February 21, 2022

What Is Local SEO and Why Is It Important for Local Businesses

If you are a business owner or a budding entrepreneur, chances are you already know about digital marketing and search engine optimization. Yes, SEO is a must-have for businesses to thrive in this competitive digital world. But, while SEO is essential for survival, it cannot alone make you the market leader.
You have to do several other things to command a more dominant position, including local SEO. If you are wondering what local SEO is or how it can help your business, this blog is for you. This blog is a must-read even if you are skeptical about local SEO or are ready to snub it off as another technical mumbo-jumbo.

Defining local SEO

Google My Business profile of VSF Marketing

Before defining local SEO, let’s clearly understand SEO or search engine optimization. In simple words, SEO efforts try to drive maximum web traffic to a site by ranking it higher on search engine result pages. Thus, when a user searches for a particular topic, an SEO-optimized website has a better chance of ranking higher.

SEO is highly beneficial for small businesses, as it helps them attract traffic to their site. Now that we understand what SEO is let’s try and define Local SEO. So simply speaking, local SEO is all about putting geographical location into the functioning of search engine algorithms.

Local SEO is a relatively new form of SEO that has gained traction in recent years. Amongst the different strategies, it uses keywords and links or optimizing Google My Business profile. It also works on link building and geo-tagging through the GMB profile images to build your local search ranks.

So, now that you know a bit about local SEO and how it functions, you must be wondering why you need to care? Well, before talking about the benefits of local SEO, let’s give you some simple stats that illustrate its power.

Statistics That Prove Local SEO is Not a Passing fad

According to Go Gulf, about half (46%) of all Google searches are people looking for local information. Further, Hubspot states that 88% of the people searching are likely to call the store or reach it within a day. Not only that, 97% of people use online searches to know more about local businesses.

And, it is pretty apparent that when people do a local search, they will most likely land on a website that is local SEO optimized and ranks on top. So, by ignoring local SEO, you can risk missing a sizeable portion of local high-value customers.

Further, if you think that local SEO is just a passing trend, you can’t be more wrong. HubSpot states that there has been an increase of 900% in “near me” searches over the past two years. The statistic means that local SEO will become even more critical over the next few years than it is now.

So, big or small businesses cannot afford to ignore local SEO in their digital marketing strategies. It is all the more essential for small businesses. Although the overreaching cry to the companies has been to go global, most Americans still prefer to purchase from local companies.

Intuit found that 55% of US people shop from local businesses. And, it is given that you can increase your chances of making the sell if you have more customers at your store. Further, if you want to have more footfalls, you need to have more people discover you online.

Local SEO can fulfill both of these premises and, therefore, becomes a must-have. Now, you must be wondering about the benefits of local SEO for your business. So, let’s deal with this in the next section.

Benefits of local SEO for your business

Mentioned below are some of the benefits that local SEO can bring to your business

Benefit 1: Brings in more web traffic

By ignoring local SEO and, by extension, local traffic, you end up competing with businesses much larger than you from other parts of the country. This means the search engine will probably relegate you to the third or fourth page. And, unless you are fortunate to find users who have the time to spot you, you will probably be overlooked by most.

In contrast, you can use the local SEO to rank higher and get more people to visit your site and check out your offerings. If you wonder how much of a difference a higher search engine rank would have on the CTR, check out the following graph.

Graph showing effect of search engine rank on CTR

After studying 5 million different searches, Backlinko came up with the following graph, which shows the relationship between page rank and click-through rate. The result unambiguously indicates that the number of site visitors drops drastically with a drop in the page rank.
So, it is clear that you need to rank higher to have more site visits. And local SEO can help you achieve just that by helping you rank higher on search results.

Benefit 2: Increases your competitiveness

Another great benefit of local SEO is that it helps you stay competitive. If a person in your neighborhood does a mobile search for a product you sell, your business will show up if you are using local SEO. But by not using local SEO, you won’t show up in local searches and won’t compete.
So, sans local SEO, you can miss out on a sale even when you have a better product or a lower-priced offering. Additionally, since the consumers shopping on their smartphones have a shorter attention span, you can miss out by not acting fast.

Benefit 3: Helps build trustworthiness

Did you know that according to a study by Bright Local, 87% of online customers check out reviews before purchasing? So, good reviews increase the trustworthiness of your brand. And people will love to give good honest reviews if you offer them great products/ services.
But getting good reviews won’t be possible sans business optimization for local SEO. Local SEO, in contrast, can give you gain more customer reviews. And you can rank higher or search engines by responding to customer reviews. So, if you want to rank higher and build more trust around your product and brands, you mustn’t ignore local SEO.

Benefit 4: Gives more relevant traffic

As said earlier, 88% of local searches are likely to result in a store visit. Thus, by using local SEO to target local customers, you reach out to those who are more likely to call or visit you.

Local SEO improves traffic from various sources

By using a broad range of SEO strategies, you can open a significant number of dead-end visits. Let’s say you have posted an SEO-optimized blog on your site. If you have neglected local SEO, you are more likely to have page visits from all over the world.
But the proportion of these visitors turning into paying customers is slim. Conversely, you can significantly increase the chances of physical store visits by leveraging local SEO. Thus, if you want to increase competitiveness, trustworthiness, and relevant traffic, focus on local SEO.

Benefit 5: Helps you gain repeat customers

Every business owner knows the value of returning customers. Constant contact has found that repeat customers are 52% more likely to convert than a new prospect. This is illustrated in the graph below.
Local SEO helps to gain repeat customers

And, if you are trying to build repeat customers, then local SEO can help. Indeed, another great benefit of local SEO is that it can give you repeat customers.

Some of the customers you will have at your store have traveled long distances to get a particular product. You can capture leads such as these through local SEO. However, once the customer is in your store, the onus is upon you to offer them an unforgettable experience.

A positive experience will compel them to give your business a good rating and recommend it to others. So, one small step in the right direction can offer you not one or two but hundreds of customers and thousands of dollars in sales.

If that sounds music to your ears, do not ignore local SEO in the future.

Benefit 6: Helps build links with local businesses

Let’s face it. Every business faces competition. It is part and parcel of business and capitalism. But local SEO can offer you the advantage of forming alliances with other local companies.

For instance, you might be interested in cross-promoting your products with others in the local area. Or you might wish to create a coordinated marketing campaign that benefits several businesses in your area.

You can achieve these through local google my business listing. By being locally listed, you can ensure that other businesses find you. When another company knows about you, you can get mentioned in their social media posts. Conversely, you can also get referrals from their customers looking for products you sell.

Local Google My Business listing of Florida Main Movers

You can also strengthen this relationship by doing the same thing in exchange. So, local SEO does not only help you compete better, but it also enables you to forge a strong relationship with other businesses.

Benefit 7: Helps build community

Shop local is significant among marketers and residents wanting to support businesses in their area. Buying locally can also help in boosting the local economy.
And local SEO can help in keeping things local. So, if, as a business, you advocate going local, you need to do more than order locally demanded products and remember customer names. You should also ensure that the customers looking for local products know about your business.
By showing up in local searches, you can also gain sponsorship opportunities. And by getting your name on the local sports team’s jersey and undoubtedly help build your brand.

Benefit 8: Helps reduce advertising costs

Local SEO reduces advertising costs

More than 80% of mobile users prefer choosing the nearby option when searching for a particular type of business. So, if you have got the local SEO right, you can easily target this 80% user bracket. That means you can save a lot of money targeting local audiences either through newspaper ads, flyers, or targeted social media ads.
An effective local SEO can give you a high return on investment and is cost-effective in the long run. Besides, it can also build trust for your brand and give you repeat customers. So, if you want to take your business to the next level, you cannot ignore the power of local SEO.

Benefit 9: Connect with customers who are ready to purchase

Many customers prefer to do online research before purchasing a product or service. But, some perform an online search when they are ready to make a purchase.

Research shows that 24% of people will search when ready to spend. That means they already know what they will buy and are just looking at the best nearby shop to make the purchase.

Local SEO allows you to tap into these customers and convert them. Further, you can also expect a visit or a phone call from these customers. So, local SEO can give you access to high-quality local leads.

Benefit 10: Helps get listing in local business directories

Local business listing of VSF Marketing in Tech Directory
With local SEO optimization, you can feature in local business directories people use while searching about local businesses. Getting your name in local business directories can also boost your rankings and business credibility.
You can also get organic traffic through this process. One great way to increase your business visibility is by adding it to Google My Business.

Benefit 11: Get listed in Google’s three-pack

Another potential benefit that you can unlock through local SEO is appearing in Google’s three-pack. Appearing in Google’s 3 pack can be great for any business as it means that you come up in the first three results of local search for a particular keyword.
Example of Google’s three pack showing top three shoe stores in Tampa

Three pack is different from the seven-pack as it presents more information about a particular business. According to the report, most online searches stick to these three top results. Therefore, you can land in this exclusive club and increase your business manifold by perfectly doing local SEO.

Benefit 12: Create a user-friendly site

To get better search engine rankings, you need to offer a better customer experience on your site. For instance, Google explicitly considers the quality of information your site provides as a ranking parameter. This means that your site should be user-friendly and offer all the relevant information required for SEO rankings.

A user-friendly site also attracts more customers, thereby increasing revenue and profitability.

Benefit 13: Helps you keep up with the growth of mobile users

Many people use their desktop or laptop computers to search for local products. However, research shows that the number of people using their mobile for online search has increased rapidly. According to Statista, mobile devices accounted for 54.4% of online traffic in 2021.

Additionally, mobile devices also come with the location feature. This means someone can find you not from your area. With an increase in voice search, users using mobile to surf the internet will further increase.

Local SEO can help you target these mobile-savvy local customer bases and stay ahead of the competition.

Benefit 14: Results are measurable

In the present age of digitalization, data is king. So, businesses can evaluate their digital marketing efforts and take steps to reach the next level by looking at data. Local SEO can collect relevant data to illustrate your business performance and guide you on the appropriate steps to improve further.

Thus, local SEO offers measurable data that you can channel to improve the top and bottom lines. So, now that we have defined local SEO and had a brief discussion about its benefits; let’s look at the businesses likely to benefit most from it.

Businesses that are likely to get most benefits using local SEO

Some of the businesses that are most likely to benefit from local SEO are doctors, lawyers, restaurants, plumbers, dry cleaners, home inspectors, etc. In contrast, particular businesses like e-commerce, online private sellers, etc., are least likely to benefit from local SEO. Connect with a local SEO expert to get further information and avoid confusion.

Concluding remarks

You cannot deny the exceptional benefits that local SEO can offer to your business. It can boost your business profile, improve your search rankings, grow your revenue, etc. But, there are several things that you need to do in excelling with local SEO, and its beyond mere location identification.

Therefore, it is always better to get in touch with an expert if you want to stand out. Several businesses can help you in this respect by offering professional service. Connect with one of them to know more before taking the next step.

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