Have you tried searching online for a restaurant close to your workplace? Or did you recently look for a dentist, law firm or plumbing service near you on Google? These pretty much explain what local SEO is all about.

Recent statistics show that 86% of consumers look for local products or services on the Internet.

Also, about 76% use their smartphones to search for nearby businesses and visit them within the day. More importantly, 28% of them end up buying something.

These findings only mean that you must know what local SEO is. This concept is even more crucial for new business owners, struggling to stay ahead of the competition.

And so, in this walkthrough, we’ll define this optimisation technique and its benefits in detail. Plus, let’s identify how you can seamlessly integrate it into your operations.

What is Local SEO?

Local SEO is a strategy for improving your website to boost your ranking and business presence within a specific geographical region.

The practice and goals are similar to standard SEO, but its local counterpart is more targeted. Specifically, the keywords you use or the articles you create aim to connect with potential customers nearby.

And while general SEO benefits businesses of any size or type, local SEO works best for those with a local customer base and brick-and-mortar locations.

Why Local SEO is Important for Businesses

Local SEO is essential for businesses primarily because, unlike paid searches, it’s free! It also helps small and medium establishments to cut through the noise and gain loyal customers.

Here are the other reasons why you should double your local SEO efforts.

It enhances your online presence.

Boosting the presence of your products or services online is probably the initial effect of applying local SEO to your business.

One way to do this is to add geo-targeted keywords or content to your website. These can make your pages stand out among other sites offering similar products.

In turn, it’s easier for search engines to spot your business site and display it to answer a relevant search query.

With better online visibility, your chances of gaining new customers, making a sale or beating competitors also increase.

It boosts your web traffic.

Your website has increased chances of getting high search rankings when it is locally optimised. That’s because local SEO lets you reduce the number of competing sites or businesses from another locale.

With fewer competitors, it’s more likely for your website to land on the first page and for Internet users to click and visit it.

Bringing in more organic traffic to your website naturally opens more business opportunities. For example, more people will learn about your products or services and share them with others.

There is a higher possibility for people to bookmark your site, subscribe to your newsletters or participate in your promos.

Ultimately, this level of engagement can help build loyalty and reel in more new customers and profit.

It makes your brand more credible.

Which sites do you click first on the search results? Most of us will probably choose the top links on the first page. Only a few will go as far as the third or fourth page.

This behaviour is not only because we tend to click on the first links we see. It’s also because we associate a certain level of trust with first-page results.

Users think that sites displayed first are more established and have more helpful website information. It is true, in a way, because search engines like Google prioritise pages that directly answer user queries.

And with local SEO, you can slowly gain traffic and boost your credibility to earn higher rankings.

Infinite Ace_Better business profit

It increases your customer knowledge.

Some local SEO tactics like keyword search can help you identify the phrases or terms your customers search for online.

In turn, this lets you understand your target audience more. Increased customer knowledge also leads to other benefits like redesigned marketing campaigns and more efficient PR strategies.

Remember, meeting local market demands or expectations is crucial to your success. It keeps your customers happy, engaged and loyal.

It reduces your marketing costs.

There are many ways how local SEO can control expenses and benefit businesses with a limited marketing budget.

For instance, a locally optimised website attracts local customers or visitors with high purchasing intent. Most are actively searching for the products or services you are offering.

It’s then a more cost-effective technique where you get buy-ready customers and profit without spending a lot on advertising.

Also, web traffic continues if your business website has gained enough traction to earn a good ranking position. That means you don’t have to spend so much on ads, flyers or commercials to keep customers coming.

It keeps you relevant and competitive.

Local SEO connects you not only to your customers but also to relevant businesses.

This connection opens up new opportunities like cross-promotion of products, business referrals or coordinated marketing campaigns within your neighbourhood.

Forming alliances with other local operators can strengthen your business stability and widen your market reach.

Of course, you need to know who your rivals are, and local SEO can also help with that. You can conduct competitor research or analysis for a sneak peek of their customer base, content, links and more.

You can use all these data to your advantage. For example, you can create a new product or service based on the competitors’ customer reviews.

You may also replicate or create a better version of their content with significant customer engagement.

How to Improve Your Local SEO

Local optimisation is a subsection of general SEO, making the process relatively easy to apply, even for new businesses.

But it requires technical know-how and creativity to convince search engines that your website is the most relevant result.

So, here’s a checklist you can use to ensure your local SEO campaign is smooth-sailing and on track.

1. Create an accurate and optimised Google Business Profile (GBP)

GBP is a free listing that lets you enter basic business information so that it shows up on Google Maps and search result pages.

Basic business details include your name, address and phone number (NAP). You can also add URLs, photos, products or services, operation hours and other relevant info.

If you haven’t created an account yet, here’s how:

  • Go to the Google Business Profile, then click “Manage Now”.
  • Next, click through the prompts and provide the information asked.
  • Afterwards, select how you want Google to verify your business. After verification, Google will send you a postcard with a code to activate your GBP account.
  • Once done, you have to claim your business next. The claiming process is to prove to Google that you are the business owner.
  • You can claim your business through the Google Maps app. Here, enter your business in the search bar and select the correct name.
  • In the Business Profile, select “Claim this business”, then “I own or manage this business”.
  • Choose your preferred verification option, then follow the rest of the on-screen steps that’ll appear. The claiming step is necessary so you can edit your business account information.

With your GBP appearing on the results page, it is easier for searchers to find your business, even without visiting your website.

That’s why it is also crucial that you create an accurate business listing. You don’t want a potential customer going to the wrong address or contacting an old phone number.

For credibility, provide consistent citations, no matter where they appear. Also, give as much helpful information as possible to entice customers.

Add photos or videos, make a catchy business description and use localised keywords or phrases when possible.

Infinite Ace_Backlinks for Improved Local SEO

2. Spend time acquiring local backlinks

Getting quality sites that link to your website is crucial to SEO success. These backlinks can widen your market reach and boost your business credibility.

And for local optimisation, these can be in the form of local directories and websites.

You can start by looking into online directories in your city and having yourself listed there. Some popular ones are Facebook, Yelp, LinkedIn and Yellow Pages.

Next, get local backlinks by befriending local companies that complement your business and are not direct competitors. You can do this by posting a helpful comment on their website.

Another way is to use an SEO tool and evaluate your competitors’ backlinks. Contact the sites that link back to them and introduce your product or service, citing reasons why yours is better.

Backlink building can be time-consuming, and success is not guaranteed. However, earning even a few backlinks can significantly improve your local SEO.

3. Make a location-specific landing page and content

Are you offering interior design services for Melbourne residents? Or do you have a chiropractic clinic in Brisbane?

If so, your website, particularly your landing page, should relay this to your visitors. This way, you can easily attract and convert potential clients within your business area.

Make sure to apply this strategy to individual landing pages if you are operating in multiple business locations.

You can also optimise on-page elements like page titles or meta descriptions for local search. Of course, publishing localised content will also boost your local SEO.

Here are some ideas:

  • Perform a keyword search, then use short and long-tail keywords for your blogs.
  • Include your business town or city name and surrounding regions in your content.
  • Feature recent community happenings in your blog.
  • Participate in or sponsor relevant local events like sports or cultural activities.
  • Invite local experts and share their insights through blog posts, videos or social media entries.

Infinite Ace_Mobile-Friendly Website

4. Improve your website for an excellent user experience

Local SEO is not all about drawing visitors to your website and boosting traffic.

You have to make your visitors stay longer, so they’ll learn more about your business or make a purchase.

The best way to achieve this is to do a site audit and address problem areas. You can start with the following website improvements:

  • Create product or service pages. Ideally, create individual pages for each service to make your website easy to navigate. This technique lets you explain your product well. It also makes it easy to incorporate as many local keywords for higher rankings.
  • Increase your site speed. No one wants a slow-loading website. So, use the Google PageSpeed tool to ensure you’re not losing customers due to poor site speed. Test it for responsiveness and make sure it’s free from unnecessary redirects.
  • Make your website mobile-friendly. A 2021 survey says that global online users spend more than half of their Internet time browsing the web using their phones. And so, to boost your chances of attracting customers, make sure your site is accessible on any gadget.
  • Enhance your contact page. Make this section easy to find on your landing page. Then, make location maps, phone numbers and email addresses clickable. You can also display your business name, location and contact details on your pages.

5. Monitor your customer reviews

One of the advantages of creating a Google Business Profile is that it allows your customers to leave ratings and online reviews.

Customer feedback and first-hand experience with a product or service are crucial to businesses. These can either attract or turn off new customers.

And the more positive reviews you get, the better for your brand’s image and search engine rankings.

So, pay attention to what customers say about your product or service. Respond to all types of feedback, good or bad.

Also, address customer queries promptly. You can check out this previous article to learn more tips to leverage your Google reviews.

Conclusion

Local SEO may be different from conventional SEO. But both approaches require best practices to boost your web traffic, customer base and sales.

Keep in mind that either optimisation technique is a continuous process. So, constantly study your market and competitors, check for errors and updates, and make web improvements.

More importantly, use metrics to measure your local SEO success. Better yet, hire a good SEO agency to help you avoid local optimisation mistakes and keep your efforts up to date.