Small business owners shouldn’t stop looking for ways to see their business grow and attract loyal customers. Local SEO can make that happen. But what is local SEO? And what are its benefits for local businesses? Let’s find out below.
Local SEO is a special form of SEO that has gained popularity over the years, especially among small businesses. It aims to optimize your website for local searches (such as ‘plumber Toronto’ if you’re a Toronto plumber) as well as optimizing your Google My Business (GMB) profile and involves strategies that help identify your business locally more effectively.
With local SEO, you prioritize getting your company on relevant directories in your city, national directories, and ones related to your product/service. It also involves getting backlinks from high quality blogs and websites to improve your local keyword rankings. There are many other factors that go into local seo, but those aren’t covered in this article.
So, what benefits can local businesses achieve from local SEO?
Local SEO helps you find the right customers at the right time. Like any SEO campaign, it aims to increase your search ranking so that anyone searching for your type of services can easily find you. This brings more visitors to your business profile — more visitors mean a greater opportunity to convert them to paying customers.
The numbers support this: a Statista survey reveals that 21% of customers search online to find local businesses. Around 35% of responders say they use the internet for local business searches multiple times a week. Only 1% of them say they don’t search for businesses online. Reaching that 21% customer base carries great benefits for your business.
Local SEO prioritizes more specific search terms. Generic keywords may attract more traffic, but they’re highly competitive and don’t lead to greater conversion. Meanwhile, with local SEO, you target customers that already need your services. In other words, you attract more qualified leads.
More specifically, you attract customers that are in your locality. This is better than ranking on a national level but finding that many customers are in places far from your region. Targeted traffic means better leads, which translates to greater conversion rates.
Connection is everything, especially in business. With local SEO, you’re not only attracting customers but also potential long-term partners. You become aware of other businesses in the locality that may want to collaborate with you on a campaign. Think of sponsorships and joint advertisements and promotions.
As a tangential benefit, you improve your business presence, especially if you partner up with an already popular brand in your area. Customers will see you as another major player and a brand they can trust.
Local SEO is also concerned with achieving a positive brand reputation online. Usually, this is done through PR campaigns and reviews — 77% of consumers regularly read online reviews of local businesses, after all — and building links with local businesses that have a great reputation can help with that.
Traditional marketing and SEO yield results that only last for so long. Local SEO, when done right, yields results that are more consistent and long-lasting. You’ll need to keep your business profile optimized and updated all the time. But once you rank well, you’re more likely to hold that position for a long time since you gain a more loyal customer base.
The more you strengthen your local online presence and brand — becoming a household name is a top goal — the more you’ll gain the attention of local customers using your business. At the same time, you attract new customers that might be looking to switch brands or try new vendors. Ultimately, this leads to greater business growth.
You can’t say you’ve achieved business growth until you’ve seen measurable outcomes. Local SEO results are highly measurable, and the more data you have about your business — along with competitor research — the more power you have over the direction of your growth. Think of site traffic, conversion rates, cost per acquisition, and other KPIs.
Local SEO and analytics tell you how your business is performing, giving you a good understanding of your weaknesses, strengths, threats, and opportunities. You see a fuller picture of your competition, too. Competitor research lets you know what your rivals are doing that benefits them, which you can then use to come up with a better business approach.