The importance of targeted Local SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) is most definitely key to any small business owners across the world who are looking to increase their online business. Those who aren’t engaging in Local SEO activities are more than likely to be left behind.
So why is Local SEO important?
There are several reasons for this, however one of the main ones is that quite simply… Google states that it is! This may seem a flippant answer, but the reality is that like it or not, when it comes to search engines and search engine rankings, Google is most definitely king and is likely to be for a long time to come. Just to highlight the importance that they place on local search, they have recently launched Google + local which has opened the doors for small businesses to spread the word and given them a real chance to compete with large companies.
To illustrate this, I did a simple Google search with the word plumber. The results are shown below and as you can see with the exception of a Paid ad and Wikipedia, the entire visible area is taken up with local business listings.
The second reason is that organic listings are still the main way in which people find a business. In fact studies have shown that 98% of internet searches are done through organic search engine results. In addition, 68% of these result in a user clicking one of the top three organic search engine spots. This proves that for any small business, it’s paramount that they utilise Local SEO methods.
So how do small businesses go about doing this?
By understanding exactly what people are looking for
By having a good understanding of exactly how people are searching for your business type, Local SEO techniques can help you can rank for that particular keyword. For example if you are a mechanic, an electrician or a doctor, then people are probably going to put in a search for ‘mechanic in’ (and then the destination) or ‘cheap electrician in’ (and then the destination again). This kind of makes sense as you wouldn’t want to be ranking for say ‘ cheap mechanic’ otherwise you aren’t narrowing down your target market.
Make use of the Google+ business pages for Local SEO
Google have really helped small businesses by giving them their very own Google + business page. It costs absolutely nothing and once you have been verified Google will start to include you in local listings for specific keywords. With the right Local SEO campaign, a business page can be a really effective tool. In addition other localised business directories such as Citisearch, Thompson or Yell can also be utilised to help get your business noticed.
Encourage online reviews
In this day and age people are savvy shoppers and will actively seek out reviews before they make a commitment to use your services. This means that you should always actively encourage online reviews of your business. Not only do positive reviews give people the confidence to use your services, but in addition, it is an important element of Local SEO as search engines will pick this up and this all adds to increased search engine rankings.
With the right Local SEO techniques in place, it gives smaller businesses the chance to compete on a level playing field with larger corporations, but not only this, if carried out correctly, it gives power to the small business owners who can outrank and outperform their larger business rivals.