SEO Marketing for Local Businesses

When most folks hear of SEO marketing, they immediately picture a borderless marketing campaign that can see you advertising to markets far removed from your geographical location. This indeed is one of the major beauties of the borderless, global village we live in today.

That said, there are still local businesses that cater exclusively for customers in a specific locality. Are these exempt from benefiting from this global village? Thankfully, they are not exempt. There is an aspect of online marketing that deals specifically with this and it is called local SEO or local search.

What is Local SEO?

This is one part of search engine optimization that is concerned with searches targeted at specific locations. A local search or SEO will focus on optimizing a business’s online presence to dominate searches for a specific location.

If for example, a catering business which operates in San Francisco were to perform general SEO for keywords such as catering business, a lot of effort and resources will be wasted. Even if the business succeeds in ranking for this keyword, it will attract searches from all over the world, many of whom it won’t be able to cater for.

On the other hand, ranking for a keyword like catering business in San Francisco will ensure that any hits it gets will be from local searches, thereby resulting in a much higher conversion rate.

Why is Local Search Important?

To answer this question we will look at some statistics. For starters, 46% of all searches on Google are local searches. That is, of the over 3.5 billion daily searches on Google, over 1.6 billion of these are local searches.

There’s more…

At least once a week, 86% of the users behind these billions of daily searches perform a search for a local business. That’s not all. About 58% of these users actually perform at least one local search daily.

A third of the folks that made a local search on their smartphones did so just before stepping out to go to a store. 68% of those who did local searches got directions to the store or placed a call by clicking the appropriate buttons.

Daily, about 60% of adults in America carry out searches for local businesses on their smartphones, searching for products or services. Of all the local searches that occur daily, at least 18% of these result in a purchase within 24 hours.

There are more statistics we can look at. But from the much we have looked at so far, it should be obvious that disregarding local SEO is leaving tons of money on the table. This you do not want to do.

Optimizing for Local Search

The important thing is starting with the right local keyword(s). You can learn more about this here. Targeting this keyword or keywords, you can then carry on with some on-page and off-page SEO activities. Your goal is to make the Google 3-pack.

Google 3-pack is the top three results you will see in a Google local search result just below the map of the area of the search. The businesses listed in this pack have their addresses, phone numbers, review ratings and a review from a customer displayed.

Businesses listed in this pack are in a much better position to receive most of the search traffic.

On-Page SEO

These are some of the modifications you will need to make on your site to optimize it for local search.

      –   Optimize for Mobile – With the number of local searches carried out on mobile devices, not optimizing your site for mobile will be a gross waste of opportunities. Ensure your site is fully optimized for mobile.

       –    Add Your Contact Details – What’s the use of having a visible website if people cannot get your address from it? Since you serve physical customers, ensuring they can easily find you is very important.

      –   Make Your Contact Details Clickable – Statistics show that about 68% of local searchers made use of the “call now” and “get direction” buttons. This is another critical point for mobile users.

       –   Include a Site Schema – This is a map of your site meant for search engines. This helps the bots navigate and understand your site better.

Off-Page SEO

Let’s now look at some activities you need to carry out outside of your website.

        –   Get Google My Business – If you are serious about making the 3-pack, then you should get your Google my Business space. You should also register for Bing Places for Business.

       –    Register on Online Directories – List your business on online directories, your local publication’s website and any other place where your business can be listed. This will help boost your local search visibility.

       –    Encourage Reviews – Most customers rely on reviews to make a purchase online, so get reviews.
          Inbound Links – It is helpful to have your business mentioned and linked back to from other sites, especially highly rated ones. Find ways of getting these links. You may need to join forums or blogs where you can comment or guest post with your link included.

      –  Social Media – This is now a force you cannot afford to ignore. Take full advantage of the different social media and the opportunities they offer.

Some of these may sound pretty strange to you unless you are already in the SEO business. If you wish to know more, this video may help:

You could also simply hire an SEO expert to help you with the whole optimization process.

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