There has never been a better time for businesses to invest in local search. Driven by the rapid growth in mobile and smartphone adoption, local search is now crucially important for business. Not only are more and more people searching locally; they’re also buying locally too. Google’s own research clearly shows that people use search engines to find local businesses they want to buy from:
- 80 per cent of consumers use search engines to find local information.
- Fifty per cent of consumers who conducted a local search on their smartphone visited a store within a day: only 34 per cent of customers conducting a search via desktop visited a store on the same day.
- Eighteen per cent of local searches on smartphones lead to a purchase within a day: only 7 per cent of non-local searches lead to a same-day purchase.
So if you run an online business it’s important that you promote your business locally. Optimising your site for the local market will not only help with your search engine ranking: it can also help to drive sales. But how can you attract and convert more local searchers? Well, you can start by applying these 3 tried and trusted strategies for starters:
Write quality locally-focused content
Most discussions about improving business local SEO usually focus on topics like local directories, maps and citations. Whilst all of these are important, they are the same topics all your local competitors will also be focusing on. Yes, they may be important, but they won’t give you an edge. So what can you do to give your business an advantage? Well, you’ll need to create quality content, but it’s important that this content is locally-focused.
What exactly is meant by locally-focused content? Well, it simply means content based around the local area: content that also informs readers and educates them about specific local issues, problems and needs that they may have. What’s the best way of creating this type of content? Well, the simplest way is to write articles and posts about your local area, your niche and how the products and services you provide service the community’s needs. If you’ve got a great new product for the local market, or are planning on doing something that will benefit the local community, then make sure you spread the word. Look to your customers for inspiration: interview them and get their opinions, share stories and talk about the relationships you’ve built in the area. Be person and personable with your readers and connect with them. If you engage with your locality, they’ll engage with you in turn.
Use maps, directories and citations
It’s important for local businesses to claim their place on Google Maps through Google My Business. They help potential customers find you. However, Google My Business is only one of hundreds of listing sites for local businesses: Yelp. Yahoo Business, Facebook, MapQuest and Yellow Pages to name just a few. The trick is to find the ones that are most relevant to your business. Once you’ve identified these listings, business directories and map services, claim your place and register your business information. Make sure your name, address and telephone number are correct and that this information is consistent across all of your dealings on the web. Inaccuracies will only confuse customers and search engines.
Build local links
Link building is one of, if not the most important factor when it comes to SEO. However, some backlinks carry more authority than others. Directory listings are useful and are given weight by search engines, but when all is said and done, they are inferior to organic backlinks. Where do you find quality backlinks? Well, start by looking through local sites that contain local directories. Identify the sites with authority, and ask to be added. Join local clubs and organisations like the Rotary Club and the local Chamber of Commerce. By joining you’ll show that you are connected to your local community and you’ll increase your chances of bagging a quality backlink. However, it’s important that you only link to, or get backlinks from, sites you really want to be associated to, and sites that are relevant to your business contextually.