Search engine optimization represents one of the most efficient and long-lasting investments into marketing that any business can make. It builds reputation, continues to pull in visitors long after it is performed, and ultimately drives more sales than any other type of marketing could ever hope to sell.
Local SEO, while related to globally focused SEO, provides similar benefits. The difference is that it can also help with your business’s digital conversions from potential and real customers asking for solutions to their problems or answers to their questions.
Let’s examine the mechanisms that allow local SEO to increase your rate of conversions, both directly and indirectly.
Understanding the Purpose of Local SEO
Before explaining how local SEO affects conversions, it’s important to understand what local SEO is and how businesses can use it to their advantage.
Local SEO focuses on improving your website’s authority for local searches. This can allow you contend for high-traffic keywords that would otherwise take months or years and a small fortune to earn a similar level in rankings.
The main reason to invest in local SEO pertains to the fact that it affects local searches. These are the type of searches that tend to produce walk-in visitors to stores, and the type that promote your business as a leading authority in your given field.
Couple this with the fact that local searches tend to have ratings and other beneficial marks for businesses that focus on pleasing your customers, and you can begin to see how it can affect your conversion rate.
Local SEO Improves Conversions by Establishing Your Website as a Local Authority
The primary benefit of local SEO by a professiona company is that it works to drive qualified traffic to your website.
How does this work? Imagine that you were trying to drive customers to your website, but you only wanted customers whom were interested in buying your services instead of performing a certain fix for themselves.
This allows you to bypass optimizing for broad keywords that people searching for information, rather than products, tend to use. Combine this with the fact local SEO focuses on people in a certain physical area, rather than global traffic, to understand how it can drive more conversions for businesses local to a certain place.
The end result is that your website becomes a leading authority for all matters related to your field of business. This is beneficial to plumbers, dentists, grocery stores and any other business that focuses on serving customers in a select area.
The Indirect Effects of Local SEO
While improving your website’s local SEO will allow you to rank higher for certain keywords, which in causes your website to receive more traffic, it can also result in a number of indirect effects.
The most prominent of these effects it that it can make ranking for other terms and ranking new pages much easier. You may find that a small amount of local SEO will result in your articles, blog posts and even product pages ranking higher on their own without any off-site optimization.
Another effect is that it can draw in visitors whom are more willing to purchase from you based upon your position in results pages. Customers who are looking for the easiest and best solution will often choose the highest result, as they will subconsciously assume that a higher search engine ranking means that website holds a better answer.
The last indirect effect is that local SEO can result in more recognition in your local area. This can result in customers referring friends, family members and co-workers to your business for the solutions that they need. It can even result in local organizations using your services, which can allow you to have a steady client with a decent volume of work.
The Importance of Focusing on Local Searches
Local search engine optimization builds your business as an authority, provides several indirect benefits like more referrals, and allows you to receive more customers willing to invest in the solutions your company provides.
Couple this with the fact that local SEO tends to require less effort than global SEO with more tangible results to understand why your business should focus on local SEO before any other type of digital marketing.
3 Top Tips To Optimise Local Search for Your Business
Are you and your internet business visible to users searching locally? That may not have meant a great deal until recently, when, with the fairly recent increase in GPS- and mapping-enabled smartphones and the changes in the way Googles search results are triggered, local searches started to become a vital marketing channel. If your business ignores local search, the answer to the question posed at the beginning of this piece may be No, which is not the answer you want to get.
Change Your Focus
Most companies are aware of the need to at least claim their listing in Google Places, but rarely go much further than that, concentrating their efforts mainly on Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) for general queries.
Claiming a listing in Google Places is a good first step in a location-specific search optimisation strategy, but most users searching locally arent actually using Google, instead preferring online yellow pages, city guides like Yelp and CitySearch, local directories or other search engines like Bing or Yahoo.
So, changing your focus from optimising your site for general search queries to local search queries is essential to avoid missing the boat altogether where local search is concerned. Here are 3 steps that can be taken to optimise your internet presence for local search queries.
1. Stake Multiple Claims
The first thing you should do is get your business listed locally on all three of the major search engines, Google, Yahoo! and Bing Maps. In addition, increasing the number of citations, or mentions, of your companys name along with the local address and phone number on third-party sites such as YellowPages.com, Yelp, Local.com and CitySearch is crucial to improving your sites ranking in map listings.
Third-party sites such as the ones mentioned above attract quite a bit of traffic in their own right with many users supplying reviews of local businesses. These reviews are often pulled by Google and a locations 10 pack ranking (the top 10 business listings shown on a map designated A to J) can be affected by the number of reviews it receives, while those rated highly by customers often see improved click-through rates.
2. Illustrate and Amplify
Since search engine rules and algorithms are changing constantly, staying on top of local Search Engine Optimisation will be an ongoing endeavour, much like general search query optimisation. In the case of Google Places, once your listings been claimed and location(s) verified, the next step is to enhance your businesss profile by building up your listing with as much information as possible, including videos and photos.
Adding coupons to your listings provides customers with incentives and also helps with tracking the results of your efforts. Choosing the correct category for your business is essential, as this ensures your site shows up for the search terms youve targeted. The more comprehensive your business profile, the more your listing will be trusted by both users and Google.
3. Take Chances
Look into options that may be a bit more edgy, like incentivising user actions through social media sites such as Twitter. In July, Twitter was supporting around 800 million searches per day, double that of Bing and Yahoo! combined, many of those searches being aimed locally, offering leverage for both direct response and branding. This makes Twitter search a viable and useful marketing vehicle, regardless of your ability to build a following.
Also, theres great potential in location-based mobile applications such as Foursquare and Double Dutch, which allow companies to make use of the geographic locations of their users, which can in turn be used to provide offers along with information about nearby points of interest and businesses.
As with standard search engine optimisation (SEO) strategies, constant care and attention to your local search marketing program will reap great rewards in terms of increasing not only online but also offline traffic and sales. If any of your location details change, updating your online profile and listings will maintain your credibility not only with the search engines but also your users and keep you on the radar of local searches.
To make sure your internet business isnt invisible when users search locally, consult a internet business coach wholl get your business on the map locally and help you keep it there.