What is Local SEO? Why is Local Search Important?
Local search is very powerful and half of all searches on Google have local intent. Since Google handles over 3.5 billion searches per day, local search accounts for billions of searches every day.
When searching for a local product or service, most people go to Google and do a local search. Google then presents the local search results page and the customer selects a business.
A local SEO strategy is therefore essential for a local business to be found by customers who are searching online for products or services in their local area.
As of January 2022, Google holds 85.55% of the worldwide desktop search market, while Bing holds 7.61% (Statista). Therefore, most of the focus of local SEO optimization is optimizing a business listing to improve its local search rankings on Google.
What is Local SEO?
Local SEO is a SEO strategy that improves the local search visibility of a business in a specific geographic area.
Local intent is shown when a search query includes a term like “near me” or includes the city location. For example, “restaurants near me” or “restaurants in dallas”.
What is the difference between Local SEO and Organic SEO?
Organic SEO (search engine optimization) is focused on improving the organic search visibility of a website for searches that have a national or global focus.
Organic SEO results are shown below the Google ads on the Google SERP (search engine results page).
Local SEO is focused on improving local search visibility in a specific geographic area surrounding the business.
On Google, local search listings are shown on the Local Pack, Local Finder, Google Maps as well as on the localized organic search results that are relevant to the local area.
Organic SEO is focused on prominence and a strong organic SEO presence can positively influence local SEO rankings.
Why is Local SEO important?
A local SEO strategy is essential for a local business to be found by customers searching online for products and services in their local area.
It is important to build a strong local SEO presence on Google since it has the largest share of the search market with billions of local searches each day.
Here are some statistics that show how important a Local SEO strategy is for a local business.
• Searches for “open now near me” have grown globally by over 400% YOY. (2022 Retail Marketing Guide, Google)
• 46% of all Google searches are seeking local information. (GoGulf)
• 72% of consumers who did a local search visited a store within 5 miles.(WordStream)
• 18% of local searches led to a purchase within 1 day. (Think with Google)
• 4 in 5 consumers use search engines to find local information. (Think with Google)
The graph from Google Trends shows the growth of “near me” searches from 2017 to 2022.
Who should use Local SEO?
A local SEO strategy is important for any local business that has a physical location or serves customers in a specific geographic area.
- Local businesses with physical locations
- Medical offices – doctors, dentists, physical therapists etc.
- Legal offices
- Real estate offices
- Brick-and-mortar retailers & more.
- Brands and franchises with many locations
- Service-area businesses that serve customers in their homes
- contractors & more.
How does Google determine local search rankings?
The three main factors for local search are relevance, distance and prominence.
While the details of Google’s search algorithms are not disclosed, Google uses a combination of these factors to determine which local search results to show.
Relevance refers to how closely a local business profile matches the words used in the search query. To increase relevance, update your Google Business Profile with accurate business information and the correct business category. Other relevance signals include website content, on-page SEO optimization & review content.
Distance is obtained from the distance of the business from the location specified in the search query. If a location is not specified, Google may use zip code location or geocoordinates to determine distance.
Prominence depends on how important a business is compared to the competition. To measure prominence, Google uses information like number of links, website mentions, number of reviews, review score and organic search rankings.
Where are local search results shown?
Local search results are shown on the Google SERP on the Local Pack, Local Finder, Google Maps and on localized organic results.
A Google Business Profile( previously Google My Business) listing is required for being listed on the Local Pack, Local Finder and Google Maps. You should optimize your Google Business Profile and keep it updated with accurate business information.
1. Local Pack
The local pack is the listing of three local businesses that are shown at the top of the first page of search results for a local search. The local pack may also have some local search ads. It is usually shown with a map and pins for each business. If there are Google Ads shown on the page, the local pack will follow the ads.
Being listed on the local pack is a highly targeted local SEO goal for a local business. Businesses featured on the local pack gain a lot of additional visibility on the first page, and get more clicks and website traffic.
A study by Brightlocal found that if local service ads were present on a page, local pack result 1 got 16.1% of clicks and local pack result 2 got 10.4% of the clicks on a page. When local service ads were not present, the CTR increased to 17.3% for local pack result 1 and 12% for local pack result 2.
The local pack shows additional business information that is not shown on the organic SEO results. This information could include review counts, review ratings, address and customer comments.
2. Local Finder
The local finder is the list of additional local businesses that is displayed when you click on “More Places” at the bottom of the local pack. This is a list of several pages of local businesses along with a map and pins for each business location.
3. Google Maps
When you click on the pin of a business on the map shown in the Local Pack or Local Finder, you get additional information about the business. This information is taken from the Google Business Profile of the business which is displayed on the left along with a map showing the business location on the right.
4. Localized Organic Results
The localized organic results are the list of blue links that are shown in the organic SEO results beneath the Local Pack. These results are customized to the location of the searcher.
How to Improve Your Local SEO Rankings
To improve your local SEO rankings in the local pack and local finder, focus on improving the top local search ranking factors.
- Optimize your Google Business Profile – 36% of ranking signals
An optimized Google Business Profile is the most important factor for local SEO. According to the 2021 Local Search Ranking Factors by Whitespark, the Google Business Profile accounts for 36% of the local search ranking signals. Keep your business listing up to date and accurate with the correct business information, primary business category, address, keywords, posts and images.
- Reviews – 17% of signals
Reviews are a key ranking signal for the local pack and help customers build trust with the business. Make it easy for customers to leave reviews on your Google Business Profile.
- On-page signals – 16% of signals
On-page SEO optimization of your website helps to determine relevance and counts for 16% of the ranking signals. Ensure that the URLs, title tags and content on your website are optimized and locally relevant. The name, address and phone number (NAP) of the business should be listed on the website. Create content and blog posts on local events. If your business has multiple locations, add location pages to your website listing the NAP for each location.
- Inbound Links – 13% of signals
Link signals are 13% of the local pack ranking factors. Get inbound links to your website from relevant and authoritative organizations. Get listed on local directories. Use guest blog posting and sponsorships and reach out to local businesses to gain links.
For more tips on improving your local SEO rankings, read our post on 10 Ways to Boost Local Search Rankings.
What are the Benefits of Local SEO?
Having a strong local SEO strategy has many benefits for a local business.
It can help,
- Increase search engine visibility for your business by ranking in the local pack, local finder or Google Maps.
- Reach more customers who are searching for products or services in your local area.
- Build brand recognition.
- Increase clicks to your website.
- Drive more website traffic from your target customers.
- increase leads and conversions including phone calls, sales, newsletter signups, contact form submissions.
- Provide up-to-date business information on your Google Business Profile and collect customer reviews.
A local SEO strategy is essential for a local business to reach customers in their local area. Local search is powerful and accounts for billions of searches on Google.
Optimizing and verifying your Google Business Profile is the most important step to improve the local search visibility of your business. Having a verified Google Business Profile is a requirement to qualify your business for the highly visible Local Pack, Local Finder and Google Maps.
By focusing on improving the top local search ranking factors, you can improve your local search visibility on Google and get ahead of the competition. If you need assistance with improving your local SEO rankings, we can help.
Need Help With Local SEO?
If you need help with local seo, please contact us. We help businesses with digital marketing services including Local SEO, SEO, Google Ads PPC Marketing, Web Design & Development and Digital Marketing Consulting services. We are located in Plano, TX outside Dallas and serve businesses in the USA. Contact us at https://goldmangodesign.com
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