Local SEO – do I need it? Is it important?

In short, yes, everyone needs to be doing local SEO (search engine optimisation). 

Since Google updated their local algorithm over 18 months ago, local search is still a big part of what happens on Google and other engines like, Bing & Yahoo.

In terms of achieving top returns from this area of digital marketing, naturally there is a cost. However some of the elements within it are FREE.

The key element to local SEO is your Google My Business listing.  This is free to set up, so if you don’t have one – get one, literally go and do it now!

What is Local SEO?

Local SEO is simply the practice of optimizing a website in order to increase traffic, leads and brand awareness from local search. Local search is determined by where a user is searching from (their location). And where they are searching for ie – plumber in Sheffield

In order to appear in more searches locally it is important that certain key factors are worked on to improve your local SEO.  Things such as finding local keywords, optimising your Google My Business profile and building “NAP” listings or citations.

What is a “NAP” listing? It stands for Name (Business Name) Address & phone Number.  These three elements are essential for search engines (particularly Google) to recognize who you/your business is and so it can then decide that your information is valid and you are a trustworthy business to show in these local searches

Why is Local SEO Important?

Local SEO is important for all businesses but particularly those that operate on a local basis or a specific geographical area.

As for the why, well there is a massive trend towards local search on the internet right now.

Here are a few fascinating statistics to highlight just how big SEO is for local businesses.

46% of all searches in Google have “local intent” (Search Engine Roundtable).

“Near me” searches have grown 150% faster than traditional, local-based searches (Google).

29% of all Google SERPs contain a local pack in the results (RankRanger).

74% of consumers that search for something or somewhere local on their phone they get in touch or visit a place that day (Google).

So it’s clear that local searches make up a huge chunk of the SEO world.

And if you can get your local business in some of these searches, there’s a good chance they’ll be contacting or visiting you and become customers!

How Does Local SEO Work?

Local SEO effectively works like “normal” Google search does.

When someone does a search, Google scans through its index to provide the best results for that person’s query.

What makes Local SEO unique is that Google uses a different set of ranking factors to rank the local search results.

This is important to understand as this can have a positive effect on your organic rankings on the (SERP’s) but also your listing in the Google map pack section

In fact, local SEO has a set of unique ranking signals, including:

  • The location that the person is searching from

This is only important when someone does a “near me” search

  • NAP citations

Really important factor.  Having correct information across the internet is vital to give Google and other search engines the trust to show your information.  If your information is not correct this will have a negative impact

  • Presence of Google My Business listing

Most important! Everyone needs a Google My Business listing.  They are free so go ahead and get this set up

  • Keywords used in Google My Business profile

Once you have your Google My Business profile set up, it is important that you then fill the profile with relevant keywords, which can then influence where your listing will be seen.

  • Sentiment of online reviews

Naturally if you have all bad reviews, you are going to struggle to convince anyone to choose your business, let alone a search engine!  Most businesses have positive reviews and an occasional bad one.  Don’t worry too much about the bad one, respond to it, reach out the person and show you are dealing with it even if you think it is not a valid review.  By responding, send a positive message to the search engine and also to potential customers checking out your reviews.

  • Keywords used in online reviews

The words used in reviews are also a factor.  So respond to the positive reviews too.  Your customers will write something nice but it might not have any SEO value.  By responding to reviews gives you the opportunity to put in words or phrases that you want to appear for

  • Number of “check-ins” at that location

If you have a shop, restaurant, café – this is important that you encourage people to check in.  The more popular a location, inevitably, the higher up it will appear in the listings.

Most elements of Local SEO you can manage yourself, it simply comes down to time and patience.  Most people have limited in both and that’s where businesses like mine come in.  We can help get you set up and managed to deliver a relatively quick uplift in your local SEO results and the costs are relatively inexpensive.  If you would like to know more about our products and services click here or to get in touch call us on 01603 339075 or email hello@oldsite.bluespacemedia.co.uk

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