Should I Focus on Local SEO?

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Team Finleeds
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If You have a local business then yes, definitely! Even if you have an online business that’s completely digital, choosing to focus on local SEO can be beneficial because of the higher rankings and traffic you will gain from localized search terms.

More and more entrepreneurs are launching digital domains for their physical storefronts or investing in online presence for their businesses. They may already know that Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is essential for their web pages; after all, customers need to be able to find their businesses and enjoy using their platform. However, given a competitive landscape, ranking high on search engine results and reaching a target audience is increasingly difficult.


Fortunately, one type of SEO can significantly increase business visibility: Local SEO. It makes sure they are optimized for a local region and community. This way, any shop or service can rank higher on local search results, generating ideal exposure and traffic. 


Small to medium-sized businesses can benefit the most from a smart Local SEO strategy. They just need to understand what it involves, how it can help them, and how to maximize their results. Let’s take a closer look at these elements below!

What Is Local SEO?

When entrepreneurs launch websites, they are excited about the potential to receive more traffic, convert more customers, and sell more products or services. Yet, in many cases, they do not appear on search engine results pages. They get outranked by more prominent or longer-standing websites. The result? Little to no traffic, poor brand awareness, and frustrated business owners.

Local SEO can make all the difference! Businesses can work to improve their search engine visibility for the immediate area. This involves incorporating localized keyword phrases, establishing name and location across multiple platforms, developing reliable backlinks from local sources, and building social credibility. In this manner, search engines will rank the website for any specific searches conducted near or for that location.

Take, for example, a shop trying to rank for a broad keyword such as “hardware store.” They want to appear on the first page of the results. Still, they have millions of competitors with solid reputations and large customer bases. Unfortunately, they land on the 20th page and never catch anyone’s eye.

Yet, suppose they add Local SEO to rank for “hardware store near me” or “hardware supplies in Savonlinna.” The search engine determines that the specific website, appropriately optimized for the region, fits best with the users’ needs. Thankfully, they rank near the top of the first page on these search results. Residents and visitors can find them quite easily, allowing them to receive more customers on their physical site and webpage.

The Benefits of Local SEO

Local SEO can help many new, small, or struggling businesses position themselves for greater success. Let’s take a look at the main advantages: 


1. Achieving Better Rankings

Search engines, namely Google, organize search results in groups. Users usually see sponsored listings at the top of the page for any given search. These are denoted by corresponding labels, so viewers understand they are paid advertisements. Of course, some keywords and phrases will not result in any ads and start immediately with the second category. The second group is called a snack pack, or the top 3 local businesses corresponding to the search. Then the third category is all organic search results.


If businesses end up in the snack pack, they either receive the highest or second-highest visibility; both are ideal places to be in. So, by paying very close attention to Local SEO, entrepreneurs increase their favor of this excellent ranking. Along with it, they improve traffic, customer acquisition, and sales.


2. Reaching the Targeted Audience

Many businesses refrain from performing Local SEO because they believe it will reduce their reach. In fact, the opposite is true. Local SEO allows companies to reach their target audience most of the time rather than catching their general audience some of the time. All things considered, those are better odds!


When potential customers are looking for a product or service, they want to find a store in their area. In many situations, they are already out and about and searching for a closeby option. These groups should be the target audience, as they want exactly what the store provides and will likely purchase it immediately. 


Since this is the case, showing up as the first few search results is ideal. The user will pick one or two top results and fly with them. As such, Local SEO allows businesses to reach their target audience and convert them to customers immediately.

3. Beating the Competition

One of the best reasons to use Local SEO is to beat the largest competitors. National and international companies may take the lead in general searches. Still, small businesses have a chance to outrank them in localized ones.

In the same vein, it is very important for shops to keep up with similar businesses in the area. If they do not show up on the local snack pack or organic listings, they will have a very hard time performing alongside their local competition. 


4. Developing a Good Reputation

Businesses looking to gain and retain customers need to develop a good reputation. It is both a part of performing Local SEO and a result of impeccable Local SEO. First, one of the ways to optimize local search ranking is to accumulate positive customer reviews, receive favorable press, and build reputable inbound linking. It helps search engines recognize that websites are high-quality and meet individual’s needs regularly.


Second, search engine users are more likely to trust a store with a well-established reputation. Suppose there is more than one source for reliable reviews or recommendations. In that case, they will visit the website, browse the store, and become customers. Furthermore, they will feel more confident leaving their own review or passing along word-of-mouth marketing.


5. Keeping Up with Technology

Today, the majority of people use a mobile phone regularly. Likewise, many enjoy the convenience of using a search engine to find a business at the drop of a hat. Most of these mobile searches are localized, so tapping into Local SEO allows shops and stores to reach these potential customers. 


Furthermore, search engines collect and analyze users’ behavior so that they can optimize their individual search results. Since this is the case, more and more information caters to a specific location. Savvy entrepreneurs will lock in on these digital opportunities with Local SEO.

Local SEO Best Practices 

If businesses sell products or provide services to a particular city or region, there is a good chance they can benefit from Local SEO. Now, they just need to develop a strong plan in order to index for search results, boost ranking, and increase visibility. They may wish to incorporate any of the following best practices into their SEO:


1. Claim Business

The first step is to claim the business on popular search engines like Google and Bing! Entrepreneurs can input their name, address, contact information, operation hours, and website listing. Along the same lines, it is important to ensure all relevant and local directories have the same information. Although a relatively simple task, it will help search engines and potential customers find the business easily.


 2. Incorporate the Right Keywords

It is always important to select the right keywords for the business category, sub-category, and users’ search intent. It allows search engines to match website content up with users’ needs or requests. In the case of Local SEO, keywords or phrases should consider the location. For example, a small pastry shop may use “bakery in [city]” or “best bakery near me” as Local SEO keyword choices. 


Furthermore, many mobile users opt to use voice searches. As voice technology improves, it may be one of the primary forms of local searches in the future. So, opting for long-tail keywords may be ideal. For instance, the same bakery may use a conversation flow in their content and include “the best place to buy pastries in [location].”


3. Develop Local Content

Content creation increases chances of showing up on search engine results, as it allows for multiple searches. If businesses want to optimize their content, they can add local SEO keywords, mention nearby locations, talk about local events or news, or highlight customers and other high-quality establishments. In this way, they can grab locals’ attention and deliver value-driven content regularly.


4. Collect Reviews

Great reviews are important for several reasons, including ranking in snack pack listings, ranking higher on organic search results, and building a good reputation in the community. Entrepreneurs can encourage customers to leave reviews on any platform, although Google Reviews should be a primary focus.


5. Build Backlinks

Search engines look at a reputable backlink like a vote in favor of a higher ranking. Essentially, the more incoming backlinks, the higher a business ranks in organic results.

In Local SEO, this means building links from the city government, community organizations, trade associations, manufacturers and companies, and schools. They may simply list the business, promote a guest post, or provide a feature. As long as it links back to the main website, it’s gold!


Additionally, local businesses could participate in community events, sponsor a community, or partner with a charity. Local press or influencers may call attention to the work, providing a quality backlink as well. 


6. Optimize the User Experience

Businesses should make sure their local visitors have a pleasant user experience. Some may visit from a laptop or tablet; however, many will use their mobile phone. Given this, web developers must ensure the architecture, content, structure, and navigation still work well on a smaller device. Likewise, they should enhance aesthetic appeal, fill missing spaces, fix slow page speed, and repair broken links.

Final Thoughts

If small-to-medium sized businesses want to make the most of SEO practices, they should look to Local SEO for the greatest results. It can help them achieve higher search engine ranks and reach a nearby audience. As such, stores can anticipate increased foot traffic, leads, customers, and sales. They may even see an improvement in customer retention as they gain credibility in their community.

Local SEO is just one of many valuable tools within your grasp. Browse our content to learn more about powerful SEO practices!

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