So, you’ve tackled SEO, but have you reached your local market? Local search optimization, or LSO for short, is an effective way to promote your business services and offerings to potential customers, near them, at the exact time they’re looking for them. 78% of local searches end in purchases being made offline. Many business executives may think, “I have stellar SEO on my website, LSO doesn’t apply to me.” But that statement couldn’t be more wrong. Local SEO is the backbone for multilocation businesses: It’s time you pay attention to your local listings.
Why should you care?
Local SEO is very important for your business especially if you have a brick and mortar store or provide a service to your local community. According to a SearchEngineWatch study, 70% of mobile users click to call a business from local Google search results, so ranking high locally for keywords related to your business is very important. Location-based searches also tend to lead to more qualified customers because they’re near your business and searching for the product or service you provide.
It’s all about the map 3-pack.
With a proper LSO marketing strategy, you can rank in the Google map pack for near me searches and searches related to your location. What’s a map pack? When a prospect conducts a local search, using queries like near me or in *city name*, Google automatically provides a map in the search results. The map shows the top three local businesses near your location, according to Google, for your search query. The reason this map 3-pack is so important is that it appears above all organic search results and is shown in about 30% of all searches on Google. It’s actually the most often displayed feature on Google and appears even more often than featured snippets and instant answer blocks.
It’s important to appear in this map pack because it provides all the information a user needs from their search, so these users will probably not continue to scroll—especially since the map pack takes up most of the screen on mobile devices. These blocks feature all-important information inclusive of business name, phone number, address, reviews (if available), website, and directions.
How it works.
There are three factors that Google looks at when deciding how to rank your business in local searches. These include relevance, distance, and prominence. In short, your website needs to be properly optimized to a user’s search query, your business needs to be in close proximity to the searcher, and your business should have a high authority online and off. The first step is setting up your business on services like Google My Business. Focusing on your NAP (name, address, and phone number) being correct is the most important aspect of your local listings. If Google determines the NAP on your listings to be incorrect, you can kiss your chances of ranking in the map pack goodbye. In your Google My Business listing, you’ll need to provide a business name, business category, NAP data, photos, and reviews.
This is just the beginning, here is a list of ways to increase your local ranking:
- Consistency of business information on listings and your website
- Improve the mobile compatibility of your website, focusing on user-friendliness
- Encourage your customers to leave reviews and manage your online reputation
- Provide as many images and as much information related to your business as possible
Local SEO is a very involved process, but the above is a great start.
It isn’t only about your listings.
Yes, local listings are very important when it comes to your Local SEO, but that isn’t all Google uses to determine where to rank you. Citations also help increase your local ranking. These are high-domain site mentions of your business as related to your location, or when your third-party site listings like Yelp or Yellow Pages include important keywords related to your business. Google can see this and determine that your business is a great fit for local searches for certain queries.
Who is it for?
Local SEO is very important to any local business that serves customers in their community, making it a very important aspect of your overall marketing strategy. Whether you’re in financial services, healthcare, or any business with local offices or stores, your local listings must feature the correct and most up-to-date information. If you care about acquiring customers from your local community, local SEO is simply a must.
If you’re ready to take your multi-location business to the next level in local search results, drop us a line.