Why is Local SEO Important and How Does It Work?
If you have a brick-and-mortar business and want more people to find your location through web searches, you’ve probably heard the term search engine optimization tossed around a lot.
Search engine optimization (or SEO for short) is a set of tools and techniques used to help improve your digital visibility, primarily through search engine results.
But SEO doesn’t simply consist of one thing — as in one tool, one strategy or one outcome. SEO is much more than that. And there are also variety of different types of SEO.
One of those types is local SEO.
In this article, we cover what local SEO is, why it’s important for your business, and 5 tips for improving your local SEO. Investing time in local SEO can mean more visitors to your business — and ideally, more sales.
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What is Local SEO?
Local SEO is the optimization of your website for local searches. This means searches that include geographic search terms.
So, if someone is searching “digital marketing agency Toronto”, digital marketing agencies in Toronto (like ours!) would want to show up in the search results.
Many businesses with offices or storefronts have customers that frequently rely on local searches. In fact, according to HubSpot, 46% of all Google searches are for local information. That’s a lot of local searching and, for businesses, this can make or break your business.
Given this, it only makes sense that businesses with locations would want to optimize for local search.
How Does Local SEO Work?
Search engines use crawlers to understand the content of your website. Then, when a user searches a term, the search engine will return a set of results it thinks the user is looking for. If you’ve optimized your website appropriately, you’ll have a better chance of being in these search results.
Local SEO is no different. It works the same, meaning when a user searches for a specific location — say a city, neighbourhood or even “near me” — the search engine will return results it thinks the user is looking for.
Search results also comb through social media profile pages, image alt text, URLs, and so forth. So it’s important to take steps to optimize your website, if you hope to make it onto the first page of Google.
5 Ways to Improve Your Local SEO
Of course, saying you should improve your local SEO is one thing. Accomplishing this is quite another.
This is why many businesses hire local SEO companies to help them. Google also offers resources to help businesses improve their local SEO.
If you’d like to tackle it yourself, here are five tasks you can undertake to improve your local SEO:
1. Perform a local SEO audit
You’d be surprised how many businesses don’t start by taking an audit of their current SEO. Performing a local SEO audit should be done regularly so you have a benchmark to work from.
When performing a local SEO audit, you’ll want to look at:
- Google Search Console data
- Google Business data
- On-page SEO data
- Competitor analyses
- Website performance
2. Take advantage of Google Business
Google Business (formerly called Google My Business) is one of those essential tools that businesses need for local search on Google.
Since Google will verify, support and share content that’s created on its platform, using Google Business will enable you to appear in Google Map results, Google Shopping results and on the search engine’s sidebar. It also allows you to control your own business information and manage reviews, plus it improves your overall visibility online.
3. Make sure your business name and address are consistent across platforms
This might sound obvious, but the truth is, it often gets missed.
Make sure your business name, address and phone number are consistent across all your platforms, from social media to Google Business. This will make it easier for people — and search engines — to find your business.
4. Assess your internal linking structure, title tags, meta descriptions, headers, and content
This one crosses over into technical SEO territory, but it’s important to mention.
For all SEO endeavors, making sure your website is organized, contains no broken links, has a hierarchical structure, and that all your title tags and meta descriptions are audited will go a long way in improving its SEO health. It’s a lot of work, but it’s worth it.
5. Create location pages on your website
Location pages are pages that target specific locations. So, if your business has locations in Toronto, Montreal and Calgary, you would want to create three pages, with each one targeting keywords for one of these location.
Sometimes location pages will also include your business name, address, phone number, hours of operation, a Google Maps link and any other information that will help clients and customers find your specific location in a local search.
6 Types of Businesses That Can Benefit from Local SEO Services
Of course, not every business will get the most out of local SEO. While optimizing for local SEO is generally advised, there are some business that benefit more than others.
Here are six types of business that can benefit from local SEO optimization services.
1. Restaurants and food services
Restaurants and food services that take advantage of local SEO are likely to see benefits. As people are searching for particular cuisines and locations, local SEO can help drive your visibility up, which can lead to more customers, both in person and via ordering services.
2. Professional and personal services
Professional service providers such as accountants, lawyers, financial advisors, hairdressers, photographers, and so on, are businesses that customers are always looking for. And often, customers want to work with someone locally. For this reason, these types of business should be looking closely at their local SEO rankings.
3. Retail stores
Similarly, if you have a brick-and-mortar store, you’re someone who should be paying attention to local SEO.
Whether you run a clothing boutique, flower shop, jewelry store, specialty grocer, craft studio, or similar, investing in local SEO means you can rely less on foot traffic and more on traffic as a result of web searches.
4. Health and wellness clinics
This is another type of service that’s generally location-dependent.
Healthcare providers such as doctors, registered massage therapists (RMTs), psychotherapists, physiotherapists, dentists and so on need to have physical access to their patients and clients. So, when prospects are searching for a healthcare provider, they’re going to be looking close to home.
5. Real estate agents and brokerages
Real estate is a crowded market. When people are looking to buy or sell property, they typically start with online research about brokerages, real estate agents, real estate opportunities and even market fluctuations in their region.
Local SEO is crucial for businesses in the real estate industry, since it helps maintain an online presence and achieve good standings in search engine results pages (SERPs).
6. Home building and renovation services
Because home building and renovation services rely almost entirely on geographic location, it only makes sense that strong local SEO is crucial for these businesses.
People looking for home renovation services or building supplies will most likely search for the closest business that can help them. By optimizing for local SEO, you can make sure that business is yours.
Work with the Right Local SEO Agency
Maintaining strong local SEO requires work, but the rewards are worth it.
Want more local traffic to your website? Contact us to learn more about our SEO services.