- Mobile is taking over desktop in the number of Internet searches and webpage visits.
- Local SEO strategy is key in fighting conglomerate marketing engines.
- Online local directories continue to be an important way to attract customers.
Since its release in July 2014, Google’s algorithm update “Pigeon”, has shown more relevant and accurate search results for local businesses. The update reflected changes in both Google local and Google organic web searches. Rankings will still be factored by a brand’s history, authority and relevant content, it will now also factor in location and proximity of the search. Gone are the days of a search producing the same results whether you are searching in Williamsburg, Virginia or Tokyo, Japan.
It will also benefit small business owners, who do not have the resources, time and money to compete with big corporations that spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on SEO. Google has always provided free online tools and applications including Google Analytics, Webmaster Tools and many others for the sole purpose of giving small business owners the ability to increase their visibility online. This is only the start of many things to come from Google with its increased push to cater search results for your specific location.
Every year, the percentage of online searches from mobile devices has grown. In 2015 it is estimated that 50% of visits to websites are coming from mobile devices. A majority of mobile searches are performed while on the go and new gadgets and “wearable devices”, including the Apple Watch, will only increase the amount of users performing searches on the go with more immediate search needs. As a result, proximity-based searches will start becoming more popular with local search results based more on a narrow specific location, rather than a larger region.
With competition increasing, small business owners are forced to find smaller target niches in order to achieve relevant visibility. The most efficient way to do this is by optimizing locally. As mentioned above, the increased amount of searches performed on the go has resulted in searches with specific locations ranking better than regional locations. Local SEO will only continue to grow in importance as competition continues to increase.
Where Do I Begin?
Beginning a local SEO campaign is not difficult, but it does take time and effort to be able to fully implement. Follow the steps below on how to begin your local SEO campaign.
- Local citation: The first step is to make sure your business is listed accurately and appropriately. Claiming your local business profile on local directories and review sites such as Google Business, Google+, Yelp, TripAdvisor and any others that are relevant for your business.
- Correcting business information: Once you have claimed your business profile look to ensure that your name, address and phone number are all accurate. If Google notices a small discrepancy between two different sources, your local authority could drop as a result.
- Local content and relationship building: Once you have corrected any inaccuracies and they have been verified for accuracy, you can begin the process of optimizing your content for local relevance. For blog articles, you can include the name of your city, region or neighborhood into the post title, meta title, alternate page description and in the content of the article. Most website editors give you access to the meta title and alternate description (what search engines will usually show to users in a search engine results page).
- Local reviews and ongoing management: Lastly, try to encourage your current customers to post reviews about your company on the profiles you claimed in the first step. While buying or soliciting reviews may prevent reviews from accumulating on your profiles, you can let your customers know that you’re on these accounts and that you value their feedback. Once you have a review, don’t forget to check and respond to these reviews regularly. Showing people who read your reviews that you are engaged is a great sign to them that you actually care what your customers think.
Local SEO is taking off; are you coming along for the ride? With major corporations having a national presence on search engines and new businesses and businesses that don’t even have a physical location seeking a piece of the pie, local SEO is going becoming a necessity in achieving visibility in a crowded Internet world. With all of the other hats you wear, you may be looking for expert assistance. Proximo Marketing Strategies can help you get started by designing and executing a well-formed local SEO strategy that has long-lasting results. Contact us for a free evaluation and we’ll tell you how you stack up to your competition in search results and what you need to do to overtake them once and for all.