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What is Meant by Local SEO? –
Why Your Small Business Needs it

Blogs | SEO

Published: 12.09.23
Written By: Olivia Clifford

Table of Contents

Introduction

Whether your small business has just been established, or you’ve been operating for years, local SEO is something you need to incorporate in your SEO strategy.

46% of searches on Google include local intent. This means that they are being searched with a local area in mind. That’s almost half of Google searches your business will be missing out on if you aren’t taking advantage of it.

Here we’ll be covering some things you can do to improve your local SEO, as well as why you should be doing it.

What is Local SEO and How Does it Work?

Local Search Engine Optimisation is a part of SEO strategy you can do in to increase the search engine visibility of your business within the local area.

Let’s look at some examples. I’m sure in the past you’ve needed to find a local service or shop, with one of the main focuses of your search being that it is a local business that is convenient for you, that you’re looking for.

Straight away you’re going to see three of the most popular results on the search engine. This is called the Snack Pack or Google Three pack.

This is a highly desirable place to be found within search engines. These three businesses appear here because of their local SEO. With 93% of Google search engine results showing the three pack, you can see why it is such a prized place to be in.

Overall, 33% of clicks will go to the three pack, with 40% going to organic search results. So, you’re going to want to do everything to rank highly in both.

How to Boost Local SEO

For search engines to be able to generate information on your location, you’re going to need to create local content, use social media and get some backlinks to your site. Luckily there are a few ways you can do all those things.

Google My Business

This is a great starting point for your journey into local SEO. It’s become the standard people look for when searching for a local business. 44% of businesses haven’t claimed their business profile on google, with 82% not claiming it on Bing. If you haven’t claimed your business page yet what are you waiting for?

It’s a simple process and more importantly it’s totally free!

  • Claim your business profile and verify your account
  • Fill in all the sections of the account
  • Make sure your contact information is up to date and accurate
  • Select the categories your business falls under
  • Publish posts regularly (you can repurpose your social media posts!)
  • Upload photos regularly
  • Encourage and respond to reviews
  • Set up messaging for better interaction with your audience

 

A business that is claimed and verified is going to show up higher in search engine results, which is what we’re looking for.

Claim Your Business on Apple Maps

With over 23% of the market share on smart phones, you’d be missing out on a big opportunity to target that audience in your local SEO strategy. More than 1 billion people use iPhones it isn’t out of the question to think a large portion of them use Apple Maps.

It’s very similar to a Google business page, just another way of getting your information out there. It’s also free to use and doesn’t take much time so there’s no reason not to set up a profile for your business.

  • Choose your relationship to your business
  • Enter your business details
  • Verify your business
  • Confirm your location
  • Confirm your operating hours
  • Add your website and social media

Local Keyword Research

Keyword research is something you’re going to be doing for any type of SEO you’re doing. For local SEO you are going to have to cater to your local target market. For example, rather than having a broad search of Italian restaurants, you would narrow your search down using local keywords such as Italian restaurants Wolverhampton.

The most common local search terms will include a service with a specific location, town, or post code. Using keyword research tools will allow you to see what kind of competition and traffic are generated by your search terms, as well as where you are likely to rank in SERPs when using them.

Reviews and Engagement

One of the most important things to remember with your profile is to engage and be active with your audience. Like any other form of social media, engagement is key.

Making sure you are active will have a positive impact on your local SEO. Upload that new company video you made for your social media, show off those photos of your new menu. It all helps.

You might be avoiding responding to negative reviews, but ignoring them isn’t going to help your ranking, or your customer service. Use it as an opportunity to engage with your audience as well as identify any ways you can improve.

Reviews are the top priority for Google when it comes to ranking local businesses, and that’s what’s going to get you into that coveted three pack. This might seem daunting at first but the best way to generate reviews is to simply ask!

62% of customers will leave a review if they are asked. Utilise the platforms at your disposal to do this, social media, emails, even asking them in person!

Web Directories for Local Business Citations

While having a Google Business page is great, you’re going to want to have some more information about your business out there and build up some citations. Citations are online mentions of your business, and local business directories are great for this. They are a ranking factor when it comes to your local SEO, as well as being a sign of trust and endorsement.

Here are some reputable places you can start with:

 

There are so many out there, it can be quite overwhelming. You can also find directories that are specific to your industry or your location. Some are going to be more valuable than others in terms of SEO so it’s always worth thinking about which ones you want to use.

If you’ve already got some citations out there that’s great! It’s always worth doing an audit just to make sure that your contact information is accurate across all your listings.

Optimise Your Website for Mobile Devices

Mobile devices account for over 50% of all online traffic, increasing from 32% in just 5 years. This trend doesn’t show any sign of slowing down which is why it’s important that your website works well on mobile devices.

This makes perfect sense for local SEO, think of how many people are googling coffee shops near me on their smart phones when they are travelling somewhere new.

There are a few things you can do to get your website where it needs to be:

  • Make sure it has fast loading times 
  • Use fonts that are easily readable
  • Only have the information on there that you need

Conclusion

With the majority of people using the internet and search engines like Google as their primary method of research, it means you’re going to need to implement an SEO strategy if you want to compete. 

More of a focus is being placed on supporting local businesses and products in recent years, so bringing local SEO into your strategy makes perfect sense and is something you should be doing as a small business owner.

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