We have a clear understanding of what local SEO is, so why would a small business owner actually want local SEO?
Think about it for a minute, what is the point of doing local SEO? The main purpose is to connect with new clients to bring in more revenue to your business, that’s why. You are able to connect with these potential customers by ranking on the front page of major search engines for certain local search queries.
Now put yourself in your potential customers shoes for a few minutes and ask yourself “What would I search for to find a [keyword]?”
For all intensive purposes lets use appliance repair as our search criteria. Scenario: My fridge just busted and I need it fixed pronto, I have 3 options to choose from, I can
- Head down to my local retail store such as Sears and purchase a new refrigerator
- Find an appliance repair man that can fix my fridge today
- Try to fix it myself
- Most people, including myself, are going to go with the second option for the following reasons:
- A new fridge is going to be expensive
- I’m going to have to have it delivered since I own a compact car
- I will have to use a rented dolly to haul it inside my home
- I will have to replace the contents of the old broken fridge to the new fridge
- Then I will have to recycle my old fridge
- I’m handy when it comes to fixing SOME things, but I am not about to start taking my refrigerator apart do fix it myself
That’s a lot of work and is going to put a dent in my pocketbook! Therefore, the best route to go is to hire a professional.
After making the conscious decision to find an appliance repairman I’m going to pull out my phone or go grab my iPad and search for an appliance repairman in my local area. I decide to use my iPhone, so I search for “appliance repair Long Beach” on my iPhone, here are the results that I see, below the pay per click ads:
Even if you remove the city name Google will still show local results based on your physical location. I’m going to call both of these businesses and whomever can get to my home first will get my business, as long as the price is reasonable to the other(s) companies that I contact.
There’s a real life example of why a company needs local SEO, if you’re an appliance repairman you would want to be ranking locally for a keyword like “appliance repair.” But what if your industry has nothing to do with the business to consumer model and is business to business?
With a recent change in Google’s algorithm named the Venice update (explained below), Google is incorporating more and more local results based on the intent of the search to the searchers corresponding location. Try it for yourself, go to google.com and perform a search relevant to your industry or niche (try to think like a customer when searching) and look at the results. More often than not, you will see local results in your search in the traditional SERP’s and even Google+ Local results.
Here are 3 reasons a small business needs local SEO:
1. Customers are actively searching for local businesses:
97% of internet users look for local goods and services online.
Source:BIA/Kelsey, User View Wave VII, March 2010.
2. Search engines are giving more “real estate” to local companies:
Improvements to ranking for local search results. [launch codename “Venice”] This improvement improves the triggering of Local Universal results by relying more on the ranking of our main search results as a signal.
Improved local results. We launched a new system to find results from a user’s city more reliably. Now we’re better able to detect when both queries and documents are local to the user.
What Google is saying here is that they are going to be ranking content (pages of your website) more locally. This basically means when a user types in a keyword such as “blue widgets” into the search box and Google deems that search query to have local intent then they will include local results based on the location of the searcher’s IP address or geo-location.
The second quote just shows that Google is dedicated to providing highly relevant results for its users.
3. Mobile search is growing at tremendous rates
Three out of four smartphone users have contacted a business they found on their phone.
Source: Google/Ipsos, “The Mobile Movement: Understanding Smartphone Users,” April 2011 PDF
Mobile Local Ad Revenues to Grow from $664M in 2011 to $5.8B in 2016
Source: BIA/Kelsey Press Release
With this concrete data in front of us it is easy to acknowledge that a good way to get new business is to do local SEO.
What is holding you back from doing your own local SEO?
Blake is the President & Founder of RicketyRoo Inc. He has more than 12 years of local SEO and paid search marketing experience working with a variety of small to medium-sized businesses. He’s a contributor to the Moz Local Search Ranking Factors and speaks at digital marketing conferences about local SEO.