Local SEO is an online marketing strategy that helps local businesses promote their products or services to customers in their geographical location at the exact moment they are looking to purchase.
Local SEO strategies include optimizing your website for local searchers and claiming directory listings on sites such as Google My Business and Yelp.
Why Local SEO Matters
Let's say, for example, you walk into your kitchen at midnight and notice water all over the floor. You need a plumber - now! What do you do? You likely grab your phone and search for 'plumber near me' or possibly 'emergency plumber near me' to find a list of local plumbers.
That is local SEO.
You want to be the business that shows up when your target audience does a similar search for a company in your niche. As more and more people turn to the internet and their mobile devices to find local businesses, local SEO is becoming vital to success for brick and mortar businesses.
Benefits of Local SEO
Local SEO allows you to compete with big brands on a local level - and win! When local customers are searching for goods and services, they go to their phones. And your business can be right there, ready to provide them with the product or service they need when they need it.
Here are a few other benefits to local SEO:
- Local SEO is Targeted and Timely: You reach customers when they are ready to buy, not when they are browsing.
- Only 44% of Businesses Have Claimed Their Google My Business Listing: You can be ahead of the curve by nailing down your local SEO strategy before your competitors.
- 88% of Consumers Trust Online Reviews as Much As Personal Recommendations: Most directories share user reviews, which can be an important factor in building trust in your brand.
Claim & Verify Local Listings
The most important step you can take for local SEO is to claim and verify the accuracy of listings in online directories. This verifies you are the business owner and allows you to add or confirm details such as your business name, phone number, hours of operation, website, services provided, and other business details.
Most listings will require you to enter a code from a postcard sent to your business or answer a phone call at your place of business to verify you are, in fact, the business owner.
Top Local SEO Listing Directories
There are hundreds of national local directories, and likely dozens of directories for your specific city. While it is extremely time-consuming, your local SEO success depends upon claiming and updating as many of these listings as possible.
Here are the top directories you should claim for your local business:
- Google My Business (Formerly Google Places)
- Apple Maps
- Yellow Pages
Verify Accuracy & Consistency of NAP
One of the biggest mistakes business owners make is not having accurate and consistent NAP (name, address, and phone number) across all listings. To ensure all your listings are connected to your business, you must make sure this information is consistent.
Be sure to add as much information as possible and use the same format for each listing. For example, do not list your name as "Jacksonville Pizza & Grille" in one location and "Jacksonville Pizza & Grill LLC" in another. The lack of consistency will reduce the benefits of your efforts, as search engines will not identify them as the same business.
Final Thoughts on Local SEO
Simply put, local SEO is vital to the success of your business, and will it only increase in importance as more and more people turn to their smartphones to find businesses near them. However, with dozens of listings, it can be overwhelming for a business owner to find, claim, and ensure the accuracy of all those listings.
Need help managing your Local SEO listings? Our Free Scan Tool is designed to help your business rank in local searches by ensuring all your listings are claimed and accurate. Perform a free scan on your business by Clicking Here!