Back in the day, it was extremely hard for small companies to make money online. They usually had to compete against larger businesses with massive budgets. So, whether you wanted to pursue search engine optimization or paid ads, there was always someone who could overtake you in rankings.
As Google became more sophisticated, small businesses finally got an opportunity to compete against larger brands. Through local SEO and the power of online reviews, you can become one of the main providers in your city. In a way, this is a form of digital word-of-mouth, where clients promote brands they like.
In this article, we’ll talk more about local SEO, its importance, and all its potential benefits!
What is local SEO?
With local search engine optimization, smaller brands can position themselves at the top of Google without spending too much money on digital marketing.
Unlike traditional SEO, which requires website optimization and content creation, local search hinges on reputation management. In a way, the concept gives an advantage to small mom-and-pop businesses that just want to serve their community. As long as your customers are satisfied with what you provide, you can easily reach top spots in SERPs.
Although you can still manipulate the system by asking people to leave positive reviews, local SEO is fairer than traditional optimization. In other words, a bad company might be able to reach the top spots in Google, but it won’t stay there for long. For a local business to remain relevant, it needs to provide the best service on the market.
How does local SEO compare to other promotional methods?
Your choice of marketing channel can vary depending on your digital marketing strategy but also the size of the company and focus market. For example, international brands don’t benefit as much from selling to the local community as they’re more interested in reaching a global target audience.
On the other hand, local SEO can do wonders for just about any small service business or store.
Every time users search Google in their city, they’re looking for providers close to their physical address. The search engine will list the best nearby options, prioritizing companies based on online reviews. That is, Google gives an advantage to brands that have a much better reputation.
Even if they use other advertising methods, local businesses should always focus on local SEO. This marketing approach is completely free, and you can use it in conjunction with other promotions. You can do a great job just by catering to the local community, being polite, and providing solid service.
10 Local SEO benefits
Nowadays, most search engines utilize some sort of area search. If you’re a local business owner, you can add your company to Google My Business or Bing Places to be shown on the city map.
As already mentioned, optimizing your brand for local SEO is crucial for smaller brands. After adding your brand to appropriate platforms, search engines can determine your physical location and show it to potential customers. Here are all the benefits of implementing a local SEO strategy:
1. Increase organic traffic
The most important thing about local optimization is that it can significantly increase your organic traffic. According to Google, local searches account for 46% of total browsing. In other words, service companies such as bars and restaurants can’t survive without being shown on the map.
Each time a person is looking for a tailor, car mechanic, or dry cleaning, your brand will pop among the top results. Your relevance increases according to the users’ current physical address, so even if you don’t have a great reputation, they can still find you.
2. Increase conversion
The best thing about local SEO is that it often leads to conversion. Compared to the traditional Google search, where people look for information and entertainment, people who browse local results usually have a problem that needs solving. In other words, not only will local SEO boost your marketing, but it will also have a tangible impact on sales.
According to data, approximately 30% of local browsing leads to sales. Most users utilize keywords such as “restaurant nearby” or “handyman in my city.” This indicates they’re not interested in learning about restaurants or handymen. It shows us they’re looking for local companies which they can contact.
Not only does local SEO improve your conversion rate, but it also provides higher revenues per client and faster conversion. People who browse local results are at the last stage of the customer journey and are ready to pull the trigger. Ultimately, local search gives a small business more foot traffic.
3. Higher marketing efficiency
Local SEO and optimization for global results are very different in terms of their efficiencies.
With traditional SEO, you’re catering to an enormous audience from numerous countries. Most of these website visitors aren’t even your potential clients. So, you’ll be spending lots of money to increase organic traffic, a big part of which doesn’t serve any purpose.
As mentioned in the previous section, local SEO is extremely focused. It provides quick results and drives relevant traffic. Furthermore, you can easily pair it with other promotional methods. You can optimize your pages with basic reputation management.
Although you still need to rely on the best traditional SEO practices on your site, you don’t have to pay monthly marketing upkeep. This makes local optimization really cheap, especially if we compare it to something like paid ads.
4. Continuous growth
The main similarity between local and traditional SEO is that once you’re at the top, it’s really hard to take you down.
By getting to the top of search results, you’ll get a steady influx of new clients. Furthermore, the increased online visibility will help your other marketing efforts and ensure continuous business growth. You can sustain your placement with minimal effort and financial investment.
Another thing that’s great about local optimization is that it provides stable results. Unlike some other marketing methods, which can be hit-or-miss, placing at the top of the SERPs will provide similar traffic every month.
5. Digitalize word-of-mouth
Word-of-mouth marketing, or WOM, remains the best way of promoting a small service business.
In part, this has to do with human mentality and our conservative nature. Once customers choose a provider, they’re reluctant to switch to another brand. We are beings of habit, and we would much rather hire a subpar but trustworthy service provider than try someone new.
When you add your company to online directories, you digitalize word-of-mouth. Suddenly, all this chatter becomes public and available to everyone. Clients can comment on your store online, emphasizing good and bad features. This is especially great for quality providers as it allows them to quickly scale their business.
Unfortunately, this can sometimes be a two-edged sword. Local brands are exposed to the reviewers’ scrutiny but can also be sabotaged by competitors. So, before you start adding your business to local directories, make sure you’re acquainted with the best reputation management practices.
6. Increase brand awareness
Adding your business to local search is another way to increase brand awareness. It’s a process that costs virtually nothing, and it can provide enormous exposure if you do things right.
Just by being listed at a specific physical address, potential clients will be aware of your presence. Each time they’re browsing for a similar service, you’ll pop up as one of the results. Even if they don’t act on this information, they will know there’s a neat restaurant nearby, which they can one day visit.
Of course, you can further increase awareness by ranking at the top of the SERPs for local search. Being listed as one of the top local brands also means that review sites will feature you more often. In other words, you can receive incredible direct and indirect benefits.
7. Overcome competition
Based on everything said so far, local SEO is obviously a great way for small companies to promote their brand.
One of the rarely talked about benefits of this approach is that it allows you to leapfrog over the competitors. As the optimal method of promotion, local search can provide much better results than traditional marketing methods. Even if your competitors have many biggest budgets, you can still take them down with quality service.
In fact, there are many situations where small companies invest too heavily in marketing strategies that don’t work. While SMM and PPC have their advantages, they are either too expensive or take too much time to implement. Similar can be said for traditional marketing, which can quickly drain your budget with nothing to show for it.
8. Improve relationships
As other local businesses become aware of your brand, you’ll receive new partnership opportunities. Once you become an authority within a respective field, you’ll get a chance to cross-promote with other companies.
In most cases, reputable local brands get a lot of inbound links. These links might even come from director competitors! Not only can they increase the number of visitors, but they’ll also provide fantastic SEO benefits. Other local brands might also feature you on their social media.
As time goes by, you might get invites to local business events. Each one of these occasions is fantastic for mingling, setting up new partnerships, and learning more about industry trends.
9. Improve your website
In many cases, local brands are unaware of all the issues on their websites. Given that these brands usually gain clients through word-of-mouth, they don’t always rely on their sites to drive customers. You might be suffering some major problems, but you’re not aware of them as you don’t have enough relevant data.
Optimizing your business can actually help you make website improvements. As you gain more traffic, it becomes easier to determine if certain pages are underperforming. You can also analyze your conversion and see if there are some things that require your immediate attention.
By implementing the best practices, you can improve local SEO, optimization of landing pages, social media presence, and overall conversion.
10. Become local leader
The local communities usually want to support local businesses. People understand that these companies can have a positive impact on the neighborhood and its micro-economy.
Unfortunately, many brands are unaware of this dynamic. They’re rarely willing to reinvest in the community, which is a big missed opportunity.
Through local optimization, companies increase awareness and open new avenues to success. With minimal involvement, the residents will perceive them as the industry leaders and will instinctively flock to the brand.
Issues with local SEO
Saying that local optimization is bad or inefficient is a bit farfetched. However, there are still a few negatives that you need to consider:
- Focusing or relying too much on local SEO might have a negative effect on your other marketing efforts. It can be a distraction that could prevent you from getting better results from other channels.
- In a way, listing your company in online directories make you susceptible to the public. A small entrepreneur might do a great job in the local area without ever relying on Google. By listing the business online, he can suddenly be attacked by competitors or receive negative feedback from clients.
- Another issue with online reviews is that customers can reveal sensitive information about your business. For example, reviewers might reveal your prices and other company policies that you want to keep hidden.
- Local SEO isn’t the best approach if you wish to scale your business or reach new markets. Although it can provide incredible results in your city, it won’t do much outside of it. If you wish to go regional, you should start implementing other marketing approaches.
Whatever the case might be, every small service provider and shop can benefit from local SEO. It’s a free method of promotion that only requires your time and isn’t particularly hard to implement.
If you need assistance with your local SEO services, contact MiroMind today!