In today’s digital age, all businesses, no matter how small, need to have a website and an online marketing strategy. As competition for the top spot on Google continues to grow, local SEO is becoming more and more important.
A whopping 64% of smartphone users use their phones to conduct local searches, and Google has responded to this by focusing more on location specific search results. When a location is typed into the keyword search, the 3 nearest listings are shown in a more detailed ‘3 pack’, ahead of other local businesses. Many people won’t go beyond those first 3, so if your business isn’t optimised for local SEO, you may be missing out on a massive opportunity to grow your customer base.
Here’s a look at the most important factors of local SEO in 2017 and how you can optimise your website for the future.
What Is Local SEO?
Local SEO allows you to concentrate on your niche market in a specific geographical area. It’s an essential part of digital marketing for businesses that benefit from local rather than national or global customers.
As online competition grows, local SEO can help you stand out from other business rivals in your area.
The majority of searches today are done from mobile devices such as tablets and smartphones as opposed to PCs. However, the growing popularity of wearables means that searches are becoming much more proximity based. People literally want to find a product or service that’s metres away, not miles away.
Google uses an account holder’s search history and location to provide the most specific results relevant to them. So if you’re competing with a bigger, better-known national brand, you may outrank them if your location is nearer.
Being listed on reputable local business directories and reviews sites such as Yelp and TripAdvisor is one of the best ways of growing your online presence. Many small businesses are missing out on this opportunity, so being listed gives you a competitive edge that you can use to your advantage.
Ensure your company details (NAP) are accurate and there are no variations. Any discrepancy or difference in spelling could stop you from being listed all together.
Google My Business is not only free, but it also gives you the chance to feature in the big ‘3 pack’ if your website is optimised for local SEO.
Google’s aim to constantly improve user experience means that local and individualised searches are now a major priority.
Producing blogs and articles that are relevant to your location will help with your Google ranking. Localising your content will also create local networking opportunities and improve your exposure by covering topics, events etc. that people in the surrounding areas will be interested in.
As the internet becomes more accessible and more mobile than ever, the popularity of local search trends is only going to grow. By taking advantage of local SEO now, you’ll be one step ahead of the competition in the future.