Local SEO (aka Map SEO) is a type of optimisation technique designed to help small and medium businesses’ websites to improve their ranking in a search engine’s results page.
You might be wondering what use is in optimising your Google presence when you are competing against big national brands for a higher ranking in its search results page? Well, the great thing about local SEO is that it gives you the opportunity to become competitive within the regional area in which your business operates in. In this way, you can target people in either your neighbourhood, town, or city. And as a result, not only will your ranking get better but your foot traffic will too!
There are numerous advantages of having local SEO and we are here to tell you about them. That is why we are listing 6 benefits that may help your business.
Targeted Web Traffic
Safari Digital reports that 97% of users make an online search to find local businesses. So, independently of the size of your business, it is important to have an online presence to bring in traffic to your website. However, not all traffic might end up converting into sales. And that’s when local SEO comes in handy. When targeting local people, you are driving relevant traffic and centring your resources on those potential customers that are more likely to visit your business and acquire your product or service. This is how local SEO can help you run your business more smoothly and efficiently, making it visible solely to search users within your local area.
Improved Conversion Rates
As mentioned above, local SEO allows you to direct relevant traffic to your website and to your store. This, in turn, can positively impact your sales. Safari Digital further mentions that 78% of people making local searches end up visiting the store and 28% of all local searches result in a purchase. So, high traffic flows can bring high conversion rates as well.
Moreover, research by Think with Google describes that 61% of shoppers prefer local businesses that have both a physical store and a website. By optimising the structure and performance of their website, local businesses have the opportunity to stand out among their competitors and increase the chances of having more converting customers. A smooth navigation process in your website can help your visitors find more easily what they are looking for, ultimately, improving your conversion rate. Some of the things you have to be on the lookout for include: your page load speed, landing page text, and checkout process.
A conversion doesn’t necessarily have to be a purchase. It can also be a form submission, phone call, email subscription or even a content download. Therefore, enhancing your website and local SEO can result in different types of conversions.
The time you invest on improving your Google Business Profile will be reflected on the visibility you get on Google Maps, which can then lead to more calls and in-person visits to your business. With a Google Business Profile you can add basic important information about your storefront or service area such as: phone number, operating hours, address, and many other things! Google Maps feeds on information that Google collects from Business Profiles, so the more optimised your profile is, the more enhanced your visibility will be.
Complementary to your Google Business Profile, citation building is also key to boosting your visibility in local searches. Citations are all the mentions of your business’s name, physical address, and phone number (also referred as NAP) on third-party resources like directory listings, social media profiles, or online review platforms.
Citations are especially beneficial when your business is just starting out as it can help your exposure to potential customers. Google’s algorithm uses your NAP information to confirm that you’re a legit local business and that you are located at the address listed on your Business Profile. When crawling the internet, Google firstly attributes your legitimacy to the number of sites that show your business information.
Because Google displays its search results based on relevance and prominence, it processes citations to return the most relevant results for each local query. So, besides visibility, citation building can verify your credibility and strengthen trust levels among visitors too.
The report by Safari Digital also states that 88% of customers check online reviews before purchasing from a local business, where 73% of them trust companies with online reviews. So, businesses with no online reviews across Google, social media or other review platforms are missing out on plenty of opportunities to attract potential customers.
When people are presented with a good product or service, they will be motivated to leave an online review. This can help potential customers understand more about your business, learning about your product’s or service’s quality, for example. Because of this, online reviews play a significant role in the purchase decision making, driving sales or leading customers to further stages in the buying process.
Optimising local SEO will not only help you gain more reviews, but it will also give you the opportunity to reply to those reviews. Responding to customer feedback will build trust among new customers, and generate loyalty from returning customers.
In this way, authentic reviews reinforce your trustworthiness, attract more customers, increase your online visibility, and increase your ranking in search engines.
Higher Trust Levels
Link building and content marketing are essential for local SEO since they generate prominence and relevance, attributes that can also give your business a status of thought leader and expert in your field. The first refers to the activity of getting backlinks from other local businesses that are relevant to yours. With the higher visibility and increased targeted traffic (from link building) comes higher trust levels, as the number of backlinks help Google determine your page rank.
Just like positive reviews and link building, local content marketing can also help increase trust among your customers. Creating genuine content about your local area and involving your local community can position you as a thought leader or expert voice. Additionally, it can be a way of connecting deeper with your customers, enhancing brand loyalty and engagement.
Cutting off Unnecessary Advertising Costs
The local audience is what keeps local businesses alive and thriving. In previous decades, it was evident how print advertising was key to raising awareness about a local business and gaining new customers. Banners, pamphlets, and flyers were everywhere to be found. However, local SEO has the power of making your business successful without having to spend loads of money.
As mobile users have become more common, so have the local searches made on mobile devices. In just 2022, the phrase “near me” searched on mobile increased by 136% as stated by Safari Digital. Adopting local SEO practices will, therefore, help your business in unimaginable ways while reducing unnecessary advertising costs!
With the countless benefits of local SEO, you can help your business stay competitive and relevant. Now that you know more about this technique, contact us to get your local SEO strategy on!