It’s a question we often hear small business owners ask, and one best illustrated by a couple of real-world examples.
Imagine that you own a small bakery in a suburban area. You make the most delicious cakes and pastries in town, cakes so good they would make your grandma proud. But no one knows about it because you don’t show up on the first page of Google when people search for bakeries in your area.
Or perhaps you run a small coffee shop in a busy downtown area. You make the best lattes and cappuccinos in town, but your business is struggling because you’re not showing up in search results when people are looking for a place to grab a coffee nearby.
This is where local SEO comes in.
By optimizing your website, Google My Business listing, and online directories for local keywords, you can increase your visibility to potential customers who are searching for businesses like yours in your area.
It’s like putting up a sign on the highway so that people can find your bakery more easily, or like having a sign on the sidewalk pointing customers to your coffee shop.
Without it, you might as well not exist. This is why investing in local SEO can be the difference between a bustling local business, or a failing venture.
How to Know if Your Business Needs Local SEO?
If your target audience mainly resides within the same geographic area as your business, then local SEO is quite likely a crucial component required for your continued success.
Having a physical location for your business means that local SEO is essential in order to increase visibility and attract nearby customers.
One way to determine whether you require local SEO is by performing searches using keywords that are relevant to your products or services. If the results tend to be specific to a certain location, it’s a clear indication that local SEO is necessary.
When you conduct searches and find that Google Maps appear frequently, it’s a strong indication that you need to invest in local SEO to boost your online presence in that specific area.
Do You Target Customers Within a Specific Geographic Area?
If your business serves customers in a specific geographic location, then you need Local SEO. For example, if you are a local restaurant, then you want to show up in the search results when someone searches for “restaurants near me.” Similarly, if you are a local plumber, then you want to show up in the search results when someone searches for “plumbers near me.”
Some indicators that you may need local SEO include:
You have a physical storefront or location that customers visit
You want to target customers within a specific geographic area
You want to show up in search results for map-based searches
You want to improve your visibility in local directories, such as Google My Business -You want to show up on google map when someone searches for your business nearby
If any of these apply to your business, then local SEO may be beneficial for you.
Local SEO: What it is and How to Know if You Need it
What is Local SEO?
Local SEO is the process of optimizing a website and its online presence to rank higher in local search results. This includes optimizing for Google My Business, Bing Places for Business, and other local directories. By doing so, businesses can increase their visibility in the local search results, which can lead to more website traffic, phone calls, and ultimately, more customers.
The Importance of Google My Business (now GBP)
Google My Business is a free tool that allows businesses to manage their online presence across Google, including Search and Maps. By verifying and editing your business information, you can help customers find your business and tell them your story.
Optimizing Your Website for Local SEO
To optimize your website for Local SEO, you should start by creating a Google My Business account and verifying your business information. Then, you should optimize your website for local keywords, such as the name of your city or town, and include your business address and phone number on your website.
Additionally, you should also consider building local backlinks, which are links from other websites that are located in the same geographic location as your business. These links can help to boost your local search rankings and make it more likely that your website will appear in the local search results.
Citations are mentions of your business name, address, and phone number (NAP) on other websites. Local citations are particularly important for local SEO because they help search engines like Google understand that your business is a legitimate, physical location that serves a specific geographic area.
Having consistent and accurate NAP information across a variety of reputable websites can signal to Google that your business is credible and trustworthy, which can help boost your visibility in local search results. Additionally, local citations can also help improve your visibility on online directories and maps, which are often used by consumers to find local businesses.
Therefore, acquiring local citations from reputable and authoritative websites is crucial for improving your local SEO and visibility in local search results. So, it is important to make sure that your business NAP is accurate and consistent across all the citations.
The Types of Businesses Local SEO Drives Business For
*Keep in mind this is not a comprehensive list but a good representation of the types of businesses that Local SEO can be highly effective for
Home Services Businesses
When it comes to home service contractors, customers often prioritize prompt service over brand loyalty. They want their issues resolved as soon as possible, rather than being picky about who they hire. As a result, local SEO is a crucial tool for businesses that specialize in solving home-related problems fast, such as roofers, HVAC contractors, plumbers, painters, and more.
These businesses typically rely on local markets and can use keyword-rich educational content on their websites to improve their local search rankings.
Reviews can also play a big role in boosting local search engine rankings for home service contractors. However, it can be difficult to get customers to leave reviews. Going above and beyond to gain positive customer ratings and reviews can give home service contractors an edge over the competition when people search for a local service provider.
Medical Practices, Clinics, Dentists, and Doctors
Medical practices such as urgent care clinics, dental practices, and doctor’s offices are perfect candidates for local SEO. Because patients often search for medical services in their proximity, SEO can be a powerful tool in driving patients to nearby practices. There are many ways for these practices to boost their rankings beyond building a great website.
One way is to curate engaging and creative content that provides insight and connects with prospective and current patients in meaningful ways that deliver value. This can include blog posts, guides, checklists, infographics, and more, all of which can improve search rankings while providing valuable information for patients. Additionally, medical practices can verify and promote their name, address, and contact information on local business directories.
Lawyers, Attorneys, and Law Firms
When it comes to legal services, people often seek out experts in their vicinity. This makes it essential for attorneys, law firms, and bail bond agents to be visible in local searches. There are several ways that these offices can boost their local search rankings.
First, they should create a Google My Business page. This will help them to appear more prominently in local search results. Next, they should optimize their website with relevant keywords that relate to their area.
Online reviews are also extremely important for legal practices. Due to the negative perception of the legal profession, validation from current and past clients can be crucial for potential clients. Therefore, it’s vital for attorneys and law firms to proactively seek out client reviews on popular platforms and social media. Positive reviews can make a significant impact on localized visibility and on building a positive reputation for the law firm.
Bars and Restaurants
Eateries and Pubs Eateries and pubs often operate within a specific region and cater to the demands of the local market. The ultimate aim of any eatery or pub is to establish itself as a go-to destination in the community. In order to accomplish this goal, the business must attract new patrons and keep previous ones coming back. That’s where local SEO comes in to play.
Patron reviews play an essential role in local SEO for eateries and pubs.
A recent study by Brightlocal has revealed that restaurants and cafes are among the top businesses that people read reviews for. While high-quality local content is an important SEO factor for other sectors, ratings and reviews can have a major impact on customer acquisition in the food and beverage industry. They can make or break an eatery or pub’s local search rankings.
Property Sales The relationship between property sales and local SEO is closely intertwined. However, with the rise of platforms like Trulia and Zillow, smaller real estate agents must adopt a hyper-local approach to improve their local search rankings. These larger platforms have mastered broad keyword searches.
To increase their visibility, property agents must create web pages that focus on unique local neighborhoods, communities, and markets. The key to success is high-quality content, but smaller firms can also capitalize by narrowing their focus to even the smallest neighborhoods within the area.
For example, real estate agents can create in-depth content about:
The area’s history
Final Thoughts on Local SEO
Local SEO is an essential component of any business that wants to attract customers in a specific geographic location. By optimizing for local search, businesses can increase their visibility in the local search results, which can lead to more website traffic, phone calls, and ultimately, more customers.
If your business serves customers in a specific geographic location, then you need Local SEO. By creating a Google My Business account, optimizing your website, and building local backlinks, you can improve your local search rankings and attract more customers.