What Is Local SEO and Why Is It So Important?

A Simple Guide to Local SEO 

Do you know why local search is important, whether it’s relevant to your business, and how to improve your chances of success with local customers and clients? This blog is aimed at giving you some clarity on Local Search Engine Optimisation – with a bit of hard data thrown in. 

What is Local SEO? 

Local SEO is exactly as it sounds. It’s the practice of optimising your online presence to increase search engine visibility with local users.

So, why is local search important? Because 45% of all Google searches are for local businesses. 

A study done by Forbes showed that 95% of people use their mobile devices to perform local searches – out of which 61% called, and 59% visited the business. 

Another study showed that 88% of searches for local businesses on a mobile device either call or visit the business within 24 hours.

Google’s ‘Local Pack’ is the holy grail of local SEO. You’ve seen those three businesses that appear in the box at the top of the search page along with a map and dropped pins… Well, unsurprisingly, they get more clicks and more customers than any links that appear lower down the page. 

The big question is: how does a business manage to get into the top three? It’s all part of a robust SEO campaign, and it starts with understanding Local SEO – how it works and how to play the game. 

If you’re looking for advice and help with improving your Local SEO, Tecmark can help. With over 10 years in the business, Tecmark is a Manchester-based digital marketing agency offering straightforward, no-nonsense guidance and technical know-how to improve your online presence. Contact us here

Do I need Local SEO?

If your business has a local customer or client base, Local SEO can definitely benefit you. 

Some businesses may not realise that they could be drawing in more people from outside their local area using Local SEO. This is particularly relevant for anyone in the catering or hospitality business, where non-local visitors may search from elsewhere before coming to your venue. 

Businesses that typically benefit from Local SEO include:

  • Hospitality – hotels, restaurants, café, bars etc
  • Medical practices – doctors, dentists, clinics
  • Law firms – solicitors, barristers
  • Local Services – florists, plumbers, electricians, hair salons, accountants, fitness centres etc

And you’ll know that you don’t need local SEO if you are:

  • Ecommerce companies
  • Online-only services 
  • Private sellers 

Why is Local Search Important? 

Local SEO helps your business stand out – even if you don’t have a website – and helps drive more traffic to your premises through online leads. 

Since these leads are from people who are specifically searching for products or services that your business offers, they are also likely to give you a high conversion rate.

Searches with local intent are on the rise – with 4 in 5 consumers now using search engines to find local information, and search result information sending a massive 70% of consumers to a physical store

Local SEO also helps drive people’s decisions in favour of your business. The more information they have about your business before they visit, the more trustworthy you are in their eyes. 

Where Do Local Search Results Show? 

Local search results show a selection (Snack Pack or Local Pack) of the top three most relevant results. They appear in a boxed area underneath the pay-per-click ads, accompanied by a map with dropped pins. 

Underneath this box is the regular list of search engine results (organic results). 

Local 3-pack (Google My Business) 

These are the three businesses that appear in the ‘Local Pack’ box at the top of the results page. According to one study, 33% of local search clicks go to Local Pack results, while 40% go to organic search results – so both are still highly relevant in improving your online presence locally,

Google My Business 

A Google My Business profile is completely free and a vital stage of any Local SEO campaign–if you’ve not set one up for your business yet, that should be the next step on your to-do list.

It allows you to register on Google’s ‘business directory’, where you list the important details about your business. These include images, location, address, website address, contact details, opening times and customer reviews. 

If your business’ address is not updated in Google My Business and other online directories, it will not show up when a customer runs a “near me” or “in *locality name*” search.

Organic Search Results

Improving your overall organic search optimisation will help with your Google ranking and raise the likelihood of your site featuring in that coveted Top Three box. 

 

What are the Key Local SEO Ranking Factors? 

The three most important factors, according to Google, are:

  • Relevance: how well people’s searches match with a local listing. Adding detailed business information can help Google better understand your business, and match your listing to the most relevant searches.
  • Distance: how far each potential business is from the location terms used in a search. If a customer doesn’t specify a location in their search, Google will calculate distance based on what is known about their location.
  • Prominence: how well-known a business is, based on information that Google has about a business from across the internet (like links, articles and directories). Google review count and score are also factored into local search ranking – more reviews and positive ratings will improve a business’s local ranking.

How Tecmark can help improve your Local SEO

Our services include Local SEO audit and strategic planning, management of data, local marketing campaigns and content provision in the following areas:

Google My Business (GMB)

Ensuring that your NAP (Name, Address, and Phone number) is consistent across all the online directories you’ve enlisted in. If there are any discrepancies, Google is likely to avoid listing your business in the Local Pack.

On-page Signals 

Listing all the information your customers want to know about your business, including locations, services, address – and making sure that it’s exactly the same as on your GMB listing.  

NAP Citations 

A local citation is when a third-party website (such as a blog, article or review site) lists your business as a point of reference. This could contain your business name, location, or contact info. It does not require a backlink to your website. 

Localised Content 

Blogs are a great way to include locally relevant topics that might not fit in your website landing pages. Localisation can also be used in page content, title tags, meta descriptions and image tags. 

Online Reviews 

In the hospitality industry, you can get a higher Google ranking if you get positive ratings or reviews. This is likely to cross over into other industries in time – so getting great reviews and testimonials into your business directory listing and on external sites is key to gaining prominence.   

Google will include the number of reviews you have when ranking local businesses. While  it doesn’t matter to the search engine crawler whether they are positive or negative, the actual content will certainly affect your customers, traffic, conversions and revenue.

Local Backlinks 

Helping you to develop backlinks from websites like local newspapers, local directories, distributors, suppliers.

 

For all enquiries about Local SEO services and how Tecmark can help drive more customers and clients through your doorway, contact us here

Lydia Rutter
Lydia Rutter
Lydia Rutter is an SEO Executive at Tecmark who joined us in 2019. She has a degree in Public Relations from the University of Oklahoma, and an MSc in Digital Marketing from the University of Salford. She brings us experience in digital marketing for the medical and healthcare industry, and in agency settings.

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