Columnist Carol is on a mission to raise the “digital literacy” of businesswomen across the world, starting in the UK. With a BA Hons in ‘Visual Communications’ and a course in ‘Digital Excellence’ with the Chartered Institute of Marketing, she also runs We Get Digital, a successful website & SEO agency.
Read all of Carol’s articles here.
What is Local SEO?
Local SEO is the practice of optimising the website of a local “Bricks & Mortar” to actively promote that business within its’ local area. Location-based keywords are used in conjunction with content, social profiles and links that all have a local bias.
Local SEO involves making sure your web pages are fully optimised for local searches and using platforms such as Google My Business to post and engage with local, potential clients and prospects.
How can Local SEO help my business?
Recent statistics state that 46% of ALL Google searches have a local focus. That means that almost half of the people searching on Google are looking for a service or products within their local area.
But, surprisingly, a massive 56% of local businesses have not even claimed their FREE Google My Business listing! They are really missing out as the cornerstone of Local Seo is Google My Business, it underpins all of our local seo efforts.
Another interesting statistic is that 74% of consumers who are looking for something local actually visit a store or local business that same day.
Get New Customers Quickly
So, imagine if your business had a share of that 46 % (and rising) local, specific Google searches, it could have a very positive effect on sales and new customers, and quickly too.
By the way, just to point out, this isn’t all about Google, people search for local businesses using Bing, Yahoo, Yelp etc. also. But given that Google has an estimated 88% of the search market, it is worth focusing on them I think!
The Google “Three Pack”
You may have noticed when you search for something on Google, using a key phrase like “SEO North London” that underneath the map of your immediate locale, there appear three listings, this is known as the “Three Pack”. And, funnily enough, we are at the top!
The Google Three Pack is a highlighted area that appears near the top of the results page when a local search is made through Google. The Three-Pack box displays the top 3 local business listings most relevant to the search enquiry made, it also pulls in your location from Google maps.
One statistic shows that 33% of searches go straight to the local “three-pack” results.
So you can see how important it is to try and get your business into this prestigious box as well as ranking high in the organic search results immediately below the box.
Working your local SEO, and Google My Business in particular, will help you feature in the Google Three Pack.
Citations and Reviews
Citations are crucial in Local SEO, simply put they are where your business is listed (usually name, address, phone number or NAP) on another website or directory. Citations help local searchers find your business and impact well on your Google ranking. Getting citations in the right places can be a very time consuming and tedious task but there are services available online (usually paid for) that can help you gather citations in the relevant listings and directories.
Reviews are also extremely valuable when it comes to Local SEO. Google reviews are where your customers leave you positive (hopefully!) reviews on Google and research shows that 68% of users say that positive reviews influence the trust they feel in a business. Reviews are also a key factor in good search engine listing rankings.
Most customers or clients are happy to leave a business a good review, you just have to ask and we always advise that you strike while the iron is hot and ask for reviews as soon as you have a newly satisfied customer!
Reviews literally do speak for themselves! There is no better person to tell others in your community how great you are than a satisfied customer, although an element of caution must be observed in making sure your good reviews are genuine, honest and believable.
Your Online Reputation
Your online reputation plays an important role in your Local SEO success, it is defined by the content you put out and by your reviews and testimonials on the internet. It is also affected by interactions on social media and blog posts, comments etc.
Managing your online reputation is very important for local SEO and you need to frequently monitor and track what people are saying about your business and respond appropriately if called for.