Let's begin with a few stats about local search. Just Google "local search stats," and you can find plenty of evidence to support just how important local SEO is. Here are a few we've cherrypicked just for you from hubspot.com!
These days, most people in need of a local business recommendation turn to Google. Whether you're a plumber, a lawyer, or a pizzeria, if your business isn't on page one of Google when people search for your product or services, you're missing out on a tremendous amount of potential business.
Local search engine marketing means applying typical search engine marketing strategies such as SEO or PPC to a local business website. People are searching for your services on search engines like Google - the goal of SEO is to use Google as a source of free inbound leads for your business.
Local SEO can be immensely effective when executed by experienced professionals, but it is increasingly competitive as more and more local businesses realize the value of these types of services.
While the strategy and implementation of 'regular' SEO and local SEO are very similar, the rules of engagement do differ. You'll want to work with a company that specializes in Local SEO services (not local in terms of proximity to your service area.)
People looking for a restaurant in Cleveland might search for something like "restaurants in cleveland" or "restaurants near me." By now, if they just search "restaurants," Google will still serve largely localized results:
Google can deduce your location in a variety of ways, including your IP address, GPS information provided by your device, or the context of your search query. Additional information on each business is provided by the business via their Google My Business profile.
Once Google determines that you are looking for a local business, they will provide you with an entirely different set of results based on their best understanding of your current location. Even the structure and layout of the SERPs page changes for local queries. When a keyword has local search intent, we refer to the search engine results page (SERPs) as the local SERPs.
Since people looking for information on a local business tend to want different types of information, like maps, store hours, and review information, your typical SERPs (search engine results page) look a lot different than a standard search results page.
Google also evaluates local businesses and their websites a bit differently than it does other websites when it comes to ranking in search results. While technical SEO tactics are still important, you may have less competition to "beat."
With local businesses, Google relies more on customer reviews and the company's public perception (as much as it can deduce algorithmically). This is why Google My Business is such an important part of local SEO.
In other words, you don't have to have the best plumbing website in the world, just the best plumbing website in your city or service area. Alas, you won't be the only plumber who has realized the value of SEO either.
Google's "Google My Business" is a way for businesses to manage their business listing and company profile information on Google. Business owners can claim ownership (verified via a Google postcard to the business' address) to gain control over how their company information and profile, respond to reviews, and more.
Google will use the data and company profile information to feed the local pack, and Google maps search results whenever your business pops up. More importantly, by properly optimizing your GMB profile, you can better tell Google what your company is about and improve your chances of showing up in searches related to your business. Proper management of a GMB profile is one of many crucial components of a successful local SEO strategy.
Below, you can see the entire knowledge panel displayed, most of this information being fed from our Google My Business profile.
Citations are basically "mentions" of your website that don't necessarily link back to your website. Google takes notice of all of the citations related to your website. By taking deliberate steps to be consistent with things like your NAP (name, address, and phone number) as well as using the same format for your website's URL, you can make sure Google is never confused about your company's most pertinent details.
Citations to your business can be a result of manual placement by your business or naturally occurring by people mentioning your business on the web.
Since many citations occur naturally without your companies intervention, the best thing you can do is take control of the manual citations that are managed by your company on platforms like Google or Yelp.
It also helps to educate your entire company on things like citations. This way, whenever citations or link opportunities present themselves to your employees, they are armed with the appropriate information to maximize the value of the opportunity and follow the best-known practices.
Now that you understand how local SEO works, you're probably wondering what it takes to beat out your competitors and use search engines like Google as a way to attract new customers to your business. The goal of a local SEO campaign is to make Google want to link to your website when people search for your services. The way to accomplish this is by convincing Google you are the best provider of those services.
If you work with a reputable local SEO company, you should be able to trust that they will determine this for you. There are many different types of local SEO services that may or may not be a priority depending on your goals and circumstances. However, it can be useful to know what types of services local SEO service providers offer.
In other words, people increasingly rely on search engines to find local businesses. If your business isn't on page one, your competitors will get all the business, and within a few years, you will likely be struggling to stay afloat. We don't mean to scaremonger, but the trends are pretty clear and people will only become increasingly reliant on search engines moving forward. Unless you can rely on traditional marketing and word-of-mouth, you must focus on local search engine marketing if you want to grow your business in today's digital landscape.
For over 15 years, OuterBox has been a leading provider of SEO services. Our unique vantage point on the evolution of local search and SEO over the years provides us with a wealth of knowledge and expertise that we can put to work for your company.
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