Most business owners and managers are aware of the importance of using keywords and key phrases in online content. However, when it comes to SEO, industry-relevant keywords will only take a business so far. A focus on local search engine optimization is also necessary.
Why Local SEO is Important
The average business, and especially small business, sells in one or several local area codes. Though some companies have nationwide or even global footprints, most businesses serve their local community. For this reason, it makes sense to localize a SEO push to connect with those coveted local customers. Google reports more than three-quarters of those who perform a local search through their phone visit a local company within the ensuing 24 hours. Furthermore, nearly one-third of these local searches culminates in a purchase. In other words, businesses that are not localizing their search to bridge the gap to local customers end up missing out on those important connections. All in all, Google states about one-third of all total searches pertain to location.
Google’s Algorithms Account for Local SEO
Google’s algorithm updates have been modified to account for local keywords and key phrases. In other words, a local consumer in need of a product or service who searches for his or her area code, city, neighborhood name or other local identifier is that much more likely to find and land on the website of a company that prioritizes local SEO. Even the use of local identifiers such as street names, area codes, zip codes, landmarks and other local attractions will help in the quest for additional online traffic.
Local SEO Extends Beyond Keywords
Mixing in localized keywords and key phrases throughout online content is certainly important yet it is not enough in and of itself to win the battle for local search. For example, most people use a smartphone to search for businesses near them, reviews of local businesses and Google Maps for additional information. If the company’s website, app or any other component of its online footprint is not viewable or usable on a smartphone or other mobile device, Google will consider it a poor user experience and will not return the website on the Search Engine Results Page, even if it is a highly relevant website.
Aside from the design or user experience of the site, the company’s presence on Google also matters. Nearly 90% of people use Google maps to pinpoint the location of a company in their area. Google My Business is changing in 2022 -- the platform is being rebranded as Google Business Profile. Businesses are encouraged to complete their Google profile and take advantage of the platform's ability to highlight multiple locations. Be sure to add localized keywords to your Google profile and update the profile as your business evolves.
Add local landmarks, street names, intersections, neighborhood names and zip codes to your Google profile, website, social media and more. Even responding to comments, questions and inquiries on social media and in response to online reviews will help generate positive attention. Continue to sprinkle localized information across the entirety of the company’s online footprint and that much more online traffic will make its way to the homepage, social media pages, online directory listings, reviews and other related pages.
Extend the Range
A business that strictly limits its online content to target a single demographic or industry is likely not casting the net wide enough to succeed. The same can be true for SEO. Yes, focus on local SEO, but don't make your targets extremely narrow. Instead of identifying a single zip code, city, or area code, extend the reach. A SEO push that targets people who are living in a certain region or group of cities will mean a broader potential target audience. Spread the word about your business beyond your immediate backyard and grow your brand awareness twofold.
Even if those who find your business don't convert into paying customers, they might recommend your business to family, friends, coworkers and others in the area.
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