Running a local business can be great. You get to run a business that you’re passionate about, plus communities are often in favour of local businesses. However, you still need to actively put in the effort to attract customers if you want the business to succeed.
You’ve probably heard of search engine optimization (SEO) if you’re running a small business. It’s clearly growing in popularity as more people start to recognize its benefits. However, a recent study conducted in North America found that over 50% of small businesses don’t implement any SEO, while over 20% have no intention to start any time soon. Ii the UK it’s over 65%
Considering this statistic, you might be wondering whether your business really needs to use local SEO. The short answer—you certainly do.
Keep reading for more information on local SEO and how it can benefit your business.
Understanding local SEO
When someone enters a search query on a search engine, such as Google, the engine quickly responds by displaying a series of search results related to that query. These results are what the search engine recognizes as relevant.
You can’t attract clients that don’t know you exist. Search engine optimization is, essentially, a strategy for optimizing your website and content to rank high within search results related to your business. The purpose is to increase the chances of attracting a bigger, meaningful audience to your website. Unlike digital marketing, successful SEO results in a form of unpaid traffic to your site.
Local SEO is SEO with the goal of showing up in search results within your general area. For instance, pretend you own a store that sells handcrafted leather products. Someone who lives in your store’s general area searches “handcrafted leather wallet.” The goal is to get your website to be displayed as one of the top search results for that individual.
Why small businesses need local SEO
There are multiple methods to attract clients, like word of mouth and digital marketing. However, each method has its own limit and attracts clients through different means.
First, it’s important to understand that SEO carried out correctly will never negatively affect your business. Implementing the right SEO strategy only has the potential to benefit you.
According to Statista, using search engines was the main way online shoppers search for products in 2021, with 40% of the market using this method. Furthermore, Google’s statistics show that 76% of people who do a local search on their smartphone will visit a business within the next day. So, without implementing a local SEO strategy, you risk missing out on a significant number of potential customers
How do search engines determine your ranking?
Google determines your local SEO ranking through a combination of “relevance, distance, and prominence.” Here’s a breakdown of what that means:
- Relevence. This is how relevant your business is to a specific search query. In other words, it’s a measure of the degree to which your website’s content matches what a search query is looking for. One way to help the search engine learn more about your website and identify when you’re relevant is by creating a sitemap
- Distance. As it sounds, this is how far you are from the location of the searcher. The only thing you can really do here is to ensure the search engine knows where your business is located.
- Prominence. This refers to how well-known your business is or how well it’s recognized by the search engine. It’s in this category wherein SEO strategies make the most difference.
What local SEO can do for your business
Hearing all of this is fine. But it’s at this point wherein you’re probably wondering exactly how local SEO can benefit your business. Here are the answers:
- More traffic to your website. The first benefit of using local SEO is that, if done successfully, you’ll be drawing more traffic to your site. This further improves your overall SEO score and makes your business known to more people.
- Directs local customers to you. If you have a physical shop, you definitely want people in your area to know you exist. If someone discovers you online, they’re more likely to become a customer
- Helps customers who want your product to find you. This benefit adds to the previous one. People who find you through an online search are likely searching for what you offer. Furthermore, this helps you filter out customers that aren’t looking for your product.
- Increase brand trust. You’ll start getting reviews as you build your online presence and people discover you. Consumers tend to trust the feedback they get from other consumers. If you maintain good customer service, you increase your chances of getting good reviews, which increases the chances of more customers approaching your business.
- Higher conversion rates. In the end, more attention leads to more customers. More customers lead to more business. Ultimately, local SEO can result in more customers, sales, and profit.
If you’re looking for a method to organically boost your business’ offline and online presence, brand recognition, customer base, sales, and conversions, then your business needs local SEO. Any business that has a physical store can benefit from investing in local SEO. Technically, you can run a business without it. But with all the benefits to gain, why miss the opportunity? If your business isn’t currently using local SEO, try it. It’ll probably become your new best friend.