Just a decade or so back SEO was quite different. Whatever updates and changes that we see now in search engine rankings were absent few years back. The criteria for ranking on Google and other search engines has changed radically. During those times there was no difference between normal and local SEO. But today with changing business environments, search engines have become more specific and geographically narrow. And that’s how local SEO came into the picture.
Ever heard of local SEO?
What is local SEO and why is it important that your business know about it? Let me explain with some examples. Imagine you have unexpected guests in your house and you wish to take them out for dinner. You are mostly likely to search in Google for “restaurant + your locality”. You get a list of restaurants which are located geographically very close to your place. Or perhaps you got a job in a new city. You rented a flat in the new city and relocated there. Everything in the new location was strange for you. Now suppose you had an urgent need to visit a hospital. You immediately type in google “hospital near me”. Google spits out the complete list of hospitals which are near your house.
This is what local SEO is all about. It can be defined as a branch of SEO which deals with search engine optimization of industries and businesses in a particular locality. It is optimizing your online content so local consumers can easily find you. It is more relevant for those who are interested in generating more customers in their immediate vicinity. Assume you own a fast food restaurant in a locality. When somebody in your area looks out for fast food on Google, does your restaurant figure in the top searches? If the answer is no, then calculate the number of customers and the kind of traffic you are losing just because you are not there in the listings. And that is where local SEO can help. Its importance is going to rise more and more as the number of mobile users grow.
Local SEO compared to traditional marketing
Local SEO is similar to traditional marketing but it is lot cheaper and more focused. In traditional marketing you hire salespeople, give ads in newspapers and local magazines, distribute pamphlets and do a dozen other things. All these cost money and effort. Local SEO is comparatively cheaper than this. In traditional marketing you have no accurate way of knowing how your marketing campaign is doing. In local SEO one can know the status through online traffic and the number of customers coming in through search engines.
How to make local SEO work for you? Some of the tips to ensure a steady stream of customers are:
- Enroll in Online Directories: Include your business in online directories. When people search for any particular product or service mostly likely they are going to see a couple of online directories on the top. If you are listed in those directories your business name, address, products and telephone number will be displayed. Additionally, for e.g., if you have a restaurant, your menu will be displayed or if you are a plumber, your services will be listed out. An excellent way to get noticed online.
- Enlist on Google My Business: It is free and it works. It is an advantage for your local SEO status. If you are not enrolled on this page, you will not appear on local map listings which Google displays in its results for local searches. Logging in Google My Business is an easy process which anyone can do.
- Optimized for mobile: According to one survey, more than 50% Google local searches take place from mobiles. Also majority of sales happen through these searches. Mobiles are ready devices for people to search for products and services near their locations. If you want to get the best of local SEO, your websites and landing pages should be mobile friendly. They should load faster and be legible when seen on small screens.
- Keep your customers happy: This is not a direct local SEO strategy. Rather it is common sense. If you have the habit of keeping your customers happy, they will always turn toward you when they need you. They will provide recommendations to others about you. This is as good as local SEO. No amount of technology and SEO tactics can compensate for that personal touch and care to keep your customers happy.