When you’re craving sushi for dinner tonight, you’re probably not interested in the top sushi restaurants in Tokyo, right? Most likely, you’re looking for the best sushi in your local area. Search engines, like Google, know this, and as mobile searches continue to increase, have designed their algorithms to deliver the most relevant (and local) search results.
Anyone familiar with digital marketing will have heard of SEO. But in recent years, local SEO has become more and more valuable as people use their smartphones to search online. Local SEO is founded on the same rules of traditional SEO, but there are key differences. If you’re looking to grow your business and reach more nearby customers, local SEO needs to be a part of your marketing strategy.
Peaks Digital Marketing is a team of experienced and dedicated SEO experts who want to help your business reach the summit of success. Specializing in medical SEO, enterprise SEO, and content marketing, and Google AdWords, we also work to improve the visibility of your business on a local scale. In this blog, we take a closer look at what makes local SEO unique. We also explore some of the benefits of local SEO and how it can help your business and website reach more potential customers than ever before.
WHAT IS SEO?
First, let’s run through SEO. Search engine optimization, or SEO, is a set of practices to optimize the performance of your website on search engine rankings. SEO works to improve the quality and quantity of your web traffic through organic search results. Compared to PPC (pay per click) advertising, SEO may not deliver immediate results, but this approach to digital marketing looks at the big picture to improve your online presence.
If you’re looking to succeed in eCommerce, your business needs to be visible. In the digital marketplace, this means showing up on the first page of search engine results (especially on Google). How valuable is this positioning? According to Moz, over 70 percent of search traffic clicks are through sites appearing on the first page of Google.
SEO can take many forms, including backlinks, keywords, image optimization, and quality content. At its core, this method of digital marketing is all about making your website and your brand more visible to more potential customers searching for your products or services. In the vast ocean of online search results, this exposure is key to success.
HOW IS LOCAL SEO DIFFERENT?
As its name suggests, local SEO focuses on ranking websites for local search results. Local SEO has become more important in recent years for two primary factors. Reason one: as more services become available online, people are using search engines to do more. Twenty years ago, search engines primarily connected users to information. Now, we’re using Google to search for practically anything, from new shoes, cars, to even your next doctor.
Reason two: Smartphones. Before the booming popularity of smartphones, most web searches took place from a stationary computer at home—thus, your location never really changed. Nowadays, however, people are increasingly performing web searches from practically anywhere thanks to their smartphones. By 2019, data suggests that the number of mobile local searches queries will surpass 141 billion. Now, for Google and other search engines, location definitely matters.
Say, for example, you’re looking to get a haircut. With local search results, all you need to do is type in “haircut” as your search query and Google will link with the GPS on your device to find you the most relevant (and local) results. Local SEO is a much more focused and specific approach to digital marketing, aimed at generating traffic and customers that will actually lead to conversions. Additionally, you can generate a strong online presence and brand recognition through local SEO practices.
BENEFITS OF LOCAL SEO
1. Brand visibility.
Why are so many consumers so loyal to Apple and their whole line of products? Because they know the brand and what to expect from their digital devices. Local SEO gain increase the visibility of your brand in your region. While you may not become the next Apple, brand recognition does increase trust, which leads to customers.
2. Customers with minimal cost.
Local SEO connects you with some of the most valuable customers you need—those near your business. Compared to PPC advertising, SEO is designed to increase your ROI and develop a successful web presence for years to come at minimal cost. Local SEO can also be much more focused and specific, further reducing costs and reaching valuable potential customers.
3. Reach across platforms.
While Google is certainly the search engine of choice for most online searches, there are other platforms, such as Yelp and Trip Advisor, that allow you to reach potential customers. This strategy is especially effective with local SEO when it’s difficult to match up with larger companies on a national scale.
4. Enhance credibility.
Quality content and online reviews are two fundamental aspects of local SEO. Quality content and reviews also boost the credibility and authority of your website because it shows you’re working to fulfill the search queries of your users by offering high-quality, consistent, and unique content. Positive online reviews also help potential customers in learning more about what you can offer.
5. Local presence.
Social media presence is an important factor with local SEO. Customers want to see that businesses are engaged with the local community and responsive to customer reviews, feedback, and needs. Consider how diligent use of various social media platforms, like Facebook and Instagram, can enhance your local presence and connect you with your community.
HOW TO OPTIMIZE LOCAL SEO
In addition to working with a top SEO agency, there are many ways to improve your local SEO to reach more potential (and nearby) customers.
1. Google My Business.
One of the most fundamental steps is to ensure that you have completed your Google My Business account. This free tool allows businesses to manage their online presence and helps connect users to their business when performing search queries and using Google Maps (think of this as almost a modern day yellow pages directory).
An optimized Google My Business account is a completed one. When filling this out, be sure to include your location, hours of operation, logo, products, payment methods, and images of your business.
2. Customer reviews.
In the vast, online marketplace, it can be challenging to know which businesses to really trust—this is why customer reviews are so important. According to statistics, roughly 85 percent of customers trust online reviews as much as they would a personal recommendation from a friend or family member. Online reviews are the new “word-of-mouth” and can help your local SEO presence. Having numerous positive reviews, of course, will also help attract more local customers to your business.
3. Localize your content.
What news is happening in your local area? We’ve all read countless generic online articles, but when you can customize your content to respond to local issues and events, you’ll draw in the eyes of the users that matter most—your local ones. Try composing your content, whether it’s blogs, articles, or videos, about current and local events. Not only does this boost SEO, but it also makes your web presence that much more relevant for your community.
4. Mobile optimization.
Local SEO has become so valuable because more and more people are performing searches on the go from their smartphones. While it may seem obvious, many people overlook the fact that your website needs to function just as well on a mobile device as it does on a laptop or desktop. Make sure your site is loading quickly and has a strong UI for mobile users. You may also consider increasing font size to enhance this experience.
CONCLUSION – WHAT IS LOCAL SEO?
Google and other search engines are dedicated to providing users with the most relevant results. For web users today, that increasingly means local results. If you’re looking for dinner, a haircut, or even a new car, you want local, relevant results. This is why designing your website and web presence with local SEO in mind is an absolute must in today’s digital marketing world.
At Peaks Digital Marketing, we specialize in a wide range of SEO services, including local SEO, to help you climb the Google ladder. In the digital world, there’s never been more competition for healthcare services. Learn more about how Peaks Digital Marketing can help you reach the summit of success.