What is “local search”?
You have most likely already heard about SEO, also known as optimization for browsers and you probably also have a good understanding of why it is very important. However, do you have an idea why is local search important for your company?
Local search involves several techniques used for increased visibility of websites in certain geographic regions. This tool is especially useful for small and medium size businesses that rely on local clientele. For them, this tool is much more important than SEO.
Search for phrases, that include the key words “in my area” has risen in recent years by more than 500% and thus local search is nowadays becoming a key aspect of firm’s success. In reality, 97% of internet users browse to find businesses within their area.
Being able to target this audience online is vital to retain competitiveness. To achieve this, you need to make investments into your local SEO strategy. It is the easiest way to ensure your business gains and retains access to your target audience.
Local search vs. SEO:
So, what exactly is the difference between the local search and SEO? In its core, the difference is in geography. The traditional SEO has more to do with whether your web is relevant for some specific searches. Whereas, the local search is aimed at relevance of a certain geographic location in localized browsing. This is mostly important for local businesses that specialize in niche areas of services.
SEO is about using keywords associated with products, services, and individual industries. The keywords in local search are rather associated with locations such as city or neighborhood.
Now let’s discuss an example that will further illustrate the difference between the two. A technician that repairs TVs in Prague would like to reach out to more prospective clients in his area. If he adds additional keywords associated with his profession, it may increase the performance of his web in the whole country but adding these keywords does not belong among the most effective methods for achieving this effect for his type of business.
However, including and specifying the keywords of the location of his business will help Google to better understand how his web is relevant for the browsing users. For example, keywords “TV repairs in Prague” can help browsers understand that his business is about repairing TVs in this specific area.
Usage of the above-mentioned key phrase will help him reach higher level of interest among those who are searching specifically for the repair of TVs in Prague. Being concerned with rating among general searches is usually not very beneficial for small businesses. On the other hand, the people that make specific local search, usually have a real intention of buying the product or service that they are searching for. It is possible to use similar strategies to localize other aspects of SEO.
What aspects belong under local search?
#1 My company on Google
Registering your company in the service “My Company on Google” is crucial! This is the main place where customers and clients can find the main information from the entire web. It is a list of profiles that can be found on the right side in the search results. You can also create profiles on different webs such as Yelp, Bing, or Facebook.
As soon as you register your company on these webs, you can fill the individual categories with information about your business such as description of your services, working hours, images, products, etc. You should aim for very brief entries of information that, at the same time include all information that your customers/clients need to know.
There exist many platforms, webs and services that help informing your customers about your company. It is necessary, that your firm is present on them, but the most important aspect is to keep the information consistent all across.
Name, address, and phone number are the most important. This info should not only be precisely the same across all pages of your website, but also in all entries related to your company on the respective platforms. In case Google finds multiple locations or phone numbers related to the same company, it will not trust this information. And of course, trusted businesses are rated higher than others.
#3 Quality of your web
It’s no secret that quality website will help you to achieve better results in searches. It not only communicates your brand with customers, but it also shows search bots that it is a legitimate business. Web with high-quality pages without interrupted links performs much better in the search results.
Even though it’s true that local businesses usually compete mainly face-to-face, it does not mean web is not important to them. It is because many potential customers/clients look the businesses up online before actually visiting them in person. Your webpages can either go straight into the path of this interaction or they can also totally disrupt it.
Reviews are equally important for businesses. Whether they happen as word-of-mouth or online, reviews of satisfied customers lead to higher demand. 88% of people trust online reviews the same way as personal recommendations. Very often before they decide to visit you in person, they will look for sufficient amount of information online.
You certainly want people talking about your company. It is however difficult to track WOM recommendations. Company managers have fortunately nowadays a unique opportunity to interact with customers and clients via online reviews. You should try to respond to the individual reviews, no matter whether they are good or bad. When the new potential customers read these reviews and see you responded to them, they will know that you sincerely care about their customer experience.
The content that you create gives you an ability to add key search questions to the entire web and at the same time reach out to customers. Do not forget to publish blog posts, articles, videos, and other forms of content that may induce interest in your customers. Show them why your firm provides answers to their questions and solutions to their problems.
By sharing quality content, you will expose more people to your brand. Browser algorithms besides other things also monitor the content on your web. They measure not only its quality, but also how users interact with your content.
If you have relevant and high-quality content others might be tempted to share it among their network. Thus, content you create can hugely impact your business and rapidly increase your customer base.
#6 The future of local search
Many of the SEO trends impact the local search too. Currently growing trend is, for example, voice search. This is caused primarily by the ever-growing presence of intelligent devices at our homes. Users then often use these devices for searching for companies. They look more for specific places in their area versus general browsing on their phones.
In response to this trend the key phrases are changing more towards conversational type of formulation. Therefore, if you would like to be ahead of your competition you can adjust the content of your web to reflect this conversational tone that better matches the characteristics of voice search. It is also possible to expect that browsers will continue to improve and adjust their algorithms to better it the voice search too.
So, what can you do to improve your local SEO?
As it is in case of the classic SEO it is also necessary to count with a continuous effort being put into the local SEO too. Your competitors are always undertaking new steps to improve their position and thus you should also make sure you engage in enough activities that will contribute to retaining and improving the position of your web within searches.