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Although globalization has significantly changed the market, many companies are starting to build their success by selling to local customers. The yellow pages may have once been a business necessity, but online search engines have taken over. Therefore, local search engine optimization (SEO) has become one of the most important keys to business success, regardless of location or business scale.
What is Local SEO?
Search engine optimization has become an integral part of marketing for businesses that rely on website traffic. Optimizing content from search engines like Google helps your website rank high in search results, increasing the likelihood that consumers will visit your site and interact with your brand.
Local SEO is simply a strategy of SEO aimed at improving search results in a specific geographic area. If your business relies on online and offline customers within a specific geographic area, local SEO can make the difference between surviving and thriving business.
Related: Struggling with Local Search? Here’s what your local SEO strategy needs to compete in 2022.
The Value of Local SEO
Only Google handles an impressive 8 billion seeks every day, but more importantly, almost 50% of all Google searches are performed by people looking for local products and services. If you don’t have a local SEO strategy for your business, you’re missing out on valuable online traffic. Local business owners simply cannot ignore an opportunity of this magnitude.
Local SEO is important for online businesses and those looking to attract foot traffic. A few decades ago, consumers may have searched for local businesses in the yellow pages or on the map. Today, they use search engines to find contact details, location, opening hours, and other details about a business.
Before the Covid-19 pandemic, about one in two searches for businesses “near me” led to a store visit. If the search was performed on a mobile device, the numbers were even more convincing. almost 90% of those inquiries were followed within a day by a phone call or a visit to the company.
Any business that depends on local clients cannot afford to lose the opportunities that local SEO can provide.
Related: The 7 Downsides Local Businesses Face Online (and How to Beat Them)
Use local SEO and partner with Google to improve rankings
Marketers and business owners have a variety of options to increase their visibility through local SEO. Does your brand want to improve rankings or improve conversions and sales?
It’s fair to say that conversions are more important than rankings, but if the company isn’t listed on the first page of results, conversions will naturally be low. For most companies, rankings and conversions are closely linked.
Improving local SEO results starts with improvements in: relevance, distance and familiarity. These are the three criteria that Google’s algorithm uses to determine local search results. from your company Google Business Profile also needs to be updated to attract more local customers.
Relevance is the measure of accuracy in the match between your company and the online search. The search engine tries to determine if your company offers what the user is looking for. Providing clear and complete information about your website and company profile is critical to meeting these criteria and improving your relevance.
Proximity is how close your business is to the exact location of the seeker. If a user doesn’t provide a specific location in their search, Google will use their location based on their IP address to prioritize nearby listings. Adding the “near me” spec to a query produces similar results. To be listed in those listings, your business needs to optimize the location information on its website and Google listings.
Prominence is Google’s term to describe how well known a company is both online and offline. The search engine determines your exposure based on the offline information it has about a company and through online resources, such as reviews and website popularity. Increasing the number of quality reviews for your business improves reviews. Interacting and responding to online reviews also increases your exposure.
Algorithms tend to change regularly and without notice. Like any SEO activity, successful local SEO depends on consistent efforts. Many businesses benefit from expert support to manage their local SEO.
Related: Why Local SEO Is About to Become Even More Important
The Impact of Covid-19 on Local SEO Practices
The Covid-19 pandemic has changed almost every aspect of consumers’ lives. It certainly changed shopping behavior as lockdowns and movement restrictions became the norm. At this point, it is too early to determine whether long-term consumption habits have been affected by the pandemic.
During 2020 and 2021, the online search for products and services increased, partly out of necessity. Consumers needed online alternatives to meet their needs. At this point, the evidence supports both the continued popularity of online consumerism and a growing demand for in-person shopping experiences.
One fact that is not up for debate is the incredible hardships the pandemic has caused many small businesses. Many faced closures, layoffs of staff and loss of customers. Well thought-out and well-managed marketing is essential for a successful relaunch. A good local SEO can make all the difference in this reboot.
Local SEO is one of the most cost-effective ways to increase visibility to a key audience in a short period of time. It may seem like a small part of SEO, but given the sheer volume of searches with local intent, business owners and marketers should consider it a priority.
Search engines are the new yellow pages – with much more potential to transform the future of small businesses.
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