Local SEO for Small Businesses and  Benefits
Tapping into the power of advertising locally can help improve brand name awareness and establish a loyal customer base. However, many businesses fail to tap into the power of online local SEO and drive traffic to their website from people who live in the area. If you fail at nearby promotions, it’s much harder to improve your international presence.
If you’ve ever used Google or another search engine to look up the hours a local company is open, you’ve used local SEO. People often use terms such as “near me” when conducting a search for a local service or product. A huge number of people use local search to find businesses.
How Does Local SEO Help Small Businesses?
According to Social Media Today, around 46% of all Google searches have local intent. A big portion of this may be due to people utilizing mobile devices more while on the run. Whatever the reason behind the surge in recent years, knowing how many look for local businesses can underline the importance of preparing your site and marketing for local SEO.
Understanding SEO isn’t too complicated, but there are some things to keep in mind to find success in this area. Here are some tips and benefits of tapping into the power of local SEO for your small business.
1. Save Money
It’s free to add a Google Business page. It only costs you time and a bit of effort to update your website with local search terms or add a bit of content. You can save money on massive advertising efforts by reaching local people with your SEO.
Don’t rule out the power of social media for local searches. Many people go onto Facebook or Twitter to find companies near them. Add a page and update it frequently. Ask your loyal customers to follow you and share your posts.
2. Segment Your Audience
Research shows around 95% of new product launches fail each year. When you release something new, you want to test the waters and see how it performs with your most loyal customers. You can easily segment your audience into local and worldwide customers.
Reach out to your local fans first. Offer them a sneak peek. Start the buzz with some user-generated content (UGC) such as reviews and photos. UGC can be a powerful marketing tool that reaches the family and friends of the person. Most will live in the same area.
Create buyer personas for each audience segment so you can hyper-target your advertising to each group.
3. Target Ads
You can target your ads to local audiences by tapping into a need specific to your area. Upload the ad to a social media site and narrow your target audience to those who live in your town or surrounding areas.
Narrow the focus even more by behaviours, interests and gender or age. The more targeted your ad, the less money you’ll spend finding qualified leads.
4. Create Local Specific Content
Think about the needs in your area and how they are unique to where you live. For example, if you sell air conditioning units, people in warmer regions are going to be much more likely to buy than in cooler ones. However, there might be a time of year when you can push sales harder because it’s warmer then.
Think about how to solve your users’ pain points. Add content that matches the solution and is specific. “Where to stay in London” is much more targeted than “Where to stay in the UK.”
5. Create Consistency
Make sure information on your business hours, location and contact information is consistent everywhere it appears. If your Facebook page says you open at eight in the morning and Zomato says you open at noon, your customers will wonder what your hours actually are.
Make a list of the sites where you’re listed and go through all of them every quarter to ensure they are all updated and correct to match current policies.
You should also present a consistent look everywhere you appear. If you have a social media page, do you use the same logo and similar images as on another platform? Does it all match your website?
6. Reduce Your Bounce Rate
One of the best ways to improve your performance is by reducing your bounce rate. Targeting local SEO helps ensure the people who land on your page actually want to be there and are interested in what you offer. Your bounce rate will lower if you grab them and keep them engaged.
7. Respond to Reviews
Some experts say never respond to reviews. However, doing so shows you’re engaged with your audience and care. Set a policy for how and when you respond. For example, if the review is positive, thank the person and remind them of your website address.
If someone complains, you’ll need to get a bit more specific and figure out how to fix the problem and reach out to them. You’ll want to respond so others see you are willing to fix issues.
On a local level, you can ask them to come into your store and you’ll make things right. Always follow up online, though, so your reviews reflect any local efforts to fix problems.
Make Local SEO a Priority
An old rule of thumb with marketing is to start local and work your way outward in circles. So you’d reach people in your neighbourhood, then your town, next your region, country, continent and eventually the world. Make SEO a priority so as you expand you have solid practices in place and can offer an excellent customer experience.
About the Author
Eleanor is the founder and managing editor of Designerly Magazine. She’s also a web design consultant with a focus on customer experience. She lives in Philadelphia with her husband and dogs, Bear and Lucy