At this point in marketing, you may have already heard about search engine optimization. Whether you’re the head of a major corporation, a small business owner or just a sole proprietor, you probably have some inklings on how SEO can help you. But have you ever considered local SEO? While similar to organic SEO, local SEO has a slightly more targeted purpose, and can help improve your marketing efforts tenfold.
While organic SEO drives traffic from across the world, local SEO allows websites to promote their business online to geographically localized customers. Therefore, the greatest difference between organic SEO and local is intent. For example, let’s say you need to get the oil changed in your car. You could search “car mechanic near me,” and Google would use your location to find a technician in your area.
But, let’s say instead you try to change the oil yourself. Then your search would be more along the lines of “how to change the oil in a car.” At this point Google doesn’t really care about your location, but would search the Internet to find the most relevant and reputable websites with information to answer your question. So while organic SEO certainly does matter and makes a difference in online marketing, local SEO tends to have a higher impact in improving your marketing efforts. How exactly can you utilize local search engine optimization for your website? Here are the first few steps in integrating local SEO best practices for small businesses.
1. Claim your Google My Business page.
According to Business 2 Community, 87% of smartphone owners use Google to search at least once a day. A whopping 46% of these searches are local. From that point, 50% of users who conducted a local search via smartphone, and 34% of those who searched on a computer or tablet, visited a location within one day. Luckily, Google has made it pretty easy to ensure you’re one of the first to pop up in a local searches—by claiming your Google My Business page.
Creating or claiming your Google My Business page allows Google to easily access your business’s information and display it on local search results. It’s as simple as searching “Google My Business” and then editing or updating your listing. This way, when potential clients search information related to your business, your website and information will pop up immediately.
2. Be consistent in NAP citations.
What exactly does NAP stand for? Name, address, phone number. Making sure your NAP citations are exactly the same throughout all of your profiles online allows consumers to quickly and easily access accurate information about your business. NAP information may be found through your website, social media profiles or directing listings like Yelp. Tracking these listings down, claiming them and making sure they’re accurate lets Google link a business across these various platforms, and gives the website higher rankings in search engine results.
3. Focus on reviews.
According to Search Engine Land, 88% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations. And since 76% of local searches result in a phone call, this is a pretty big deal. Oftentimes, Google uses online reviews as a ranking factor in displaying local search results. Businesses with more or better reviews, get better rankings on search pages. To improve your local SEO strategy, focus on soliciting more reviews from customers, and engage in review-building tactics through online sources.
Local SEO matters for businesses online because it allows them to rank higher in search engine listings and engage with consumers even faster. Try out some of these steps today to improve your search engine rank and grow your business.