Local SEO is the premise of getting your business ranking and found for keywords in a geographic area. This type of strategy can help any business with a physical location, or those operating within a specific area, reach their target audience. As with all strains of SEO, these activities aim to increase brand visibility online, thereby gaining more site traffic. Over the past few years, consumer search trends have shifted, with people looking to gain more local knowledge. In fact, “Near me” or “Close by” type searches have grown by more than 900% over two years, proving that there is no better time to consider your local visibility and brand reputation.
The benefits of a digital presence will extend to offline businesses. Consumer search data shows that users are increasingly using online to research and locate their products and services as part of the buying journey, even if that journey ends in a physical store.
"Searches for “shopping near me” have grown over 200% in the past two years."
This is especially true for the hospitality industry, a sector that has been greatly challenged during the pandemic. The last four years have seen an increase of 406% in searches for "Restaurants near me".
From cafes to recruiters, the "Near me" search term opens a range of SEO optimisation opportunities. If you’ve never considered local SEO before, you’re missing a valuable opportunity to build local visibility and customers.
Why is local SEO important to the visibility of my brand?
Did you know that 88% of consumers who conduct a local search on their phone, visit or call a store within a day?
With nearly 46% of all Google searches seeking local information, targeting these active users through Local SEO should be a priority for all businesses, but exactly how does better visibility turn into sales?
It’s simple; improving your visibility not only makes it easier for potential customers to find you but will also improve your brand reputation. Brand touchpoints such as your Google My Business Profile, as well as external review providers such as Tripadvisor, all contribute towards your brand experience. In short, Local SEO leads to more online traffic which means more interest and conversions both off and online.
As we are bound to our houses once again, with travel restrictions up to and down the country, it’s no wonder that local SEO is now more important than ever. In the current Covid climate, 66% of shoppers said they would shop more at local small businesses in reaction to the pandemic, meaning there’s never been a more important time to consider your visibility locally. By optimizing your site for local search, you not only increase your brands' traffic but create a more targeted audience and more interest for relevant search terms, improving the quality of your site visitors and potential leads.
Google My Business is a great tool that helps you enhance your visibility and reputation. Optimization of your profile can lead to enhanced Google Maps visibility and local map pack listings, whilst reputation management builds trust in your business which can drive increased traffic and generate more sales.
“An optimised Google My Business profile allows small local businesses to take up valuable real estate, coming above giants like TripAdvisor in the SERPs.”
- Stephanie, Client Strategy Manager
How can I optimise my website for local SEO?
There are several steps you can take to improve your online, local presence, whether this is on your own or with the support of a digital agency.
1. First and foremost, on-page and off-page address details must be the same, regardless of where a user tries to find information about your business.
“All of your "owned" assets, such as Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Directories such as Yell, Yelp, Thomson Local, YouTube, Local Chamber of Commerce, any website where you've had to create a profile for your business, it's important that all of these locations all tie to the same location as your website.”
- Nathan, SEO Manager
2. Let people know where you are! 72% of consumers that did a local search, visited a store within 5 miles, if they don’t know where to find you, you could be missing out on the 78% of local searches that start on mobile and result in an offline sale.
“Somewhere on the website, either in the footer bar, contact us page or about us page, it's highly recommended to provide details about your company's office locations, whether that be one or multiple spread around the world.”
- Nathan, SEO Manager
We've spoken before about transparency and making sure your business information is online for your consumers to see, especially during this time of uncertainty, so making sure that your local network can find and learn about you is crucial.
3. Make the most of Google My Business. This is the window into your business, and quite often a customer’s first impression. Regardless of whether you have one or multiple offices, GMB is a free to use tool which enables you to build out your office locations relatively quickly. Once the verification process is complete, you can log-in and manage your business information to keep all of your information up to date for the target audience.
“This can take shape in terms of updating your business information, adding new images to your business storefront, updating the open hours, how many days the business is open among many more.”
- Nathan, SEO Manager
4. List your business on Apple Maps Connect. Like Google Maps, Apple also want to help you boost your company profile online and maximise search results. With local business listings, Apple Maps Connect, takes a range of company information to display as part of a free self-service listing. A quick, simple way to advertise your business online, Apple offers huge benefits for business owners, helping to drive more customers locally through the app.
How can I track the value of my Google My Business page?
It's possible to accurately track the clicks through to your website from Google My Business. You can then see how many clicked to call or email you, or how these users engaged with your website in Google Analytics.
Log into your GMB account and edit your company information and in the URL section, add this code in after the URL.
This will tell you the exact number of people who have gained access to your website via Google My Business clicks.
As consumers focus their attention on shopping local and starting their buying journey online, now is the time for businesses to invest in their online presence. Optimise the information that they share with their customers via their website and other digital assets, to drive traffic in-store and increase sales. Learn more about our SEO services or let the results speak for themselves, visit our case studies to discover more of our success stories.
The graph below is easily accessible from your GMB account. It provides direct insight into user actions from your profile; site visits, direction requests and contact options. The below example shows an increase in site visits to location-specific training pages we created for RE:NEW Beauty. When we started working on this account, RE:NEW had no visibility for their local training centres. Over time we gained more traffic which in turn led to more training bookings and enquiries. By focussing on local keywords, we can gain visibility from a local SEO level and increase the exposure of the brand at a targeted region perspective.
As a full-service digital agency, we have the skills in-house to help you optimise your local SEO and appear higher in local search results. When working with our SEO team, there are several areas they will focus on;
1) Keyword Research
2) Google My Business creation & optimisation
3) Building online citation links
4) Structured data mark-up
For more expert advice on how to optimise your business and website for local search, get in touch with our team today. With experience supporting many different industries and businesses with their SEO activities, our team are on hand to give you the guidance needed to optimise your brand. Head to our service page to learn more about SEO.