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What is Local SEO and Why Does It Matter?

What is Local SEO and Why Does It Matter

As the number of ‘near me’ and voice-activated searches increases, local SEO is more important than ever. If you own a business or run a website, you’ve probably heard of local SEO, but do you really know what it means? Furthermore, are you making the most of it?

If you want to market your products or services, or your brand as a whole, local SEO should be an integral element of your marketing strategy. Read on to find out how you can maximize brand awareness and increase conversions with local search engine optimization…

What is Local SEO?

Effective search engine optimization enables your webpages to rank highly on search engine results pages (SERPs) for keywords that are relevant to your business. Local SEO ensures you can rank highly for keywords that are related to your business and the areas you serve. 

As people are more likely to engage with a business close to them, local SEO sends targeted traffic to your website and optimizes your conversion rate. Nearly half of all Google searches are focused on local information, which means users are actively looking for area-based content. Furthermore, 88% of local searches on mobile devices result in a visit or call to the business within 24-hours. 

No matter what industry you operate in; the increased sales available for local SEO aren’t something you can afford to miss. 

Local SEO and Online-Only Businesses

If you sell goods and services online, rather than via a bricks and mortar store, you might assume that local SEO isn’t for you. Think again. 

People use the internet to find out more about businesses, including online-only enterprises. In fact, 97% of people find out more about a local company via the internet than anywhere else. What’s more, local and ‘near me’ searches have increased by a staggering 900% in just two years. 

Even if you operate an online-only business, you’ll want your webpages to appear when users search for related products and services. If the majority of people are using local searches to do this, you need to ensure your webpages are present in their search results. To do this, you need to focus on local SEO. 

Creating a Local SEO Strategy

Now you know what local SEO is and why you need it, it’s time to start creating a local SEO strategy for your business. Of course, you may choose to hand your SEO and digital marketing requirements over to a specialist agency. With skilled SEO experts on hand 24/7, this is a sure-fire way of optimizing your webpages and increasing your rankings. 

Alternatively, you may want to handle your local SEO in-house. If so, it’s a good idea to do your own research and undertake local SEO training. With the right local SEO course, you can devise, implement and manage a local SEO strategy that will boost your rankings and your business. 

To get you started, take a look at these key factors for enhancing your local SEO…

  1. Keyword research

You want your webpages to rank highly on search engines but what are they ranking for? A common format for local SEO is service in location or product in location. Your standard SEO strategy may focus on ’24 hour plumber’, for example, whereas your local SEO strategy may be centered around ’24 hour plumber in Haringey’ or ’24 hour plumber in London’. 

Understanding how people search for online content is crucial to selecting the right keywords. Fortunately, there are lots of tools to help you conduct your keyword research. From taking note of Google’s autocomplete entries to Google’s Keyword Planner; there are a myriad of ways to find the perfect keywords for your local SEO strategy. 

  1. Optimize your website

As well as optimizing your webpages for your existing keywords, you’ll need to update them to ensure they reflect local SEO content too. This may mean modifying your cornerstone content and adding bespoke blog posts and content to represent the areas you serve. This will ensure Google recognizes you as a service provider or retailer within your targeted areas. 

TOP TIP: You don’t need to make these location-specific webpages visible to users if you don’t want to. Providing Google knows they’re there; they will have the same effect on your rankings. 

  1. Local citations

Citations are one of the most important aspects of a successful local SEO strategy and they’re one of the easiest elements of any campaign. To boost your local connection in the eyes of Google, you need to ensure your business name, address and phone number is listed online, using the same format every time. 

When this information is listed on multiple, reputable sites, it increases its validity and its likelihood of accuracy. This means Google is more likely to display it, which pushes you further up the rankings. Business directories are a great way to secure local citations, but any local website, blog or industry-specific site can have the same impact. 

Success with Local SEO

An effective local SEO strategy will increase your rankings when users search for related products and services within the areas you serve. The ultimate aim here is to secure your place in the top three local results. Known as the Local 3-Pack, this is featured at the top of a Google search results page. It shows a map with the locations of the top three results, along with their company name, contact details and reviews. 

When you are appearing in the Local 3-Pack for a range of relevant keywords, your rate of engagement will increase. In addition, the volume of targeted traffic heading to your site will rise too. 

Currently, the Local 3-Pack appears on around 30% of search engine results pages but this is increasing all the time. Already one of the most seen features on SERPs, it is set to become even more prevalent as local searches become even more common. 

Want to generate more website traffic and optimize your conversion rate? Find an online local SEO course and create a successful local marketing strategy now!