What is local SEO?
Local SEO is a way to use search engine optimization for your local business, helping you show up in more local search results on Google and other search engines.
If your business has a Google Business Profile (formerly Google My Business), then local SEO can also be used to help your small business rank higher in the Google Map Pack – the list of local businesses directly under the ads on the first page of Google.
Local SEO is also implemented to help your business show up higher in the search results – aiming for that coveted first position on the first page of Google.
Why local SEO is important for small businesses
Your business needs a steady stream of new customers. There are several ways to go about getting new leads and customers. Your business could run Google Ads, which is paying Google to show your listing at the top of the SERPs (search engine results page).
The other option is to use local SEO to show up more often on the first page of Google, and ideally in the map pack.
Which is a better strategy? That depends on how quickly your small business wants to see results. Running ads is like a sprint to the finish line; local SEO is more like running a marathon. Ads cost money and when you stop paying, your traffic stops too.
With local SEO, it’s a slower process but it’s a free strategy (unless you hire someone to manage your local SEO campaign). Even if you choose to pay for local SEO, it will generally cost less than running ads.
Another option is to do both – run ads while building out your local SEO campaign.
How To Implement Local SEO Into Your Small Business
There are several components that make up a quality Local SEO campaign. These include:
- Optimizing the on-page SEO of your website
- Optimizing your Google Business Profile (GBP)
- Selecting the correct category for your GBP
- Responding quickly to new reviews & questions on GBP
- Researching the keywords your potential customers are searching for
- Building content around those keywords
- Producing regular, quality content (Google Posts, blog posts, new images & video, etc)
- Building backlinks to your website
- Building citations online for your business
- Building a local SEO “silo” for your business
As you can see, creating a quality local SEO campaign has many components and can take a little time to start seeing results. However, once you start building momentum with these efforts, Google will start rewarding you with more potential customers.
What You Can Do Today
If you plan on using Local SEO to drive more traffic to your website and calls to your business, there are several things you can do today.
First, if you don’t have a Google Business Profile, you need to set that up. It’s easy and takes about five minutes to claim your business. Google will need to verify your business by sending you a postcard to your listed business address – this can take 5-7 days to receive so claim your business first before doing anything else.
You’ll be asked during the setup process to select a business category. Type in your business niche and see what categories are available. You can always change your primary category later if you choose.
Once you’ve verified your business, it’s now time to make sure everything is filled out completely. This includes your business hours, website link, customer accommodations (if applicable), and your business description.
You’ll also want to add your cover photo and logo, along with some images of your team. Adding images and video is important and will help potential customers see your business in action, or the final results of your service(s).
The last thing you’ll want to get started doing is getting reviews for your business. Reviews provide potential customers social proof that you are a legitimate business, and allows them to read what others have to say about your business. Google will also start showing your listing more often in the map pack when you are receiving regular reviews.
Don’t be intimidated by all the components that make up a local SEO campaign. Yes, for maximum results, you’ll need to put some time and effort into this, however, by starting with your Google Business Profile and getting it optimized – you will see an increase in website traffic and calls.
Claim your Google Business Profile HERE
Tips on choosing your Business Category