December 5, 2013
Local SEO is one of the top search engine marketing offerings for 2013, and for good reason – it works. People are using the internet to find the businesses they are looking for. Doesn’t it make logical sense that your company should employ measures to get found where your potential customers are searching?
Recent studies indicate that 39 percent of all searchers are frequently unable to find a specific local business on the internet, even if they know it exists. With a reported 92 percent of people using locally optimized search terms to find businesses online, the numbers indicate a huge gap. Smaller businesses often rely on word-of-mouth and return business to support their company. While this is a huge part of marketing, the times are changing. Local SEO needs to be employed to keep a business afloat and thriving.
Smart phones and tablets have furthered the need for businesses to shine in local search result listings. Many searches performed on these devices automatically return local information because the searcher’s location is geotagged. Many internet service providers provide geotagging through IP Address on desktops as well. The results are typically much more useful to the searcher, so algorithms for search engines have been modified to hold locally optimized information in high regard.
Algorithm changes are a constant part of search engine optimization, both locally and nationally. The most recent change from Google came through the Hummingbird Algorithm. This change is expected to affect up to 90 percent of all searches performed on Google. Hummingbird is especially helpful for searchers who are using long, complex questions in Google search – specifically trying to outline ways to understand the meanings and relationships among search terms. Many of these searches are performed on mobile phones, so the algorithm change incorporates local SEO tactics as well.
Local Can Be Less
Local SEO often costs less, especially when you consider the results you stand to gain. Those who are searching locally are usually the best type of new customer you can find – they are close to your business and doing research to make a purchasing decision.
If you want to supplement your search engine optimization efforts with pay-per-click advertising, it can be beneficial to trend local as well. Local keywords often mean that you will be faced with less competition. With Google AdWords, the keywords become more expensive with their popularity.
Not only will using locally driven terms glean better leads, but they can also save you some money. All search engine marketing (SEM) efforts should be cohesive throughout your campaign. This includes local SEO, online advertising, pay-per-click advertising, social media interactions and content development for your website. Staying local can keep you focused and help produce the quality leads that you need to succeed. With the competitive marketplace that has been created by the internet, if your company is not putting locally optimized information onto the web, you are losing business to your competitors. It really is as simple as that.
Local SEO Tactics Bring Advanced Google Features
Google gives special treatment to websites that feature locally optimized data. This means that a local site often has a better chance of being found than a national site when the user is searching from your company’s geographic location. When your internet marketing campaign includes the use of local SEO keywords (specifically on social media postings and website content) it becomes easier for Google to geographically locate your company and place it with advanced features. Many of these features are tied to Google+, Google’s social media outlet. This means that it is imperative for every business to have a Google+ page that is constantly updated and maintained to include up-to-the-minute, relevant data. Google’s benefits for local content include:
Location map – maps are always good because they are visual content. Visual content pulls readers in and draws the eye. But, the placement of Google’s location map is imperative as well. Placed in the upper right corner of search results, a Google location map listing means that your company is always mentioned in the top of search (above the scroll).
Top scroll listing – this is a newer feature to Google that further highlights local businesses. This listing includes a picture of the business along with review information, and scrolls horizontally across the top of search engine result listings. Again, the visual and above the scroll elements are key benefits to these listings.
Reviews – Sixty percent of consumers consider reviews important when they research a business, and nearly 70 percent of American internet users say they “sometimes” read reviews online before deciding whether or not to visit a brick-and-mortar store. Online reviews drive business and locally optimized data ensures that the searchers looking for you are able to find your business front-and-center on Google.
To get the most out of your search engine listings, there is some work that most likely needs to be done. Google+ (as you can see from the benefits listed above) is a great place to start. Since it is tied to Google, Google+ blends seamlessly into search engine results. The social media tool also provides easy authorship for indexing informational articles that you post online on behalf of your company.
Local SEO is a multi-step operation. Getting your listing complete and correct on Google+ is easily considered the first step. Since a lot of information feeds off a Google+ listing, it is important that it is all current.
- List the best email address and phone number where the business can be reached
- Make sure the legal (official) name of the business is included
- Including other past or current DBA’s is important as well and can help past customers become reacquainted with you
- The full physical street address of your company. This should include any applicable suite numbers. Google will not allow PO boxes or virtual offices for location purposes, so a physical street address is required
- List any other location addresses – note that it is often best practice to open a Google+ page for each location to best support local SEO endeavors.
- Your website URL
Local SEO should never be overlooked. There are some simple steps that company owners can employ to get started, but it is best to work with a full-service internet marketing firm to make sure you are receiving the best when it comes to search engine results listings.
Article by Chris Wing. Powerful local SEO and traffic analysis tools provided by Bay Area SEO Local ensure that you know how your website ranks. Identify the strength and weaknesses of your business website and your competitors to generate a strategic Local SEO program that produces results quickly. Visit: http://bayareaseolocal.com/