How Local SEO Improves Business Growth
While many business owners believe that search engine optimization strategies are effective only for large national companies, every small business can benefit from local SEO. This article first explores what local SEO is before detailing the benefits your business can achieve by using it.
Local SEO-What Is It?
Local SEO is the term used to describe digital marketing techniques that allow local companies to appeal to their local markets at the exact time potential customers need their services. Put another way; local SEO helps ensure that local customers find you when searching for a product or service you provide.
Local SEO includes improving your ranking on large search engines such as Google, but the local focus means that it entails a lot of other strategies too. Business directories such as Google My Business, Yellowbook, FourSquare, Yelp, Superpages, and Bing Places For Business help prospective customers find you and your contact information easily. You can also offer local content on your web page, online reviews written by people in your neighborhood, and a variety of other strategies to improve your local SEO representation.
This probably feels very overwhelming to you, but that’s okay. Local SEO is best handled by professionals anyway, and an increasing number of agencies are beginning to specialize in this field.
The best way to illustrate the value local SEO agencies provide is with an example. Traditional advertising techniques such as distributing brochures to your neighbors or buying an ad in a local newspaper have a meager conversion rate. Sure, anybody who sees the ad is probably in your target market, but are they looking for something you provide when they see it? Will they remember your ad when they require your services weeks or months from now? What’s the point of spending money to advertise to a market that doesn’t exist yet?
By contrast, local SEO helps customers in your area find you on their terms. They’re already interested in something you provide; they just need your contact information to complete the transaction. Advertising to this customer is a far more lucrative proposition, as the conversion rate is significantly higher. Here are some statistics proving why you should invest in local SEO:
- 96 percent of PC owners use them to search for local businesses.
- 46 percent of all Google searches are local in nature.
- 64 percent of local consumers use search engines and business directories as their primary method of finding local businesses.
- 50 percent of mobile searches inquire about business information such as an address or phone number.
- 78 percent of mobile searches ultimately result in an offline transaction.
Local SEO is undoubtedly a valuable tool you can use to increase your revenues today. If you’re interested in how it works, check out the seven reasons below:
1. Local SEO Is Both Targeted And Timely
While the most frequent local searches seek a specific business, the second most popular topic is locating a product or service. This means that a local search marketing strategy can get you in front of customers looking to make a purchase from a company in your field. There is no better recipe for a high conversion rate. Speaking of which…
2. The Highest Possible Conversion Rate
Online directories such as CitySearch and Yelp list all of a business’s pertinent information, including name, address, and phone number. Some also allow you to add information specific to your industry, such as a self-description or a menu. These directories tend to dominate the first page of search results on any engine, ensuring that potential customers see them early on in their search.
The result is a 50 percent conversion rate on the highest performing directories, meaning that one in two individuals who see your ad ultimately end up patronizing you. Good luck getting a similar response from a less targeted promotion.
3. Local SEO Offers A Great ROI
Since so many people who see a targeted local ad are already planning to purchase something, you’re wasting very little of the exposure that you pay for. Customers are encouraged to come to you instead of forcing you to hope that they need you when you find them. As a result, local SEO is more cost-effective than other marketing strategies. Some options are even free!
4. Use Google My Business
Google My Business is a free local business directory many potential customers look at before deciding where to make a purchase. The listing improves your rating on Google search results as well, so claiming your free listing is an easy decision. Only 44 percent of businesses have done so, however, meaning that there is still time to get ahead of the curve before your competitors realize the advantages of local SEO.
Many other directories are also free, such as Bing Places for Business. This may change as more people start to appreciate the value of local SEO, however, so make as many free profiles as you can while they are still free.
5. Mobile Searching Is On The Rise
According to a recent study, 51 percent of all digital media time in the United States is conducted on a mobile device such as a smartphone or tablet. Only 42 percent of such time takes place on a desktop computer. This means that your SEO strategy needs to take mobile browsers into account to ensure the best possible experience for potential customers.
[ Source: http://www.smartinsights.com/mobile-marketing/mobile-marketing-analytics/mobile-marketing-statistics ]
6. Only 20 Percent Of Adults Read Print Newspapers
As more people rely on the internet to get the information they need, traditional media outlets are in decline. Recent figures suggest that local newspapers have lost roughly 80 percent of their readership in the last 20 years, limiting the raw total of prospective customers print ads can reach. Add in how many of those who see it have no interest in your field, and newspaper ads start to feel like a waste of resources.
7. 88 Percent of Consumers Trust Online Reviews
By contrast, the vast majority of local consumers trust online reviews, citing them as a consideration when choosing a business to use. Ask regular customers to write a favorable review to deliver a strong first impression to potential clients.
Local search is clearly on the upswing, a trend that will only grow over time. Any business can benefit from local SEO, so try it today!