“Without Local SEO, your local business will struggle to reach new potential customers. When you cannot be found in the digital world, often you do not exist..“
Harrison Magoutas, Founder at Voltihost
Local Search Engine Optimization (SEO) for Small Businesses
Over the past decade, user behavior on the Internet has changed dramatically. The democratization of mobile devices and ever faster Internet access have revolutionized Web research, especially for the new generation, which today performs Internet research much differently than in the past. The study of behavior on search engines like Google or Bing has also adapted. Indeed, we no longer search on the Internet only from our living room with a fixed computer, but also and more and more with a tablet or a Smartphone, from anywhere and spontaneously according to need. Whether it is to find the best restaurants in Paris, the must-see sites in Washington, D.C, or the best beach bars on the California coast line, local search is used almost without limit.
What is Local SEO?
Local SEO is a subset of search engine optimization focused on promoting your business to nearby customers who are looking for a local business. The presence, or conversely absence, of results associated with local businesses in the search results of a specific term depends on the algorithmic interpretation of the user’s intention (the reason a user searched for a service or product) by the search engine. Mobile queries, those based on a user’s current location, show results nearby. Even a query as general as “pizza” shows nearby results on mobile devices.
For local SEO, optimizing your business’ web presence for local search is central to any comprehensive marketing strategy, the goal being to be able to appear in the top results of a local web search query. Local SEO is part of classic search engine optimization, but has gained more and more importance over time.
Why is it important to focus on Local SEO for your local business?
As its name indicates, Local SEO positioning does not cover the entire digital environment, but rather a small geographic sector of the Internet and its users. Thus, it encompasses those potential clients who are closest to your physical business, so that you earn a lot more visibility in your immediate vicinity as you continue to grow as a company.
Without Local SEO, your local business will struggle to reach new potential customers. When you cannot be found in the digital world, often you do not exist.
Just think about it – how would you order a pizza today? You probably performed – you guessed it – a local search, whether it was via a traditional search engine like Google, or a more niche search engine specifically for restaurants like UberEats or DoorDash.
And, you likely did not even bother finding pizza parlors which did not appear in your search query results – the top 3 results already looked delicious!
Now, replace pizza with any other type of local business – barber shop, real estate agent, personal trainer, detailer, gym… you get the point! These types of businesses generally depend on the attention of a very local audience.
It could be said then that good Local SEO positioning is needed so that:
- You competitively capture the search traffic of users who are very close to your business.
- You increase sales of your product or service offers, driving growth for your company.
- You effectively facilitate communication between company and customer, targeting the latter who are closer to you to generate greater trust.
- Better the relevance of your digital domain, which will give you a greater advantage when using a general SEO strategy.
Local SEO is important for local businesses, this being one of the first items that any company should invest in to have greater importance and sustenance in the future.
How to improve the local SEO positioning of your company
There are many actions you may take to improve the local SEO positioning of your company. If you’re a bit lost on the subject, you can start with the following:
- Define perfectly what would be your company name, business categories, address and telephone number or other contact information. Ensure this is consistent on all social media platforms and search engines. This is the basis of any Local SEO strategy and therefore, little can be done without it.
- Use tools for Local SEO such as Google My Business. With it, you can manage contact information, geographic location, hours and other content that is relevant to your customers or local users. The idea is to put you on the map!
- Encourage reviews, comments or opinions of your product or service on Google. Since this search engine is the most used worldwide, it is a good idea to procure a good image within it, which is done by inviting customers to comment on your business.
With a little effort and dedication to work, local SEO positioning can pay off in a short period of time, causing the traffic of users who enter your small business website to increase dramatically which, as a consequence, will drive growth for your business on the Internet.