What you don’t know about local SEO can hurt you.
If you’re a local business that relies on local customers, like a dentist, for example, you need to focus on local SEO solutions.
Because think about this. What if that same local dentist failed to see the nuances of local seo, and then marched on a 6 month national seo campaign?
Yikes. You’ve probably guessed it. Wasted dollars, time, and effort trying to rank for keywords that won’t actually help their business.
Exciting statistics for the savvy local business owner who knows a little local SEO, or knows the right local search experts.
But, before you can start, or choose the right team, there’s a lot you must know. First, how local SEO is distinct from traditional SEO.
- 1 1. Local SEO is Different from Traditional SEO
- 2 2. Listings must be Accurate and Consistent
- 3 3. The Goal is to Drive Diverse Traffic to your Business (Physical, Online)
- 4 4. Why Online Ratings and Reviews Matter
- 5 5. Google Crawls Product/Service Lists, and Menus … Put Keywords Here!
- 6 6. Why the “Google Snack Pack” gets the Most Traffic
- 7 7. Why Google Loves Fresh Content
- 8 8. Why You need to Capitalize on Mobile
- 9 9. Who I Recommend – The Search Initiative (Experts in Local SEO Solutions)
1. Local SEO is Different from Traditional SEO
Local SEO and traditional SEO are distinct from one another and require different solutions. You can more easily understand the differences by considering the goals, methods, and outcomes of each one.
- The goal of traditional SEO is to rank for keyword-related searches (for a 5 min. crash course go here)
- This is done by optimizing website content, keywords, and user experiences
- When successful, the business appears to anyone using those keywords nationally, or around the world
- The goal of local SEO is to rank for location-based searches
- This is done by developing listings, claiming profiles and climbing map results
- When successful, the business appears in all relevant close-range searches (usually within 0-50 miles)
If your past efforts haven’t included measures like those above, the local SEO experts you hire are likely to recommend a comprehensive effort to build out the missing infrastructure.
As you can already tell, listings are an important—even foundational—part of that infrastructure. That’s why local search strategies are often focused on making sure listings are as accurate and consistent as possible.
2. Listings must be Accurate and Consistent
Local business listings (also commonly called citations) are one of the essential building blocks of local SEO.
- Q: What is a local business listing?
- A: A local business listing is any online instance of your business’ name, address or phone number (NAP). Listings can be pulled from your website, business directories, news stories, and even social media pages.
What makes listings so important is how they’re used by search engines. Listings are crawled from sources all over the internet. They can be pulled from your website, business directories, news stories, and even social media pages.
Each listing a search engine finds will be used as a signal to determine whether your business is really tied to a given local area.
That should make it clear why it is so important that they are as accurate and consistent as possible.
If any of the information is wrong or inconsistent, the following can happen:
- Your business will not appear in local searches
- Your locations may be reported as closed or out-of-business
- Different businesses may appear whenever your name is searched
- The results may show the wrong address, hours or inventory (this can make potential customers furious)
Solutions exist to address all the problems that are related to listings. If you don’t have enough listings, you may need to consider building out new ones—even dozens of them.
Despite the high impact, creating up-to-date listings is budget-friendly, and one of the most affordable local SEO services out there.
On the other hand, your business may be suffering because you’ve already built out listings that contain incorrect your outdated information. Don’t worry. These incorrect listings can be cleaned up by local search experts.
Building out listings and keeping them in prime condition is just one of the ways that affordable SEO companies drive diverse types of traffic to your business.
3. The Goal is to Drive Diverse Traffic to your Business (Physical, Online)
Local SEO may be focused on driving customers to a local business, but that doesn’t mean that the emphasis is only on foot traffic. Instead, the idea is to deliver a diverse range of local traffic with different types of intent.
Local searches can involve a lot of different motivations, after all. You need to reach customers who are looking for all of the following:
- A business address so they can walk or drive to your location
- A phone number so that they can contact you about inventory or reservations
- Your website so that they can review information like prices
- Reviews so that they can compare you to other services/products
Any of this traffic that is currently being missed or directed to sources that are not ideal will be the focus on your local SEO experts. Reviews, in particular, cannot be underestimated.
4. Why Online Ratings and Reviews Matter
Almost any Google search for a local business will also pull up reviews for that business. This is because map results are now a permanent fixture of a search for local businesses.
Each set of map results comes complete with a business name, image and the average of all reviews. To advertise this information, you either need to have your name searched directly, or make it into the snack pack (more on that in a bit).
In one study they found …
However, reviews aren’t only considered by searchers, they are also considered by the search engines. Google uses your average score to determine whether you belong in the most covetable positions.
Bad reviews can function as a penalty. It will require more intensive solutions to improve your visibility if you’re trying to overcome bad reviews. However, growth is still possible.
While poor reviews must be addressed directly, there are some affordable local SEO solutions that can help you retake some ground. One of those practices is taking advantage of product and service lists.
5. Google Crawls Product/Service Lists, and Menus … Put Keywords Here!
Listings aren’t the only thing that Google crawls to find information about your business. Crawlers can also review information in any product or service lists that you’ve posted, and deliver that information directly to searchers.
These lists can take many forms including food menus, part lists, and service packages. By creating them, you create opportunities to feature all of your most important keywords.
By optimizing your lists with keywords, or phrases that your customers use, you can signal that your business is more relevant to certain searches. This can help you rank higher in the short term, but it has another important benefit.
Menus significantly increase your opportunities to appear for the most specific (and therefore, intentional) searches. If you have an Italian restaurant, you obviously want to rank for that term. Providing a menu improves your chances of appearing in searches for specific dishes.
It is always to your benefit to reach a higher rank in the SERPs, but there’s one tier that stands apart from the rest: the snack pack.
6. Why the “Google Snack Pack” gets the Most Traffic
The end goal of most local SEO solutions is to get you into the “snack pack”, and it’s important for you to understand why that matters so much.
The answer is pretty clear when you see where the snack pack appears and what kind of information that it offers…
The section that you see below is the snack pack. It is located below the paid ads, at the top of the SERPs and provides richer information than any of the SERPs below it.
The SERPs below the snack pack must be content with what is revealed by their title, meta description, and URL. The snack pack results can share prices, opening hours, addresses, reviews, and a tantalizing snapshot.
Do all those extras matter? The research says it absolutely does. Even before the pack had a guaranteed front-row seat in SERPs, searchers already preferred local results. A collection of data gathered by Squawkia revealed that…
“68% of searchers prefer the local 3-Pack, 27 percent prefer the organic results below the 3-Pack, and only 10 percent trust paid search results…if only one of 3 spots available garners 68% of all searcher’s trust, the 3 pack is an absolute must .” (5)
The end goal of local SEO is to get your business featured in the three-pack, but it can take a lot of work by experienced local SEO experts to get there. One solution that has worked for many organizations is tempting Google with a steady stream of fresh content.
7. Why Google Loves Fresh Content
Fresh content has always been an important part of traditional SEO, but it’s considered a local SEO solution, too.
Content is your opportunity to implement all of the keywords that tell your customers what you do and what special services you offer. You should constantly be on the lookout for keywords that you haven’t used yet.
Adding up-to-date content regularly is also a signal to Google that your business is active and growing. The types of content you can add are constantly expanding. (4) Have you taken advantage of all of the following?
- GMB profiles
- Responses to reviews
- Frequently asked questions
- Events (including sales, promotions and product launches)
- Google Posts
If you haven’t, that will be one of the main priorities for the local SEO expert handling your solutions.
While what you create is important, is just as important to consider who you’re creating it for. Mobile searches make up an increasing percentage of all searches, and capitalizing on mobile searches is a must.
8. Why You need to Capitalize on Mobile
Mobile searches are the most important battleground of local SEO. People searching from their home computers may be getting ready for a purchase, but those searching on mobile are already out in their local area looking for their next purchase.
And that translates directly to purchases. 78% of local mobile searches end in an offline purchase. (7) That means capitalizing on mobile is one of the shortest direct paths to real leads. Local SEO solutions are really about reaching this vital traffic.
Now that you understand the why behind Local SEO, think about “who”. It takes a lot of different experts, with access to the right tools, to make these strategies work. I recommend The Search Initiative.
9. Who I Recommend – The Search Initiative (Experts in Local SEO Solutions)
The Search Initiative (TSI) is an SEO agency that I oversee featuring some of the best minds in SEO, especially local search. Minds like expert SEO Rad Paluszak pull off complex strategies that target all of your most important needs.
Using the latest expertise and tools, TSI offers serious competitive advantages to clients:
- Background experience with most local niches
- The latest tools to create a more advanced and more data-driven solution
- Local SEO metrics that help you understand why each recommendation matters
They’ve pulled off some amazing results with businesses targeting customers in their local area. From furniture stores to vacation rentals, their assistance has resulted in:
- Doubled organic search traffic
- Thousands of new social media interactions
- 125% increases in revenue
Get a Free Website Audit from The Search Initiative:
Learn more about how The Search Initiative can help, here: https://thesearchinitiative.com/