Local SEO: Why Is Local Search Important

Local SEO

How many times have you Googled ‘pizza delivery’, only to find a list of search results detailing pizza restaurants in towns you haven’t even heard of? Let me guess… Never. That’s because even when you search for a term that doesn’t include the words ‘near me’ or the name of your current location, search engines are smart enough to be able to figure out that you’re looking for a local service and provide you with a selection of relevant options.

If you have a physical shop that can be visited, then local SEO is what’s going to help you get found in organic searches by potential local customers.

How Important is Local SEO?

Some of the statistics regarding local online searches are staggering. It’s reported by Think with Google that 76% of people who search for something local on their mobile will visit a store within a day, while 48% of bookings are happening once travellers arrive at their destination (which also fits into local searches category).

This tells us how essential it is to the success of local businesses that they feature in local online search results.

And the best way to achieve this?

Local SEO.

How to Get Found ‘Near Me’?

Search engines use ‘spiders’ to crawl web pages, indexing them in their online catalogue as they go. The spiders move from one page to the next using the links they find on each page, and rate them based on their content, authority, and several other factors.

Using signals, such as social media profiles, reviews, and links, search engines determine which results are nearby and relevant to the user’s search request. If you want your business to get found in local searches, you’ll need to implement local SEO tactics.

This includes:

Accurate Contact Details

This might seem like a no-brainer, but it’s alarming the amount of businesses who have incorrect contact details listed online.

On your business website, ensure the name, address, and phone number of your business are accurate (also known as NAP).

You should also check the contact details on any of your social media profiles because search engines cross-reference these types of details when performing searches, and a discrepancy could cause your business to be left out of local search results.

Google My Business - NAP Concept
Ensure that your NAP (Name, Address, and Phone number) is consistent across online directories and social media networks. Use the same format for your NAP on platforms like Yelp, Trustpilot, etc.

One of the main things businesses do wrong when it comes to local SEO is displaying their contact details as an image. Since search engines cannot read images, this renders the information completely useless as far as SEO goes.

Be sure to include the contact details of your business on a ‘contact us’ page on your website, and, if possible in the footer of each page on your site. Adding contact details is useful not only for your visitors but also for search engines, as it contributes to the transparency of information.

Active Social Media Profiles

Social media content goes a long way to determining authority and relevance for search engines, so an active social media profile can help boost your local search rankings.

Encourage followers of your social media profiles to like and share your page, and engage with followers by commenting on posts or responding to queries and reviews.

Review Responses

Local SEO Reviews Screenshot - SERPs

Responding to reviews is a really good way to build online authenticity and improve your search rankings in your local area, but there’s a trick to this.

If someone reviews your business or one of your products in an online directory or via one of your social media profiles, you should respond in a way that includes your location and your business name. For example, rather than simply ‘Thanks for your review of our new pizza recipe’, try ‘Thank you for reviewing the new vegetarian special pizza recipe at our Main Street, Lincoln store. Much appreciated, from the Pizza Shop’.

Create a Google Business Profile

Setting up a Google Business Profile is one of the best ways you can ensure you are featured in relevant local search results, and the best news is that this is easy and free to do.

Head to google.com/business to register for an account, and be sure to verify it. You can encourage customers to share your profile, and you can also post information and photos to build authority and help customers find you.

Customers can leave reviews on the business directory, so be sure to follow these up with comments as detailed above.

Expand Your Website

For businesses that have more than one location, be sure to create a new local landing page for each location on your website.

Each location page serves as the landing page for local customers in that area, and each page also serves as an opportunity to be indexed by search engines.

The more relevant pages you have on your website, the greater the chances are that you’ll rank highly in local search results.

Optimise HTML Tags

HTML tags are useful for search engines to determine what your content is about, but they are also used by search engines to show users who you are and what you do. Try to be specific about your business and your location in HTML tags to increase your chances of being found in ‘near me’ online searches.

SERPs screenshot - Meta title and description illustration

Your title tag is typically used as the clickable title link in search engine results that will direct a user to your website. If you’re focusing on attracting local customers, the title tag ‘Fresh Pizza Delivered in Lincoln’ is going to attract more click-throughs than ‘Most Delicious Pizza from Family Recipe’.

Including details such as price offers and current deals in your meta description tag is another way you can convert browsers into customers and up your local SEO game.

To Sum Things Up

Local SEO is critical to the success of businesses that rely on local customers.

Even having a physical shop front that can attract passing traffic is no longer going to guarantee business in an age where most people turn to the internet for their information. Customers want to be able to get your number or contact details online at the drop of a hat.

They want to browse your menu, view your services, or check out your price list. And, in order to do any of those things, they first need to find you online. Local SEO can make or break a local business, so take care to formulate a tried and tested strategy that works.

For help, feel free to reach out.

Karli Edmondson-Matthews
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