Google rakes in over 136 billion dollars in revenue every year. That number isn’t surprising given the fact that the search engine is responsible for directing billions of search requests on a daily basis. Companies that have built their websites to be Google or “SEO friendly” stand a great chance of benefiting from all of those searches since the more Google likes you, the more likely they’ll be to send internet surfers your way.
But what about brick-and-mortar stores? What is local SEO and can it have an impact on driving foot traffic into a physical business?
Given that 46% of Google searches have local intent, local SEO can mean a lot to physical organizations.
If you don’t know what local SEO is, you’re in the right place. Below, we break it down and share tips on how to master it.
A Brief Primer on SEO
Before we answer the big question of this post, “What is local SEO?”, let’s quickly explore what regular SEO is for contextual purposes.
SEO stands for search engine optimization. It’s the practice of making conscious decisions when crafting a web presence that will make your online pages more visible to the “spiders” that crawl the internet and relay information back to companies like Google, Bing, and Yahoo.
Doing things like targeting certain keywords that are frequently searched online or having external websites link back to your business’s website are examples of ways that you can raise your search engine visibility and surface higher in search engine results pages.
What Is Local SEO?
Now that you understand what SEO is, let’s talk about how local SEO is different.
Non-local-SEO strategies are carried out with the intent of grabbing the attention of a wide swath of internet users. These strategies work well for businesses that are location agnostic (ex: anybody that sells digital products or ships physical ones).
If your business requires customers to visit in person, grabbing the attention of internet users located in another state isn’t going to be valuable to you. The most valuable web traffic that you can attract are the people that are in and around your business’s location.
Local SEO is simply a collection of digital strategies that specifically target people that live and work in your business’s vicinity.
How Does Google Use Local SEO?
Ask yourself this question… When you’re in a new place and want to find a good restaurant, what do you do? For most people, the answer is that they pull out their phone and search “good restaurants near me” or “best restaurants in XXX”.
When searches like that are submitted, Google looks for businesses that have an online presence, that have made it clear through local SEO triggers that they are in the searcher’s vicinity and that have positive reviews.
If you didn’t invest in learning about local SEO and optimizing your online presence per its guidelines, any time that somebody searches for a local business in your niche, the odds of you turning up as a suggestion would be slim.
What Are Some Ways to Improve Your Local SEO Today?
Not only is local SEO imperative to the success of brick-and-mortar businesses in the 21st century but fortunately, it’s easy to start leveraging. Here are four ways that you can start making your company’s web presence more local SEO friendly.
Mention Your Area in Your Digital Copy
Whether it’s on your website or on your social media profiles, the more places where you have your location listed, the better. When mentioning your location online, you want to be as specific as possible to ensure that you’re targeting people closest to you and that you’re reducing your local search competition.
For example, if you live in a suburb like Downy that’s situated in Los Angeles County, you don’t want to say that you have “The Best Pizza in Los Angeles”. You want to say that you have “The Best Pizza in Downey” that you’ve been “Serving Downey, CA for two decades”, etc.
Have a Location Page on Your Website
Every brick-and-mortar website should have a page called “location” and that page should list a business’s address and phone number. It’s also helpful to get a free map widget from Google Maps and install it onto your location page so people can visually see where you’re situated.
Create a Google My Business Profile
In order for your business to pop up on Google Maps, you need to create a Google My Business profile. Creating a Google My Business profile is free and takes minutes.
Get Great Reviews
Google doesn’t like to recommend bad businesses to consumers. Therefore, it’s imperative that you manage your business’s Google, Yelp and Facebook reviews.
Working with reputation management companies can be helpful to this end. That’s especially true if you don’t have the time to respond to reviews that you receive.
Now That You Know What Local SEO Is, Start Taking Action
Brick and mortar business owners ask, “What is local SEO” all of the time. As you’ve just seen, getting the answer to that question is easy. What’s hard is taking that answer and using it to make adjustments to your company’s online presence.
Don’t be the business owner that learns for the sake of learning. Be the business owner that uses their knowledge to drive radical growth in their company.
Have more questions about local SEO? Need information on anything else pertaining to the successful operation of your business? If you answered “yes,” read more of the content that we have up on our blog!