As a small business owner, you may be wondering what the benefits of local SEO are.
SEO is a powerful digital marketing practice, but is local SEO worth it?
In this article, we’ll share key benefits of local SEO, explain what it is, and show you an easy way to get started today.
In This Article
- How effective is local SEO?
- How Does Local Search Work?
- Resources on Local SEO
- What’s Local SEO?
- Benefits of Local SEO
- 1. Benefit from the Hyper-Local Shopping Trend
- 2. Raise the Online Profile of Your Business
- 3. Improve Your Rankings
- 4. Gain Trust and Customers with Google Reviews
- 5. Reach Customers at Every Stage
- 6. Grow Your Reputation, Grow Your Sales
- 7. Create Lucrative Referral Partnerships
- 8. Increase Brand Awareness
- 9. Get Qualified Leads
- 10. Improve Conversion Rates
- 11. Increase Average Review Ratings, Increase Revenue
- 12. Broadcast and Establish Your Expertise
- How to Launch Your Local SEO Strategy Today
How Does Local Search Work?
When people search for services or local businesses, like plumbers, restaurants, or grocery stores, Google returns local search results. These are listings that match the searcher’s geographic area.
Google estimates the user’s location using several sources, including their IP address.
Here’s an example of search results for “thai restaurants.”
We see 3 options displayed prominently next to a map.
Notice the search filters at the top for Ratings, Price, and Hours.
Toggling these filters will deliver different results.
This display is called the Local Pack.
Welcome to the Local Pack
As you noticed, there are only 3 businesses featured at the left of the Local Pack. But when you filter or click on the Local Pack, a larger display opens with a scrollable list of businesses at the left.
The goal of Google’s Local Pack is to provide useful results, keeping in mind the searcher’s location and the quality of the businesses.
Why some businesses are listed higher than others may seem mysterious. In some cases, the top ones have more total reviews, but not in all cases. In our example, we didn’t need to scroll far to find a few Thai restaurants with nearly perfect review averages (4.9), but they weren’t listed at the top.
Many consumers will consult the map at right, though, and choose a highly-rated restaurant based on which one is closest to them.
Indeed, the searcher has significant control over what displays. For example, if we zoom in on the map, to a smaller area of Boston, the listings at the left change.
Local SEO is crucial to get ranked in the Local Pack.
While competition is tough, particularly for urban locations, there are simple steps you can take to show up and to give yourself an advantage.
What’s Local SEO?
Local SEO is a process of optimizing your business’s online presence so that it builds trust and helps your products and services be found online.
Many people don’t realize that local SEO goes beyond your website. For example, getting listed in local directories sends Google a trust signal that can boost your rankings.
So do positive mentions on trusted third-party websites like industry associations and chambers of commerce.
Reviews, then Revenue
A recent study shows that 98% of consumers read online reviews of local businesses.
These reviews, whether on Google, Yelp, or another site, help establish your online reputation.
As we’ll see, customer reviews have also been found to impact revenue and search engine rankings directly.
Local businesses can also benefit from getting involved in their local communities. Creating, sponsoring, or promoting community events can help raise your local profile.
With community involvement, you’ll discover opportunities to get online mentions and backlinks. These can send positive signals to Google.
Now, let’s dive into some compelling local SEO benefits.
Benefits of Local SEO
The benefits of local SEO are numerous. Here are a dozen to consider.
1. Benefit from the Hyper-Local Shopping Trend
The COVID-19 pandemic accelerated the preference of consumers to buy from and support local businesses. And the trend is not reversing, according to Think With Google.
This trend, called “localism” or “hyper-local shopping,” includes a preference for brands that express local pride and understand local culture.
SEO-optimized websites that publish high-quality content on local topics will be positioned to benefit from this trend.
2. Raise the Online Profile of Your Business
Some 87% of local searchers use Google to “evaluate local businesses,” according to research from BrightLocal.com.
By getting listed in business directories and Google Maps and setting up your free Google Business Profile, you make it easy for consumers to find and visit your business.
3. Improve Your Rankings
Business directory listings help Google gain confidence in your business. For search engines, this often results in improved rankings.
As your rankings improve, traffic, conversions, and sales follow.
Business directory listings are sometimes called business listings or citations.
4. Gain Trust and Customers with Google Reviews
Google reviews of local businesses display prominently in search results. Positive reviews give locals a reason to try your products and services.
Some 76% of consumers say they “regularly read” Google reviews, while Facebook reviews have a declining impact, according to BrightLocal’s research.
Soliciting Google reviews from customers is an easy way to boost your online visibility and attract more customers.
5. Reach Customers at Every Stage
SEO, including local SEO, is one of the few marketing practices effective in reaching your target audience at any funnel stage. By “funnel,” we mean the consideration stages a prospect goes through.
- Becoming aware of your business for the first time
- Thinking about your products and services
- Deciding to buy from you
- Becoming a loyal, repeat customer.
6. Grow Your Reputation, Grow Your Sales
Google reviews, combined with a strong online presence, can generate trust in your business and attract qualified prospects.
In addition, as you use local SEO to attract more people to your site, low-cost tools like TrustPulse can provide instant social proof, boosting conversions and sales.
7. Create Lucrative Referral Partnerships
A strong, professional online presence puts you in an ideal position to create referral partnerships with other businesses.
In this type of partnership, you solicit referrals from businesses that are already serving your target audience. This greatly lowers the cost of customer acquisition.
For example, if you have a lawn care and snowplowing business, you might target real estate agents for referrals. If you offer revenue-based business financing (rather than credit-based financing), you might target bank loan officers or CPAs.
Those you invite to consider a partnership will review your business’s online presence. Be ready to make a great first impression.
8. Increase Brand Awareness
An optimized website, combined with business directory listings, reviews, and community involvement, will help raise awareness of your business and its offerings.
In addition, social media profiles, chamber of commerce listings, and industry association memberships can enlarge your online profile further.
9. Get Qualified Leads
Using good keyword research, you can act strategically, creating content designed to attract your target audience at the consideration and buying stage.
By contrast, with the exception of YouTube, social media attracts “top of the funnel” browsers with no intent other than to pass time or socialize.
For this reason, newsfeed-based social media platforms can contribute to awareness (if used well), but SEO will get you awareness, leads, and conversions.
10. Improve Conversion Rates
By learning how to do keyword research, you can unseat competitors in rankings and attract people in your target audience who are ready to buy.
A well-optimized site is also primed to benefit from DIY conversion tools like OptinMonster.
11. Increase Average Review Ratings, Increase Revenue
Continuing to solicit online reviews periodically and focusing on increasing your review average may seem tedious, but it works.
Consider: a study from Harvard University found that a 1-star improvement in the Yelp average rating of a restaurant led to a 5%-9% revenue increase for that restaurant.
Similarly, SaaS companies focus on increasing their average ratings for the same reason: because they know it’s good for business.
We do this, too, and it’s part of our growth playbook.
12. Broadcast and Establish Your Expertise
As you build your online presence, you can use SEO-optimized content strategically to broadcast your expertise to your target audience.
Whether you’re publishing on your site or other websites, smart use of targeted keywords can cause your expertise to gel as thought leadership in your niche.
How to Launch Your Local SEO Strategy Today
If these benefits of local SEO have whetted your appetite, the good news is it’s easy to get started.
Here’s a short list of immediate actions you can take today to launch your local SEO strategy.
Download the All in One SEO (AIOSEO) Plugin
For WordPress site owners, we recommend that you download and install the All in One SEO (AIOSEO) plugin.
This plugin makes technical SEO tasks easy for beginners.
And you can set up your local SEO basics in less than 1 hour.
- For single-location businesses, follow these instructions.
- For multiple-location businesses, follow these instructions.
All in One SEO (AIOSEO) is an established plugin with thousands of 5-star ratings on WordPress.org. Additionally, it’s currently used by over 3 million sites.
As you’ll soon see, AIOSEO compounds your SEO efforts by automating analysis of your site and providing specific steps for boosting your rankings.
Run a Site Audit
After you install All in One SEO (AIOSEO), the plugin will automatically create a SEO Analysis of your home page.
To view this, go to AIOSEO » SEO Analysis in your WordPress admin bar.
You’ll see your site score, calculated out of 100.
And beneath that is a Complete SEO Checklist. Here you’ll find items sorted by:
- Important issues (in red)
- Recommended improvements
- Good results
Click on an “Important issue” or “Recommended Improvement” to get instructions for improving your SEO.
Create a Free Google Business Profile
Your Google Business Profile will feature prominently in search results for your business, in the Local Pack, and in Google Map searches.
- Take an hour or so to make it look appealing: add colorful images.
- Add all relevant business information.
- Choose your business category carefully: this will affect what types of search queries your business shows up in.
Keep in mind that if you don’t have a physical location that receives customers, but you do make in-person contact with them, you can still set up a profile. Simply omit the address.
Google Business Profile used to be called Google My Business (or GMB for short).
Citations: Get Listed in Business Directories
“Prominence” is one of Google’s local ranking factors and directories play a factor here.
The search engine’s algorithms weigh “information that Google has about a business, from across the web, like links, articles, and directories.”
Getting listed in online business directories is simple.
Follow our instructions here to get your business vetted by data aggregators and to get it listed in business directories.
This costs very little and has been proven to impact local SEO.
Business directory listings are also called “local listings.”
Q&A on Local SEO Benefits
Now that you know some of the chief benefits of local SEO, and how to get started, you may have some remaining questions.
We’ve answered some common ones below. If you have a different question, please share it in the comments below this post.
What is NAP in Local SEO?
NAP stands for business Name, Address, Phone number. It’s an acronym used by marketers to represent all your business contact information, including email addresses and website URL.
In local SEO it’s important that your NAP is consistent across the internet. This helps Google have confidence that it has the correct data to show searchers, whether they are using Google Maps or doing mobile or desktop searches.
Learn more about NAP here.
Should you buy SEO services?
Whether or not you should buy local SEO services depends on many factors. Vetting SEO professionals and pitches requires at least a basic knowledge of SEO. This knowledge can protect you from SEO scams and from being taken advantage of by unethical marketers.
How effective is local SEO?
Done well, local SEO can help prospects discover your brand, explore your offerings, and choose your products or services.
With tools like Google Business Profile and Google Maps, prospects can order, call, book, and buy directly from search results pages.
How important are Google Reviews?
Because Google Reviews function as a type of word-of-mouth marketing, asking for reviews and responding to them can help generate trust and boost rankings quickly.
Research by BrightLocal shows that Google is the most trusted review platform, the majority of local shoppers read reviews, and they use them to decide which local business to visit.
Learn how to manage Google Reviews for improved SEO.
What factors affect local SEO rankings?
Factors that affect local SEO rankings include:
- Optimized Google Business Profile
- Consistent NAP
- Total number of Google Reviews and rating average
- Local SEO citations
- Optimized website
Resources on Local SEO
These resources will help you experience the benefits of local SEO and achieve business growth and competitive edge.
- How to Use a Google Business Profile to Improve Local SEO
- How to Manage Google Reviews for Improved SEO (Small Business Guide)
- What is NAP in SEO? (Plus: Business Directory Listings Tips)
- How to Get Local SEO Citations and Business Directory Listings
- What are Google Local Services Ads for Small Business?
- What is the Google Guaranteed Badge for Local Businesses?
- How to Add Local Business Schema in WordPress
- Local Business SEO for a Single Location
- Local Business SEO for Multiple Locations
- Setting up Google Maps for Local SEO
- SEO for Beginners: A WordPress Guide
- Best SEO Tools for Small Business
- What are SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages)?
You’ve learned some of the key benefits of local SEO and how it can help you attract relevant traffic and potential customers. And you’ve learned how to improve your rankings in Google Search. So what’s next?
Check out our article on how to dominate local search and explore Google’s Local Services Ads for small business. These ads are set up on a pay-per-lead basis. For that reason, they can be very effective in growing your local customer base.
And don’t overlook the power of adding internal links to your most important pages. This alone can help those pages rank higher. Learn more in our guide to link building.
Next, subscribe to our YouTube Channel, which regularly publishes how-tos on local search engine optimization. This is a fast way to acquire effective SEO techniques.
And don’t forget to join us on X (Twitter) LinkedIn, or Facebook to stay in the loop.
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