now.
Better yet, picture yourself as a well-established local business looking for further prosperity and growth options.
No matter at what level your local business stands, the most common idea you have formed out of Marketers’ instructions and advice is LOCAL SEO IS YOUR SAVIOR.
And if you haven’t formed that idea yet, let’s help you throughout that thought process.
Honestly, it is no brainer.
Let’s start from the basics and take a closer look:
- What is SEO?
- What is Local SEO?
- How does Local SEO Work?
- 1- Keywords Research
- 2- Google My Business & Other Online Listings
- 3- Reviews
- 4- On-page Factors
- Why Local SEO for Small Businesses?
- 1- It improves your online ranking
- 2- It grows your visibility online
- 3- Your online reputation sees a shot put
- 4- Increased visibility & improved image increases traffic
- 5- Higher ranking gives you an edge over competitors
- 6- Visitors and leads with Local SEO are more qualified
- 7- Qualified leads improve your conversion rates
- So, Ready for Local SEO?
What is SEO?
Undoubtedly, you already know, but the norm is to start an introduction like this:
SEO is an acronym for Search Engine Optimization.
If you pay attention, it refers to the ways and methods to optimize your content, so it wins the top positions on SERPs.
But why care about the top-ranking?
Because if you don’t appear on top, you pretty much lose the visibility you deserve. Allow us to paint the picture:
No visibility, No visits, No conversions, No sales.
For reference, the saying goes, “the best place to hide a dead body is page 2 of Google Search results“.
In essence, the process of SEO is done to bring target visitors to your website organically to grow your web traffic and keep the business going (and growing). Several elements and processes work in unison to attain this goal.
The most common part is researching the most relevant and useful keywords and creating unique, engaging, valuable content around those keywords.
We often divide our SEO efforts and processes into several categories. Local SEO is one of the categories; others being:
Since the post covers Local SEO, let’s keep that party going.
What is Local SEO?
As the name indicates, the efforts of a business to appear on the top of search results for local prospects are collectively referred to as Local SEO.
If you are an international business, your audience spreads across the world. In that case, Local SEO is not a very suitable option for you unless you have physical stores in different locations.
In case you have a store-chain across the world that needs to be advertised individually to local clients or you are a local business – local clients are a treasure for you.
But, there’s a catch.
This treasure is not quite hidden.
Unless you take the lead, your competitors will discover the treasure soon, in case they haven’t already. In case the competitors are the ones to have taken the lead, you are competing with them for your prospect’s attention.
Consider it this way for a moment:
You are a coffee shop in San Francisco. Where do you expect most of your prospects are?
As a coffee shop, the chances for someone flying from Los Angeles especially to your coffee shop are close to zero. So, you have no choice but to focus on the prospects in San Francisco, especially close to your location. That’s where 80% of them are likely to come from.
Now, for a prospective client looking for a coffee shop near your location, what do you expect him to write in the search bar?
- Best coffee places in San Francisco.
- Coffee near me.
- Most visited coffee near me.
- Low-cost coffee in San Francisco
- And the like.
Say, a prospect types *Best coffee places in San Francisco* in the search bar. This is what the top results would be like:
Snack-pack results for the search query *Best coffee places in San Francisco*.
The fact that you are not Sightglass Coffee is not as cringe-worthy as is the fact that you are not at that place in search results.
Because the searcher is most likely to pick the top search result for his visit, that’s where you’d want to be.
And Local SEO is your way to get to that place, not just with keywords but with a unified local SEO strategy involving many other elements.
The best part?
If you succeed, you have chances to convert those visitors into your clients and dollars in your account.
How does Local SEO Work?
Local SEO involves several processes. Let’s touch some of them, briefly.
1- Keywords Research
Keywords are the words and phrases that your prospects are likely to use to find you or your competitors to fulfill their needs.
Take Keywords research as trying to get in your prospect’s shoes and seeing things their way.
In Local SEO, you look for the terms that you expect your prospects to type to find you. Having a list of keywords with high purchase intent allows you to optimize your online content for those keywords and start brewing the returns.
In local SEO, the keywords you pick are mostly location-based.
Because, if you are an electrician in San Diego, your prospects might look you up appending the location with the keyword.
There’s more to local SEO to peak up your ranking.
2- Google My Business & Other Online Listings
Setting up your online listings is an essential aspect of Local SEO. This is how you bring loads of your prospects to your website by letting more of them know about you.
How many more, exactly?
Image: Google My Business
So, most definitely – you can attract and convert many of these.
There are other online options and directories, too, that increase your online visibility, increase your authority, and improve your revenue (in the long run, though). Besides, these online listings have information about your business that could help change the prospect’s mind.
Some of the options include:
- Google + Local
- Yellow Pages
- Bing Places for Business
The best part is – local SEO through local listings is highly cost-effective. Moreover, setting up online listings is no rocket science.
When your business has online directories and listings, customers have a unique chance to interact with you or to share feedback.
Your customers leave reviews based on how they feel about your products/services. Moreover, you can also ask your happy clients to send genuine yet positive reviews your way.
But why care much? Why do you need reviews?
- Because customers trust reviews.
Every time customers need a product or service, they’ll look for reviews to see how you have been with previous customers? And reviews tell them just the story they need.
- And because Google favors the companies with more positive reviews.
How so? Your listings get higher ranking and more visibility as your positive reviews increase.
4- On-page Factors
Some on-page factors also need to be optimized to get higher local ranking. For instance:
- Optimize your website, especially the home page, for your relevant keywords.
Add your brick & mortar store location to your website. Also, add all the relevant information users would find helpful in knowing more about you, such as:
- User testimonials & reviews
- Store location whereabouts, such as nearest landmarks (for the ease of finding location) or Google map, parking information, etc.
- Opening & closing hours for your store
- Optimize your website for mobile searches. The recent most update is optimization for voice searches to improve conversion rate.
Optimize technical on-page elements such as headers, tags, titles, meta-descriptions, and URL.
- Local pages with location or useful keywords incorporated in the technical elements, such as titles, URLs, etc., improve your rankings and conversions.
Why Local SEO for Small Businesses?
The importance of Local SEO is evident from the fact that local businesses are drawn the most to this type of SEO. (You don’t turn to something that doesn’t have a charm for you. Do you? In this case, convertible visits are the charm.)
No matter what your business goal is, local SEO can help you meet that. While other SEO types can bring you views that you can nurture to convert, Local SEO can bring you direct customers along with ready to convert traffic.
To gain visitors with local SEO that convert to bring revenue, you need to optimize your online presence for your location to let the prospects know where you are.
Here’s is all that Local SEO can do for small businesses.
1- It improves your online ranking
Proper, strategic local SEO efforts include more reviews, corrective actions of on-page and technical factors, and use of highly relevant keywords with high commercial search intent.
Now imagine that your local SEO is on-point. All the elements are rolling well. You have your location information on the site. Many business directories and online listings direct to your site.
What does that indicate?
It indicates that your impression in the eyes of Google is improving.
Why does that matter?
Google takes your online presence on multiple platforms as a source of your credibility. Businesses with Google my business have high credibility. Thus, Google ranks you higher than many others.
Now that’s a win-win.
2- It grows your visibility online
Now that you have ensured your visibility across multiple online platforms, each platform owns an audience that has your attention now.
This improves your visibility.
As mentioned already, better online visibility brings you more visits. More visibility leads to a better ranking, which in turn leads to a further increase in your visibility.
But why care about visibility, reach and ranking?
Because that’s how you get the visits you are looking for.
3- Your online reputation sees a shot put
When your prospects find you on more than one platform, they take you as a credible business.
Seeing more reviews online strengthens this credibility and trust. More the platforms with genuine reviews, better is your impression on your prospects.
And it is this impression, credibility, and trust that you can cash in to building a stable relationship with your prospects. Ultimately, this relationship leads to earning more dollars.
4- Increased visibility & improved image increases traffic
The Internet brings you traffic in multiple ways.
While some of the ways involve spending dollars against each view, lead or conversion it brings, others can be low cost or free as well.
Local SEO efforts do involve investment but are negligible compared both – the paid ads and the results these efforts bring. And these results – i.e., highly qualified traffic that is quite ready to convert – come from the reputation and visibility that Local SEO builds for you.
5- Higher ranking gives you an edge over competitors
Small brands have to face two-fold competitions.
- They compete with local brands of their size
- They also compete with the more prominent brands that share a mutual audience in that area.
So, how do they fight on two fronts simultaneously?
Shortest answer: with a killer Local SEO Strategy.
And that, too, as soon as possible. Why? Because the time you don’t apply local SEO efforts is the time when your prospects have their undivided attention for your competitors.
Fortunately, Local SEO has the power to turn the tables fast.
With the reputation, local SEO builds for you, you are more likely to be the center of attention of your prospects. Using that attention rationally, you can build a relationship with them that can turn them into your loyal customers.
6- Visitors and leads with Local SEO are more qualified
When you are doing local SEO, your target audience persona is very clear in your mind. Therefore the efforts you do are highly targeted.
For instance, the keywords you optimize your online content for have the highest possible purchase intent. Only the people making up their mind to purchase the products you offer are the ones to use those keywords.
Therefore, just with highly targeted local SEO efforts, you somewhat filter out people with lower interest levels.
7- Qualified leads improve your conversion rates
The higher the interest of an audience in your products or services, the more are the chances for them to convert.
With Local SEO, you bring that highly interested audience to your site. Now the people reaching out to you are the ones more likely to convert.
So with a little effort on your part to nurture those leads, you make their minds up for the purchase. Any further doubts could be cleared with reviews and other relevant business information.
That’s the part where you celebrate.
Because selling more and fast, building a list of happy clients and converting them to high-value customers is your business-goals-achieved.
Such is the importance of Local SEO for small local businesses.
So, Ready for Local SEO?
We have seen how SEO helps you grow big.
It ranks you higher, gives you more visibility & a good reputation, and gives you a competitive edge. Not only can you attract more traffic with local SEO, but you can have better luck with the conversion rates too. That’s because the leads coming with these efforts usually have a higher purchase intent.
With this recap of the importance of Local SEO for your business, you don’t stand a chance still thinking if you should give it a chance. In fact, if you offer services to locals in your area and growth is on your mind, don’t look back for the split of a second. (Because if you do, you are willingly presenting your prospects to your competitors and sharing your revenues with them.)
Still not sure if SEO can bring you results?
Here is our guide to figure out when do you need to Optimize for Search Engines?
Made up your mind? Ready to reap the benefits of Local SEO? What do you need next?
Help from a result-driven SEO agency.
Do you still need more information?
Write back in the comments or contact us in private. Sharing value with everyone is what we particularly love 🙂