Through your efforts to get the most out of your online marketing strategy you may have heard the term “Local SEO” used quite a bit. With internet searches becoming more and more common being on top of local SEO is an absolute must. Without properly implementing the right local search strategies, competitors will have a leading edge over you and your business.

So, what really is local SEO?

Each day thousands of users search for businesses local to them, in fact, 64% of smart phone users use their phone specifically to use search engines. Implementing local SEO practices will help your business stand out in the search results. Google uses local ranking factors such as the business name, business details and customer reviews to propel your business to the top of the local search results. Search engines basically do this by scraping results from local business directories, checking for uniformity across all platforms.

This form of SEO targets potential customers who are looking for a service in your area and want to either buy or use your products/services. Optimising your local advertising plan isn’t just a way to promote your website. While it does increase sales through your website it is also a fantastic way to increase foot traffic to your bricks and mortar store.

Why do I need to be across local search?

With the constant increase in smartphones, tablets and other gadgets connected to the internet, customers have the ability to search at their fingertips wherever they go. It may interest you to know that majority of searches start with the user looking for a product or service and not a particular business. This makes it more important than ever to ensure your business is found as close to the top of the search results as possible.

With Google serving up location-based search results, 70% of people searching are close to services they are searching for. This means there is huge potential for you to maximise your local SEO efforts. With Google regularly providing users location based results you can take advantage of an ever-increasing mobile audience.

Ensuring that there is consistency and accuracy among all of your business listings will help you to get to where you want to be. Ignore this rule and you will find you can never get as high up the rankings as you would like. Think of it as trying to find a location in a GPS, without the accurate information how will your GPS be able to pick up the location that you want to go?

Local SEO will give you the opportunity to connect and engage with your potential customers. Customers go online in search of answers and that is where you need to become an authority, a brand that is ready and willing to help educate and inform. This is a step that many business owners miss but something Google doesn’t. Search engines do a great job of weeding out businesses who aren’t committed and willing to help their customers and those that do reap the rewards.

Where do I start?

Google MyBusiness is mandatory

Setting up your Google MyBusiness page is the first place you should start. Being a Google-owned platform you can ensure that using this product will work to your advantage. Google notices businesses who give clear details to search users, it also favours business’ who gather customer reviews. For these efforts, Google will reward you with higher organic search rankings and more visibility. Also, keep in mind that 43% of users are searching for a business or service they want to use in the next few days or weeks. Ensure that all details provided such as address, phone number and opening hours match your website for improved results.

Business NAP Consistency

As previously mentioned, consistency is key. Ensure that all of your business listings are uniform and correct, this applies to your own website and listings elsewhere. Search engines will pick up on any misspellings and inaccuracies. If you know of any listings that could be incorrect go back and fix them up, in the long run, it will make a difference.

Forge quality business relationships

Get out there and start making relationships. Providing relevant and sound advice to other websites that apply to your niche will help establish you as an authoritative figure. Optimising content pages for local relevancy will move you up the search rankings. Don’t forget to include any local events or shows that you may be attending, if it’s local then it’s relevant.

Acquire customer reviews

Encourage your customers to leave reviews of your products and services. This will help future customers get a good idea of how good the customer experience was as told by other locals. Don’t be afraid to engage either, this is your chance to thank your customers of their review and loyalty to your brand. Faced with a negative review? Don’t panic, while negative reviews are always a bit distressing it is a great opportunity for your business to rectify any problems. This turns into a positive as potential buyers can see you do work with your clients and customers to help resolve any issues. 31% of users consider 2 businesses before making their final decision, get your brand out there and engage to help make the decision easier!

Taking the time to implement an ongoing local SEO strategy that you can commit to and follow through with will help you see a positive change in local search results. Once your results start compounding you will see all of your hard work pay off.

If you need help planning and implementing a local SEO strategy or would like to know more about local SEO, we can help! Our team of experts are always on hand to answer any questions you have, just give us a call or get in touch here.