SEO, or search engine optimization, can help businesses improve their rankings on major search engines such as Yahoo, Google and Bing. Local SEO is the process of registering your business with as many local search engines as possible so that your company can be found by potential customers within a certain geographic area. Making sure your business appears properly on those local search pages is critical to your firm being found by those potential customers.
I’ll provide a basic example of how local SEO works: if you are looking for real estate companies on Google, Google will first list the companies that provide these services in your local area; in other words, it automatically becomes a local search. While people often initially seek shopping information online, they are often looking to do business offline. Anything you would traditionally look for in the Yellow Pages would be considered a local search.
If you are looking to improve your local search rankings, there are a variety of techniques you can use, but first you’ll want to examine your goals regarding local SEO. Specifically, what are the benefits to your business to “do” local SEO?
Local SEO will:
- Expand your website’s visibility across popular search engines;
- Increase traffic to your website, stemming from organic and local search rankings;
- Build credibility and trust for your website; and
- Increase your website authority.
So, why does Local SEO really matter? Well, it’s all in the numbers:
- 35% of all Internet searches are local.
- 43% of search engine users are seeking a local merchant to buy something offline.
Simply put, if you are not working on improving your local SEO, almost half of those searching online will not find you – or they will find your competition first!
Even more important is the fact that most people are using mobile devices to conduct local searches. It’s an easy and convenient way for shoppers to locate products and services quickly, as most people carry their smart phone with them everywhere they go.
Again, the statistics don’t lie:
- 40% of Google Maps usage is local.
- 90% of mobile searches are powered by Google Maps.
- 95% of smart phone users have conducted a local search from their phone.
It’s predicted that mobile searches will overtake desktop searches by the end of 2013. According to Google, 2/3 of smart phone users access the Internet at least once a day. (Google calls smart phones “our primary shopping companions”). But perhaps the most significant piece of information is that 94% of smart phone users have looked for local information and 90% of those users have taken concrete action as a result – followed up by phone or email, visited a website or a brick-and-mortar store, or actually purchased a product or service.
What does all of this mean? It means that if you are not actively working to improve your local SEO, you are missing out on improving your bottom line. The question for your website is not whether or not to update our website but integrating your updated website with a local SEO Program.