Local SEO And Why It Matters
Local SEO is critical to most businesses with the exception of some eCommerce and national businesses that do not really need to worry about local SEO. In fact, 56% of mobile searches have local intent, and even desktop has a high percentage of local intent searches. Most of the time businesses will have to adjust to the new material that is introduced weekly on the Internet. I say this because we live in a tech world where nothing is ever the same as it was yesterday. There are always new companies being challenged in the keyword department in order to grab the highest spot in the search engine list shown on Google, Bing, or Yahoo.
Citations: Citations, or better known as local listings are one of the cornerstones of effective local SEO, however they are not the only thing you can do to improve your local SEO. To get started you want to claim the top ones like Google Places, Yelp, Bing Business, and the many other top local listing websites. Most of them are free, although some require payment. I personally do not think it is worth paying for any in most cases. On our blog we have compiled a list of many of the top local listing websites to claim your business, so make sure you check that out! Once you have chosen your listings, you want to keep your citations accurate and consistent across each location you have such as the following:
- Hours of Operation
- Phone Number
- Photos and Logo
- Website URL
Moz has a great resource to learn more about Local SEO as well!
Obviously the more local listings you have, the more places you can expect to appear, and in turn gain more traction than your competitors. One thing that is important to remember about making sure that the citations are updated to your company’s most recent data and the information is consistent across the board, is how it can cause more than just confusion to the viewer. If your company’s phone number is one you had used previously, yet it is still listed on Yelp as a point of contact…a potential sale is lost. Do you know how frustrating it is to Google a company and then to try calling their phone to see if they’re open and the automated tape informs you, ” The number you have reached is no longer in service?”
Reviews: Getting reviews on the top local listings sites like Google Places and Yelp can drastically improve your local SEO rankings. Try getting your friends and family or close customers to review you on the major local listing sites. This will give your company a higher chance of getting picked to be the consumers choice just based on word of mouth.
One thing to remember with a review page is that it is important to respond to consumers comments, whether they are positive or negative. Believe it or not it is more important to respond to the more negative reviews in order to justify the complaint. This way future viewers will see that your establishment is frequently involved and willing to do what it takes to succeed with customer satisfaction.
Website: You will want to update your website with location specific keywords, perhaps in your page title, Meta description or even your contact page. It also can’t hurt to have a page dedicated to each physical location with details about that location. For instance the page title “Boston Local SEO Services” would be great if we wanted to rank for Boston local SEO services or even just Boston SEO rather than our more national oriented homepage title. In many industries having a local targeted page title for certain specific web pages or even your homepage can be a good SEO strategy.
Content: You can optimize your website content as well as write local specific blog posts or articles that can enhance your local SEO rankings. A great example are the blog posts we wrote on Boston eCommerce and Boston tech companies that have helped us rank higher for Boston keywords. Some things are just that simple. If you choose to create content that you are passionate about, then it will show in your writing and make it a valuable piece. Especially living in Boston, locals like to read about what is going on in their community. Whether it has to do with the top 10 restaurants of 2016, or local up-and-coming startups, Bostonians like to support their community, which translates to increasing traffic for us companies that make those lists!
Events: Local events are a great way to build up local traction and if you run a local Meetup you can link your business on the event to get some off page local SEO value. Having a Local Meetup enables you to engage with other companies that are interested in your own company. Off page SEO will not only increase your rankings because of the backlink value, but it will grab your company more exposure.
There are also all different types of offline events that can boost your online business. A great way to grab peoples attention to increase the audience attendance is make the event relevant to the local city you’re from. Great examples are fundraisers, holiday/seasonal parties, 5K races or walks, or even educational events. After you and your team have figured out which route you are going to choose to promote your cause or company, you have to promote it.
This is the part of the process that company’s marketing division fall short on. If you host an event and no body shows up, then what was the point? Promotion of an event needs to be done efficiently. The best way to go about this is online marketing. You can reach multiple groups of people all at once, just by the click of a button. Although word of mouth can be powerful, your team needs to recognize their target market and how they are best reached. In most cases, that is online through email, social media, or event hosting pages.
Local Links: There are many local oriented websites that might list or link back to you because you are a local business helping your backlink profile from a local perspective. These are, for the most part, a strategy that help your site in the long term. There are many things that companies can do in order to build up their local link ratings such as hosting a Meetup on a local webpage, or asking a company that you partner with who just catered your event to write a testimonial for you. These are just examples or little steps that your company needs to take in order to grow your network.
Did you know:
Seventy-nine percent (79%) of smartphone owners and eighty-one percent (81%) of tablet owners use their device to search locally. (.comscore)
“Compared to last year, there has been a 25% increase in consumers that look for local information while they are out, away from home or work.” (searchengineland.com)
Surveys from Thrive Analytics’ 2015 Local Search Report show that 55% of consumers have clicked on a mobile ad on their mobile device demonstrating greater acceptance to ads on phones and tablets. AND from those who clicked on the ad… 53% of consumers ended up making a purchase. (searchengineland.com)
These facts are just the tip of the ice burg when it comes to finding out how much local SEO is used behind the scenes. If your company isn’t already taking steps forward toward making sure your local link is used legitimately, I would start finding out.
Start by looking at your own content on your site. This way you are able to make sure that the local businesses around you have some sort of relevance to yours. That way you already have a virtual relationship and are one step closer to say inviting them to your next local Meetup!
If you’re interested in becoming an expert on the importance of local search rankings, check out Moz’s annual released article.
Customer Experience: Being able to connect with your customers is obviously hands down one of the most important things a company needs to be able to implement into their business model. A lot of digital marketers are concerned about the numbers, and the statistics of how many of our keywords are being sourced out. However, sometimes it’s good to step back and look at where those number are coming from. Yes, I am talking about your customers.
In 2011, Oracle conducted a study on the relationship between the consumers and brands, also known as the Customer Experience Impact (CEI). Now although I had mentioned to shy away from the statistics in order to create a more personal customer experience, these ones are somewhat important:
• 86 percent of consumers will pay more for a better customer experience.
• 89 percent of consumers began doing business with a competitor following a poor customer experience.
• 79 percent of consumers who shared complaints about poor customer experience online had their complaints ignored.
As a local smaller company, looking at these statistics are important. For larger, more developed and well known companies, customer service isn’t always one of the first priorities. But SEO has a big role when it comes to having a positive customer experience and smaller companies tend to do very well in this category. Good reviews, communication, and price will overcome any non-responsive, uncaring companies that are in your competitive industry.