What Is Local SEO?
- Get found online
- By More People
- With Accurate Information
- Get your business in front of the people who want what you sell
You’ve heard of SEO before – it means Search Engine Optimization. Well, Local SEO is just another form of search engine optimization, focusing on the local aspect of it. It still helps you build sales, nurture leads, and grow your conversions, but it is hyper-focused on one aspect of the SEO process: local.
So what exactly does “Local” SEO mean? It basically means optimizing your business to be found more easily on the internet. Furthermore, it means that when people do find you on the web, your information is accurate and highly detailed, further driving them to want to interact with your business and check out your website.
Local SEO is an effective way to market your business online. It helps businesses promote their products and services to local customers at the exact time they’re looking for them. Local SEO uses a variety of strategies — getting your site ranked on search engines like Google, business directories such as Yelp, Superpages, Foursquare, Yellowbook, Google My Business listing, Bing Places for Business page, localized content on your website, online reviews and other strategies.
Local SEO – Claim Your Digital Real Estate
The term “digital real estate” is thrown around a lot in Local SEO, but what does it mean? “Digital real estate” is basically where your company can be found on the internet. The more real estate you have, the easier it is for customers to find you – and, consequently, buy things from you.
Ask yourself the following questions about your business:
- Where can people find you online?
- Is it easy to find you?
- Do you have a good, trustworthy reputation online?
- Do you have any customer reviews?
- Can people looking for your product find YOUR WEBSITE more quickly than your competitors?
- Is your online information accurate?
DID YOU KNOW? 85% of consumers use the internet to find local businesses.
People are looking for answers to their problems and questions online.
Local SEO, paired with traditional SEO efforts, is how you can make it more likely that you’ll provide those answers for them.
What goes into Local SEO?
Local SEO is made up of a few different things, which altogether help Google evaluate your reputation and authority online.
Local SEO includes:
- Reviews and Testimonials – Your online reputation is just as important as your offline one. By managing your reviews and testimonials, you can put your “best foot forward” on the internet. The more reviews you have, the better. Think about shopping online. How many times have you used product reviews to determine what to buy? Reviews are absolutely essential because they make you look credible to potential customers.
- Press Release Management – This is another huge part of building a solid, trustworthy reputation Awareness of how your company is being talked about in the online marketplace is essential to understanding how to better build your brand. Furthermore, even when you get customer complaints, it’s important to acknowledge them and respond in a constructive way! If you’re familiar with the United Airlines catastrophe, then you know reputation matters. Press releases can help you respond to customer concerns, announce new products/services, and build your online reputation.
- Local Citations – A local citation is an online reference to your business NAP (Name, Address, Phone number). These citations are found all over the web, in directories like Yellow Pages, Yelp, and Angie’s List, on social media sites like Facebook, and on Google Maps. The more accurate the information, and the more citations you have, the easier it is for people to find you. And that’s what you want: more customers who are interested in what you offer.
Optimizing Your Local Citations
Let’s talk about citations. There are tons of directories all over the web, and a bunch which you have probably never heard of. But the more citations you have, the better. They essentially act as backlinks to your website, helping you rank better.
Local citation pages are pages created by third-parties that allow the general public to review, post pictures, provide information, and generally discuss a business in an environment not created or censored by it.
Some of the biggest players are:
- Google My Business
- Bing Places
- Apple Maps
- Yellow Pages
- Angie’s List
These pages have great amounts of Domain Authority, and that means they often rank higher than business websites themselves. We’ve found this to be especially true in the legal field. When you create a citation for your business on these pages, it gives your website an SEO boost.
So what exactly is Domain Authority? Well, according to Moz:
Domain Authority (DA) is a search engine ranking score developed by Moz that predicts how well a website will rank on search engine result pages (SERPs). A Domain Authority score ranges from one to 100, with higher scores corresponding to a greater ability to rank.
Domain Authority is calculated by evaluating linking root domains, number of total links, MozRank, MozTrust, etc. — into a single DA score. This score can then be used when comparing websites or tracking the “ranking strength” of a website over time.
You can view a website’s DA by using MozBar (a free Chrome-extension), Link Explorer (a backlink analysis tool), the SERP Analysis section of Keyword Explorer, and dozens of other SEO tools across the web.
In order to have an optimized citation, you must have all of your information correct, including:
- Business Name
- Phone number
- Hours of Service
- Locations you serve
- Website link
You’ll also need a description of your business. It doesn’t have to be super long, but make sure it fully and accurately communicates what your business does. Make sure to include your Value Proposition – if you don’t have one, learn how to write one.
Finally, you’ll need high-resolution photos to really shine. Get some photos of the inside and outside of your business, as well as people working inside. Grab some before and after shots, in-progress shots, and pictures of your team. Make sure to label them correctly and add descriptions. It’s really valuable!
Here are a few examples of popular local SEO citation pages online:
- Merchant Circle
- City Search
- Yellow Pages
- LinkedIn Company Pages
- Hot Frog
- Insider Pages
- Brown Book
- Dex Knows
- Discover our Town
- Trip Advisor
- Magic Yellow
- Judy’s Books
- Get Fave
- Best of the Web
- Yellow Assistance
- Angie’s List
Why is Local SEO important?
Everyone is online nowadays, and, if you want more customers, your business should be, too.
Even if your business is not brick and mortar or has operated completely offline in the past, you still need Local SEO.
According to PEW research, 87% of the US population uses the Internet – this translates to 277,436,130 individuals who use the Internet across the nation. With so many people online – and using social media, especially Facebook – it’s absolutely essential to have an online presence for your business to succeed in this day and age. If your business is offline only, we urge you to get on social media, work on your website, and make your online presence known. It’s the only way to compete with others in the market today.
Why You Still Need an Online Presence as a Predominantly Brick and Mortar Business
In today’s world, it’s important to give customers the ability to connect, engage, and learn more about your business online. Thus, connecting your offline business to your online presence is key to building and implementing a successful marketing campaign. Understanding that connection as well as the diversity of your customer base is important.
The first thing people do when they hear their friends talking about a movie, a restaurant, or a business – they go online and look it up. Seeing your business online validates it to the consumer and makes it easy to learn more about what you offer.
Examples of Local SEO in Action
Example a) You’re a hardware store having a big sale next week and you want to let your customers know. Your email subscribers get an update in their inbox, there are banners on your website, and your social media is updated to reflect the upcoming sale. Customers who may not have originally been planning to come in may decide to visit your store when notified about the upcoming sale. You have a higher chance of drawing in more customers with that online presence.
Example b) John sees a billboard for a pool repair company in his city on his way home from work. It just so happens that he has been thinking about getting his pool replastered lately. Though he doesn’t remember the billboard word for word, John goes home and types in what he does remember seeing into his browser. But you haven’t created any sort of landing page or connection to the billboard, so John doesn’t find what he’s looking for. That disconnect is exactly why you need to have an online connection to your business. Now – imagine you used the same wording on your billboard as you did on your website. Voila! John was able to find you easily and get the information he was looking for – you now have a new client.
Over 50% of internet searches today are done on smartphones.
Furthermore, over half of internet searches done today are done on mobile phones. Since people are always moving, Google uses location to help searchers find what they’re looking for more easily.
If your business only serves one location, Local SEO will make it easier and more likely for people in that area to find you.
If your business has multiple locations, Local SEO optimization will prevent customers from getting confused. Properly and accurately delineating your business locations will help people find what they are looking for more easily, make the process more smooth and user-friendly, and keep drawing in more potential customers.
If your business has multiple locations or serves multiple areas, a solid local SEO strategy will enable searchers to find your locations independently of each other and compete against businesses in those areas.
What are the benefits of Local SEO?
- Higher visibility
- Increased exposure
- Accurate listings
- Makes it easier for people to find you and connect with you
- Increased traffic
What are your goals as a business owner? More sales, more customers, more website traffic, better numbers? Of course you want to be successful. Local SEO is just one piece of the puzzle towards having a more successful and profitable business.
The Power of Local SEO in Action: Case Study
Did you know that one man was able to make his “business” the top-rated restaurant on Trip Advisor – and he didn’t even own a restaurant?
It’s true! One man was able to take his fake restaurant (named The Shed) from #18,149 – the worst restaurant in London – all the way to the #1 spot, just by doing Local SEO.
His phone was ringing off the hook. All the exposure, visibility, and goodwill his listing received from various reviews brought an absolutely non-existent restaurant quite a lot of positive attention.
89,000 views in search results in the past day, dozens of customers asking for information.
Putting in all that Local SEO work brought “The Shed” to the top quickly – by August of the same year, it was at spot #156, and quickly kept rising up the ranks. By November 2017, just 6 short months after its initial listing, “The Shed” had become the #1 Restaurant in London on Trip Advisor.
“It’s London’s top-rated restaurant. A restaurant that doesn’t exist is currently the highest ranked in one of the world’s biggest cities, on perhaps the internet’s most trusted reviews site.”
So, no more excuses. If a guy with a fake restaurant can do it, so can you!
All joking aside, this somewhat silly situation really shows just how powerful Local SEO can be when you actually DO own a business!
A solid Local SEO strategy can really catapult your business to the top, and not just on TripAdvisor.com. It brings in more customers, connects your business with people looking for what you sell, increases sales, and improves website traffic.
Schedule a 15-Minute Call with the Local SEO Experts at EWR Digital!
Interested in starting a Local SEO package with us? We’d be happy to help you learn more and see exactly how we can help your business grow. Speak with one of our experts today by calling us at (713) 592-6724 so we can get your business booming!
Local SEO: What It Is and Why You Need It | EWR Digital – Houston, TX | Internet Marketing Services