If you run a small business website you will no doubt be fervently doing SEO to try and get your brand noticed. But if your small business services local needs, have you been focussing your efforts on local SEO?
Why local SEO?
As a small business owner whose customers are local, it is essential that you keep on top of local SEO because it’s one of the main ways that your customers will find you.
Local SEO is similar in theory to standard SEO, but instead of competing with everyone, your competition is much narrower as you are creating hyper-targeted campaigns, truly bespoke experiences designed to attract customers within a set radius of your business.
By undertaking local SEO, you can expect to get better rankings locally, more page visits from people within your vicinity, as well as more conversions.
What is local SEO?
Local SEO is an extremely effective way of marketing your small business locally, online. It is a way of promoting your products and services to customers who are local to you, just as they’re conducting a local search.
So what is a local search?
When you search online for something, say natural wine, for example, if you’re looking for a stockist of natural wine, you aren’t going to care one iota if there is a superb stockist halfway around the world who can supply you with what you’re looking for. What you want to find is someone nearby who can give you what you want.
And that is what local searches allow for.
You would ordinarily type in ‘natural wine UK’, ‘natural wine London’, or simply (if you have location services turned on) ‘natural wine nearby’, and the resulting search will unearth all of the local natural wine suppliers if not nearby, at least in the locale or in the UK.
Essentially, when you conduct a local search, the search engines are programmed to know that what you’re looking for is a list of results based on location, and that is just what a local search will offer up in the SERP.
And it’s this difference in results that small businesses looking to attract local customers should focus on because local SEO is worth investing time in.
Which small businesses need local SEO?
Regardless of the size of your business, if you target local customers, your business needs local SEO. How do you know if your business is local?
It’s local if:
- Your company services a particular locale
- Your business is a franchise
- You want to increase traffic, leads and conversions from local clients
- You want to show up on the SERP maps and Google’s local pack
- Your business doesn’t offer your services outside of your local area
The local SERP
Ideally, local businesses want visibility in what is known as the ‘local pack’, the list of three businesses that are cited underneath the Google map result after a Google search has been conducted (with a local focus).
As well as producing the top three results for the searcher, Google is also able to display certain pieces of additional information that it thinks the searcher might find relevant, such as opening times, website URL and contact number. And whilst it might be able to find these details on your website, the easiest place for it to pull this information is from your ‘Google My Business Page’.
Google My Business Page
If you haven’t set up a ‘Google My Business Page’ then you need to stop reading now and go do it. A Google My Business Page is an essential part of conducting local SEO because it’s from this information that the Google Autobots glean most of their local search results. And if you’re not there, don’t expect to be counted among the results.
A big part of local SEO is ensuring that your Google My Business page is as up to date as possible so that your small business has the highest chance of featuring in the local pack. By appearing here, your business will automatically be imbued with credibility, authority and trustworthiness, making it appealing for searchers who are after local results to click through.
Finally, food for thought
Less than 50% of local businesses have taken the time to conduct local SEO, so take advantage of their neglect and get ahead of the game, and make sure your small business is visible in local searches.