Local SEO – Why does it matter?

By Loran Simon | Our Service

Local SEO is more important than ever. Google estimates that roughly 73% of all online activity are searches for local products and services, with nearly half of all google searches having local intent.

In 2017, the most common way consumers found out about a small business for the first time was through online research

If your website doesn’t show up in local search, or if you’re not appearing on the first page (and nowadays above the fold), then users will be less likely to chose you. According to published research the internet (37% of the population) now beats even word of mouth (35%) as the most likely source of new customers for local businesses.

As one pundit put it: “if customers can’t find you there, you effectively don’t exist.”

So, if you are not paying attention to your local SEO, then you are seriously eroding your fortunes online and masking your business from a substantial source of new customers.

So what is local SEO and why does it matter?

Local SEO helps businesses promote themselves online to local customers within a geographic area. If google senses local intent in a search query, it will serve up results with local companies.The inclusion of geographic factors in a search query, even if this amounts only to ‘near me’ means that organic SEO isn’t enough to rank.

One of the unique things about local SEO is that there are two different ways to rank.

  • The local pack (including the top three google map results for a local search)
  • Localised organic ranking (traditional SEO with a geographic/local focus in terms of keywords and backlinks)

What influences where and how you rank are actually quite different but broadly speaking Google determines: relevance, distance, and prominence.

The only 2 factors in your control therefore are relevance and prominence, given you can’t change where you are based. Enter Local SEO.

Thanks to Moz we can take a granular look at what constitutes these factors and we quickly learn that it's the same eight factors for both types of ranking. The only difference being how each are weighted.


Source: https://moz.com/local-search-ranking-factors

If you want to improve your ranking in one, either or both and benefit from the added visibility your business will receive in terms of local search results then having someone manage your local search is a no-brainer.

The next question of course is what can be done to improve your Local SEO?

Here are some of the most pertinent steps you should take to improve your local SEO:

  • NAP Citations –  (Name, Address Phone Number). NAP errors cost your business eyeballs. Ensure your business’ name, address and phone number are the same across all of your online assets: your website, social profiles, and Google My Business/Bing listings
  • Local directory listings – Claim and verify all listings on local directories including Yelp, Superpages, Foursquare, Yellowpages, Thomsonlocal, Scoot etc
  • Reviews – Reviews are key in local SEO. Devise an approach to regularly solicit reviews and leverage social media to garner, publish and respond to more reviews - the good and the bad.
  • Focus on mobile - prioritise the mobile experience and enable click to call. Google will rank you better if you do.
  • Localised on site content – relevant on-site content is key to any SEO but if your local SEO includes unique geo-targeted service pages, including maps with your location - these will support your local search ranking\
  • Build local backlinks - Focus on local listings with the highest organic ranking. These are usually the sites that show up right below the local pack on Google.
  • Schema markup – local business schema (tags and micro data added to your HTML) gives search engines a clearer supply of local information about your business and will improve the the way search engines read and represent your page in SERPs.

Local SEO is a must for local businesses. If you’re not doing SEO and that includes local SEO effectively, then you are greatly limiting a significant stream of potential new patient enquiries.  If Google can’t see you, or if you’re not doing the things Google expects of you to signpost your presence and authority then your customers won’t find you either. Managing your online real estate, which includes directory listings, citations and review is key to boosting your visibility and local search ranking.

Let us audit your presence. By understanding your current status we can plan how and where we need to improve your strategy to consistently rank well for all local searches. To talk to us about Local SEO or any other aspect of your digital marketing strategy, then PLEASE BOOK A CALL HERE

In next week’s blog, we’ll look at practical steps to audit your local SEO. Stay tuned.

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About the Author

After generating more than 85,000 patients for our own dental lab, and for the clients of our digital marketing agency for dental practices, I cracked the code for running successful online marketing campaigns.