There is no way around it – if you’re a local business, or even a national or international business with local stores, you need to pay attention to local SEO. While the traditional search results have long been hard to crack for smaller companies, local search optimisation is by its nature a little less competitive and arguably, a much more valuable prospect for any company with a bricks and mortar presence.
Local SEO IS becoming more competitive though, as Google reduces the size of the local pack and more and more firms turn on to the fact that mobile and voice search drives lots of valuable traffic to local businesses online.
How Does Local SEO Work?
There isn’t just one type of local search – there are three. And you need to know the differences between them and what to include in SEO terms, so you are visible in the right way.
- Intent-Based Local Search – Google knows the search query, but not a preferred location. Google uses data to try and understand the best results to display.
- Inferred Local Search – The Search term doesn’t match the location of the search.
- Contextual Local Search – The search query used is the same as the location of the search.
- When considering the impact local SEO could have on your business and whether or not it’s worth investing in a local SEO strategy, keep in mind that the local pack isn’t just important for your own business profile. It’s key for consumers too.
- Figures from Google show that nearly a third of all mobile searches – and keep in mind mobile device use has now surpassed computer use for shopping and browsing – relate to location. At the same time, two-thirds of smartphone users say they are more likely to make a purchase from a business if their mobile site shows them customised data linked to their location.
- And, just to underline why local SEO is so important, a full 82% of smartphone users say they will use a search engine (it’s a good bet they mean Google) when searching for a local business.
What Are The Most Important Local SEO Ranking Factors?
Local listings are incredibly lucrative for any business with a bricks and mortar location looking to drive more footfall – such as supermarkets, bars, hairdressers, gyms, mechanics and restaurants. Research conducted last year by the LocalSEO Guide found that many of the same factors determine local SEO ranking as general search positions with a few notable exceptions:
Reviews are the single most important local SEO ranking factor. That means you need a good amount of five-star reviews on a regular basis. Reviews mentioning your target keyword and location are particularly helpful. The frequency new reviews are accrued as well as how quickly and often you respond all count too.
Links are another local SEO factor as you’d expect but, there is less expectation that a local business will have a plethora of links from high quality sources (such as a national media outlet). It’s more likely that those ranking well locally have good local links.
Google My Business is also thought to affect local search position so, for each of your physical locations, it’s an absolute must to claim your listing. From there, you should have all profile information, including opening times and address with postcode completed in full. Images should be uploaded (video too if available) and Posts updated often.
Google reviews are also important for local listing success, over and above having a strong overall review profile. Research has shown that the top rated local listings have more Google Reviews that those ranked lower.
Could your business benefit from an improved local pack presence? Speak to our SEO team to find out how Adrac can help.