Local SEO is important to your business, why?
[dropcap]A[/dropcap]s an SEO/Online marketing strategist, I’m always a little bemused by this question because naturally I think that the answer is a resounding yes. But is it? Is there no instance in which local SEO is unnecessary?
I thought it would be interesting (and helpful to small businesses) to look at this question a little more in-depth to see if it were true in every case.
To answer it, we have to look at how people find a business. Does their behaviour change if they already know about your business as opposed to looking for a product or service you offer.
How do you look for local venues, products and services? The overwhelming majority of people use their smart phone. If you don’t, it’s a mistake to think that you are typical. In fact, we should look at this first, mobile that it.
Local SEO – Google Indexes Mobile First
[dropcap]W[/dropcap]hat does this mean? It means that Google looks at how your site displays on a mobile device and indexes mobile ready/compliant sites first. This doesn’t mean that sites which are not optimised for mobile devices are no longer indexed, it just means they can lose visibility.
Google tells us that (and they should know) that more searches are done from a mobile, so the first question you need to ask (and answer) is, “Does my site display well on mobile devices?” Displaying well would include fast loading, ease of finding the information required and a strong call to action that easy to see and use.
Now we know that mobile compliance is a very strong visibility factor, can we say that local SEO is important? I think we can, because the number of businesses not affected by it is so vanishingly small that we can discount them in answering our original question. Let’s take a look at a couple of businesses that may or may not be paying attention to their local SEO.
Local SEO and Coffee Shops
Does a coffee shop need local SEO? Unless it’s the only coffee shop in town, then yes, it does. At any time a rival could start up a new coffee shop and if they’re good at online marketing they could soon destroy the original coffee shop. What sort of things are people searching for from the coffee shop?
- Opening times
- Telephone number
- Any coupons
This same list would be relevant to restaurants too, you could add function facilities to the restaurant list if they were available. Remember, you have to take into account how people use technology and how that affects their habits. Google talks about ‘micro moments‘ these are the times measured in seconds that contribute to a buying decision.
For our coffee shop, it’s when someone perhaps gets a call to meet, they search for the nearest coffee shop, in that micro moment, if you show up in their results, you have a chance at getting their custom, if not, you won’t.
If your local seo is good, you have reviews and your location is close, you’ll probably rank number one, if another coffee shop is closer, then they may rank number one and you number two. But if you have a menu, special offer or better reviews, then even if the person has to travel just a little more, you may still get the custom if you rank number two.
But here’s another thing to consider, perhaps they’re meeting someone and need to travel further than they normally would for a cup of coffee, they’ll probably enter a geo location to find a coffee shop. If you’ve done your online marketing and SEO correctly, they’ll still find you.
Proving You’re Local
Here’s yet one more thing to consider. Google needs to be sure you’re a local business. This is after all why they want you to do local SEO. They need to be sure that you are a local business, which is where local citations come in. These are mentions of your business, (usually with a link) from trusted local sites, the first of which you should have is a Google My Business page. Because Google verifies this listing, it’s sure that you’re a local business. It establishes trust for Google, and if Google doesn’t trust you, it won’t give you that all important visibility.
I think we can say with some confidence that local SEO and online marketing is indeed important for your business. It could almost be said that without it, you won’t be in business for long, or if you are, you won’t reach the full potential of your business.
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