If you run a small or multi-location business and want nearby customers to find your brand through search, you need a local SEO strategy. By optimizing your business for local search, you can connect with highly motivated customers looking for the products or services you offer at exactly the right time.
What Is Local SEO?
Local SEO (Local Search Engine Optimization) is the process of optimizing your business’s web presence so that you show up when nearby customers perform a search related to your business.
Local SEO is important for brick-and-mortar businesses because:
- Local search intent is specific. Local customers are looking for businesses near them that can provide them with something specific. Someone in Tampa searching for a dry cleaner doesn’t want to find a business in San Francisco. They specifically want to find a dry cleaning business in Tampa. Local SEO helps businesses connect with these customers by utilizing targeting in their marketing strategies.
- Local search can lead to more customer visits. Customers who search for a local business are often ready to visit. Google research shows that 76% of people who conduct a local mobile search visit a business within 24 hours.
- Local searches have high purchase intent. When people look for local businesses, they are often near the bottom of the sales funnel and ready to make a purchase. Search Engine Land reports that 78% of local mobile searches result in a purchase either in-store or online.
Local searchers are ready to visit a business and make a purchase. They want to find a place nearby that offers what they want and need. Local SEO helps them find it.
Understanding Local SEO and Search Engines
Local SEO exists because search engines want to provide the most relevant and useful results possible. The key difference between local SEO and traditional organic SEO is the geographical component, which enables search engines to show users relevant results for nearby solutions. It wouldn’t make sense for people in Tampa to search for a dry cleaner and see results for a business based in San Francisco.
To provide the best local results, Google considers three ranking factors.
- Proximity: How close the business is to the searcher
- Relevance: How relevant the business is to the search phrase
- Prominence: How well-known the business is and how much online authority it has
To improve local SEO, a business must optimize their online presence to appeal to these three ranking factors.
View Also: Affordable Local SEO Packages
Understanding Local SEO and SERPs
To fully understand local SEO, it helps to know how local search results appear on search engine results pages (SERPs). Local search results appear in four ways.
- Organic search results are earned when local businesses follow SEO best practices. The placement appears as a standard search result.
- Paid search engine results are paid search ads. A local business pays for their search result to appear when people search for select keywords as part of a pay-per-click marketing strategy. The “Ad” designation on the result indicates that it is a paid placement.
- Google My Business results are rich search results that display in a map or a featured listing. Businesses that appear in this rich search section have claimed and optimized their Google My Business page.
- Google guaranteed listings are rich search results available for some service-based industries. A business that appears as a Google Guaranteed brand has signed up and been verified through Google’s program.