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Why Local SEO is Important for Your Business
Business 101 | March 12, 2021
If you're just starting out or are mostly relying on customers in your own neighborhood, then local SEO is important for your business.

There's no escaping it: SEO is vital for businesses in the modern age of the internet. When the vast majority of us find new places to shop through Google, ranking high in those search results is a must. Finding yourself at the top of a search engine results page will drive traffic to your website, attract customers, and even boost sales. But what good does it do you if someone from halfway across the world knows about your business? Are these people likely to spend money on your goods and services? Maybe - if you ship internationally or work online. For the most part, however, your customers will be people in your own neighborhood. It is them you want to target, which is why local SEO is important for your business.

What is local SEO?
Picture this scenario: you're a New Yorker looking for a place to have a nice meal with friends. None of you know a good restaurant or cafe to recommend, so you decide to find something online. You Google "best brunch in Manhattan" or maybe "best places to get brunch near me". The results you get and, indeed, the result you're looking for, will be local restaurants and cafes. That is the power of local SEO. It includes SEO practices that help you rank higher in searches specific to your area of operation.

The importance of local SEO
There are many ways to spread the word about your business: you can build your brand using your website, use social media for marketing, run ad campaigns on TV and radio, even distribute flyers in your neighborhood. But there is simply no denying that a significant percentage of people will find out about you through search engines. And local SEO can help the right people do that.

Local SEO is important for your business because it helps local customers find you
If you own a physical store or office, most of your business probably comes from people who live or work in the same area. We're creatures of convenience, so people rarely travel very far to do their shopping. When they do, it's usually only for particular items. Therefore, the bulk of your sales will probably come from locals. And if you're running a small or relatively new business, then targeting locals will be even more critical. Local SEO is how you do that. By ensuring you rank high in searches intended explicitly for your area, it attracts customers in that area; customers who are likely able to visit your business, will probably pass by it again, and might come back because it's convenient.

Local SEO has a high conversion rate
The best marketing practices are those with high conversion rates - pay-per-click advertising, popups, email subscriptions, and the like. Local SEO also falls under this umbrella. Local SEO works so well because most people who perform local searches are already ready to buy - they're just looking for the right place to do so. Good local SEO practices will ensure that the place they find is your business.

Local SEO is important for your business because it puts you on the map (literally)
What do you do when you want to check where you are and what is available in your immediate area? It used to be that you'd ask around or look at a city map. These days, you probably check Google maps. This is great for businesses. As a business owner, you can now easily list your business on the map, provide relevant information about the location and opening hours, and make updates as needed. That way, potential customers can easily find you on navigation apps.

Local SEO is essential because it improves your performance on mobile
Good user experience on mobile devices is still challenging to achieve for most websites. And yet, mobile optimization is one of the key aspects of SEO. To make the most of it, you'll need to make your website responsive, speed it up and improve user experience because more than half of all searches these days are performed on mobile devices. A lot of the time, this is because the user is outside and on the move. But that's precisely when they might need to find your business! If they're already out and looking for a place that offers the goods and services they need at the moment, they're highly likely to walk into your store and spend money if they can just find it. Good local SEO rankings ensure that they do.

Who benefits from local SEO?
Almost any business can benefit from local SEO. Still, companies that rely on physical shoppers, such as grocery stores and restaurants that don't deliver or spa parlors that require customers to be present, will find it most beneficial. Additionally, highly localized small businesses that don't have a wide reach and rely on local traffic for customers will benefit significantly from local SEO. Finally, new businesses that still don't have a large or loyal customer base will grow quicker with the help of local SEO.

The basics of local SEO
To rank higher in local searches, you'll want to:

  • localize your website - providing consistent and clear information about your address, phone number, and area served (if applicable) will make it easier for Google to serve up your website in relevant results and for customers to locate your business
  • make the most of your citations and pages - always list your address and contact information on all your profiles on social media and pages in local directories, review websites, and Google My Business; if at all possible, you should own those pages or get them verified
  • create locally relevant content - content is one of the most important aspects of SEO, so providing optimized content is a must; make sure the content is relevant to your location and clearly reflects that so Google will have no problem knowing where you are located, and your customers will get information that is relevant to their day-to-day lives

While there is no doubt that local SEO is important for your business, it only works if it's done correctly. So take some time to research best practices and develop a strategy before embarking on a marketing campaign.

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