If you’re a local business offering services and products for local customers, you’ll want to consider adding Local Search Engine Optimization (SEO) tactics.

Why? Because local customers are pulling out their phones, typing in the products/services they’re interested in, and choosing the local location, products and/or services that offer the most perceived value for their search.

What Is Local SEO?

Well, it’s a handy subset of search engine optimization that’s geared more towards drawing local customers to your website, and eventually, to your physical location.

Local SEO deals with ranking/listing a local business on Google Maps, while standard SEO is more concerned with improving search engine page results.

Why Is Local SEO Important?

Here are a few eye-opening statistics that really drive home the importance of Local SEO:

  • 90% of purchases take place in physical stores. This means people still make purchases in stores, and they purchase more inside a store than online. 
  • 80% of disposable income in the United States is spent within 20 miles from home.
  • 97% of consumers search online for a local business.
  • 72% of consumers who perform a local search visit a store within five miles of their location.
  • 86% of people look up the location of a business on Google Maps.

These statistics demonstrate that most people shop – and purchase – locally. And where does their pre-shopping research occur? That’s right – online.

And here are a few more reasons why Local SEO is super-duper important for local businesses:

It increases website visibility: Hey, your website is showing up closer to the top of results accompanied by a Google Map! Great! That means no one has to scroll down to actually see your listing – it’s closer to the top, so it’s a more accessible option.

It increases organic traffic: If you’re more visible, and offer pertinent information that’s helpful to searchers, your listing will achieve more click-throughs.

It improves your reputation: Businesses optimized for Local SEO have more – and more positive – customer reviews. 

Customer reviews are golden. They build trust with potential buyers, and signal authenticity and authority to search engines (like Google).

Need more proof of the power of customer reviews? Check out the following helpful bullets:

  • They help promote your services, trustworthiness, and competency to potential customers. When someone reads a review, they learn how customers are treated. And the more reviews they read – and the more positive the reviews – the more likely they’ll visit your website.
  • A customer review is as effective as a personal recommendation. It’s a self-involved third party without bias, so the review reflects a genuine customer experience.
  • Customer reviews improve your ranking in search engines like Google.  These reviews count as more signals validating your authenticity and authority. And what does Google want to do? It wants to present searchers the best options for their search – options that Google considers authentic, knowledgeable, and strongly verified by other sources.

Looking for more benefits of Local SEO? Then head over to our Local SEO page for the finer details on this proven digital marketing method.

Local SEO in Action

When someone searches for a local service or product (in this example, “toys near me”), Google presents paid ads, and then three local search results sitting directly underneath a Google Map. And these three immediately visible results are referred to as the “Local Pack.”

Placing in the Local Pack is an optimal position for online searchers. They don’t want to have to “view all” to find a location near them. Part of our Local SEO strategy is helping your business rank in the Local Pack, and at the very least, helping you rank higher in the list of options associated with Google Maps.

Local SEO (ads)

Placing in the Local Pack is an optimal position for online searchers. They don’t want to have to “view all” to find a location near them. Part of our Local SEO strategy is helping your business rank in the Local Pack, and at the very least, helping you rank higher in the list of options associated with Google Maps.

Continuing the example, if I was to hit “view all,” I would see the following results: A selection of local businesses along the left side of the screen, and their actual pinned locations on Google Maps.

Multiple Google Maps Listings

Now, what happens if I click one of the selections on the left? Well, I bear witness to an integral (and FREE!) bit of software called Google My Business – it’s a rectangular knowledge panel offering all sorts of important information about said recently clicked upon business. Observe:

Single Google Maps Listing

Take note of all the information displayed here, including quick-action buttons, Google Reviews, a phone number, address, on-site images, and much, much more. I bring this up because it’s something we make sure to optimize as part of our Local SEO strategy. And this segues gracefully into our next section:

What Do We Actually Do to Improve Your Local SEO?

While this isn’t everything, the following list of items is a sampling of what we consider and enact in order to improve a business’s local listing:

Firstly, we look at two categories of SEO: On-Page and Off-Page.

  • On-Page optimization: These are things we do directly on a website to improve its ranking.
  • Off-Page optimization: These are things we do on other sites, platforms, or other online resources to improve website ranking.

A few examples of On-Page SEO tactics we employ to improve Local SEO:

Content Creation: Google wants to show people a page that gives them what they’re looking for — text, images, etc. that give searchers the information they need to make a decision or take the next step.

And Google is aware of the time someone spends on a page. If it recommends a webpage and searchers leave within a few seconds, this tells Google the page is unhelpful, and therefore, will be less compelled to show the page in future searches.

And content creation goes hand-in-hand with the very next point:

Keyword Research: We’ll help determine the kinds of words and phrases – and the search volume of those words and phrases — people are using to search for services like yours online. And then we’ll make sure to add them conversationally into any content created around them.

Website Loading Speed: Google also looks at how fast a website loads – it considers website speed an integral metric when determining how to rank a website. A website that loads faster makes for a better user experience, which makes it easier for a user to use and interact with a website. And ease of use is incredibly important to Google, and that’s especially so on a website’s mobile presentation (due to Google’s “mobile first” policy – that all websites shall now and forever be ranked based upon its presentation on mobile devices).

A few examples of Off-Page SEO tactics we employ to improve Local SEO:

Google My Business: Remember that helpful vertical panel containing all sorts of integral business information? We make sure to properly optimize it with all the correct information, making it easy for online searchers to learn more about you, and then reach out for more information. It sports customer reviews (which you should be responding to, even if they’re positive and especially if they’re negative), business hours, a phone number, an address, and images that display your products/services. We’re BEGGING YOU to take advantage of this if you haven’t already. It’s a Google product, so you get a signal boost right there, and it’s the perfect way to stand out in a list of similar search results.

Backlink Building: Backlinks are essentially other websites, platforms, and/or web-presences linking back to your website. Google looks at all kinds of verifiers – or signals – to determine the validity of a website, and other legitimate web-presences linking back to yours “tells” Google your website is an authority and verifies its legitimacy. 

Citation Building: Citations occur when another website or web-presence lists your business name, address, and phone number (also knows as “NAP”), and other pertinent information. Citations appear on online phone directories, business directories, news sites, and review sites. And like backlinks, the more legitimate citations you have, the more verifying signals you send to Google. Google likes other online sources pointing to – and therefore, validating – yours.

Want to learn more about our Local SEO strategy? Then continue your education on our thrice-as-long Local SEO page!

Want to skip all that reading and talk to one of our Local SEO specialists? Then fill out the form below and we’ll field your questions and collaboratively deduce some solutions.