Why does my business need local SEO?  We hear that a lot. Today, consumers search for local information online. This article explains why a local business needs local SEO to attract and convert new customers.

What is Local SEO?

Local SEO is the thing that magically makes your business rank at the top of Google organic search results for your products and services. Organic search results are not the paid ads located at the top of the search results page. Local SEO is the magic that makes your business rank highly on Google Maps on computers and phones. Local SEO (usually) includes optimizing your Google Business Profile and other local directory listings like Yelp, Bing, and others. In a nutshell, local SEO is how you attract and convert your most qualified local prospects online.

Why Does Local SEO Matter?

Consumers that need your services and products are more likely to engage a business close to them. The goal of local SEO is to make your business rank higher in searches that are close to your business. Therefore, local SEO is important to your business because local SEO attracts and converts the people most likely to engage your business. Here are local SEO stats (reference) that make it pretty obvious why you need local SEO.

  • 97% of consumers search online to find a local business
  • Nearly half (46%) of all Google searches are for local information
  • A purchase follows 28 % of all local searches
  • 78% of local mobile searches result in an offline purchase
  • “Near me” mobile searches grew increased by 136% last year
  • 88% of potential customers look for online reviews before choosing local services
  • 86% of customers use Google Maps to find local businesses

What Kind of Businesses Need Local SEO?

Businesses that want to be found by local consumers need to optimize for local SEO. For example, salons, lawyers, contractors, restaurants, insurance brokers, etc. If the proximity of your customers to your business does not matter, then you don’t have to worry about local SEO. In that case, you need organic SEO. Local businesses with lots of competition nearby or in the same city need local SEO. Reputation management is closely tied to local SEO. If customer reviews are essential to your business, then you must optimize for local SEO.

The Two Types of Local Search

In Google eyes, there are two types of local business:

  • Physical Location Businesses – Customers come to your business. You have a physical office that people can visit and get your services and products—examples: medical spa, attorney, insurance broker. (You may also go to your customers or serve them on the phone.)
  • Service Area Businesses – You go to customers. You do not have a physical office that people visit—examples: HVAC, roofers, landscaping, appliance repair.

When Google senses someone is searching for a local business, Google displays a mix of the physical location and service area businesses. However, the physical location of businesses can have an advantage because Google will show the location of their companies on the map, along with a directions button.

Local SEO is Part of an Overall Marketing Strategy

You need local SEO because it is an integral part of the overall marketing strategy for most local businesses. Your complete local marketing strategy must address website design, user experience, content marketing (blogging), reputation management, social media marketing, voice search, email marketing and offline marketing as well. Local SEO, when done right and in harmony with your overall local marketing strategy, can generate high converting leads that increase your sales and profits.

Related: Why Hiring Blog Writers Is Best for Content Marketing

Local SEO Tips for Your Business

Below are essential SEO tactics broken out into tips for all local businesses and then specific tips for businesses with physical locations and businesses that provide services at the customer’s location.

All Local Businesses

  • Optimize your Google My Business (GMB) listing
  • Reviews do help SEO.  Create a system to get reviews on GMB and Yelp and respond to all reviews
  • Display your customer reviews on your website
  • Perform local technical SEO called schema (very techy)
  • Use Content Marketing (i.e., blogging) to emphasize local keywords for city and city regions, attractions, geographical references, landmarks, major commerce zones, etc.

Physical Local Businesses SEO Tips

  • Make your business Name, Address and Phone (NAP) prominently displayed on your website
  • Put hours and phone numbers in very prominent places on your website
  • Include driving directions and maps. Put a directions button on the mobile version of the site.
  • Check the accuracy of your NAP in vital local directories (Yelp, Bing, Facebook)

Service Area Businesses SEO Tips

  • Pay particular attention to your GMB services area settings
  • Put extra emphasis on Facebook, Instagram, Linkedin for local social media marketing
  • Create “neighborhood pages” optimized for smaller city regions where your prospects reside

Conclusion

Local SEO is how you attract and convert new customers to your business online, preliminary via Google search. If you depend on new customers from the local area, then you need local SEO for your business to thrive and grow. This article explained why most companies should have a local SEO strategy, clarified the difference between local SEO for physical location businesses vs. service area businesses, and provided essential tips for optimizing your business for local SEO.