Local SEO is crucial to every small business, making it a facet no one can overlook. Overall, a solid online strategy will help you build authority with customers and attract talent to your company. Explore some of the reasons why local SEO makes such a big difference.
Improving Local SEO Makes Your Business Easy to Find Online
The biggest reason your small business needs local SEO is the fact that it makes you much easier to find online. This visibility will help you attract new customers and potential employees who can make a difference on your team.
People Look for Local Businesses Online
It makes logical sense that it is good for your business to be easy to find online, but many small businesses don’t understand just how important this is. Once you see that people rely on online searches to find local businesses, the need for SEO becomes even clearer.
Did you know that the internet is where most people learn about local small businesses? A whopping 97% of people learn more about local businesses online than they do anywhere else.
Looking at the rise in searches for products or services “near me” also highlights the importance of online searches. In two years, these searches grew by over 900%.
Local SEO and “Near Me” Searches
When optimizing for “near me” and geotargeted locations, one of the most important tips is to make sure that your location information is optimized on your Google listing and website. If someone types “near me” instead of a specific location, Google will use the location of your business and the searcher’s IP address to see if you are close enough to include in the results.
Don’t underestimate the value of optimizing for these “near me” searches. Consider that 72% of people looking for a local business will choose to visit a store that is never over five miles away.
Local SEO Drives Traffic to Your Website
One of the biggest goals of local SEO is to drive traffic to your website. The higher you rank on the search results, the more traffic you will see as you come up in searches. With effective SEO strategies, you will show up for searches relevant to your industry, products, and services, as well as those for your company name.
Why is website traffic so important? Each website visitor gives you a chance to convert a new customer. Considering that 93% of your company’s web traffic comes from search engines, one of the best ways to boost web traffic is to boost SEO.
It Brings in Newcomers and Visitors
Your goal as a business is to get repeat customers, as retaining customers costs less than getting new ones. But you still want to get new customers in addition to local visitors. Remember that visitors can leave positive reviews or recommend you to others, even if they don’t become repeat customers.
It is crucial to be able to bring in new customers, including those who are in town temporarily. Because these visitors don’t know anyone or any business in town, they will turn to online searches. You need to be ready for these people to find you.
Improve the User Experience
You may not realize it, but SEO and the user experience go hand-in-hand. To start, the fact that people can easily find your company online means they can easily find answers to their questions about your business. Maybe they want your contact information, business hours, or location. If they can’t find you online, they can’t get that information. That poor experience will drive them to competitors.
By contrast, when you appear on relevant search results, website visitors will find the information they need right away. Also, remember that user experience is more than just visiting your website; it also includes how easy it is to interact with your brand.
User Experience and Local SEO Have Similar Influences
It is also worth noting that many of the things that will boost your search engine rankings will also improve customer experience. For example, a fast page loading speed and an easy-to-navigate website influence both.
Another common factor is whether or not your website is mobile-friendly. Your website must be mobile-friendly to rank highly, with 69% of online browsing done on mobile devices. So, if your website isn’t mobile-optimized, you will not only hurt your search rankings but also increase your bounce rate by hurting user satisfaction on mobile devices.
It Improves Your Perceived Brand Value
With effective SEO, you make your brand easy to find online. In turn, your perceived brand value improves. For even better results, combine this with other strategies, such as responding effectively to bad customer reviews.
It Makes You More Competitive
SEO has obvious benefits when it comes to your competitive advantage. After all, if you appear higher on the search results than a competitor, online searchers are more likely to visit your website than theirs. This gives you a competitive edge, assuming your website delivers a good user experience and has the information visitors need.
You Need to Be on the First Page
Even if you can’t reach the top position in the search engine ranking for a given keyword, appearing above the fold will make a difference. At the very least, you want to appear on the first page of search results. Consider that 75% of people never even look at the second page of search results.
You can’t guarantee a spot on the first page without local SEO efforts, and if you aren’t on that page, you are missing at least 75% of searchers.
Even if you show up on the second page, that doesn’t mean you would get clicks from the remaining 25% of searchers. 92% of consumer traffic goes to the results on the first page.
Doing Nothing Puts You Behind
A few of your competitors may not realize they need local SEO, but these are few and far between. They may even be struggling. You will never be the only business in your local niche using SEO. At the very least, assume a major local retailer has SEO efforts that can attract customers away from you.
Consider that 61% of companies list improving SEO as their biggest priority. And that figure comprises only the companies who list it as their top priority. It doesn’t account for all the companies making, but not prioritizing, SEO efforts. So, if you don’t prioritize SEO, you will be behind at least 61% of your competitors.
Remember that even the best company needs to be findable to make any sales. Even if your products and services are the best in the area, have the most competitive pricing, or offer something completely unique, it doesn’t matter if no one knows.
If you haven’t made any SEO efforts, you likely won’t be on the first page of search results for your niche. And as we already established, you need to be on the first page.
At the very least, claim all your free listings, especially those on major search engines like Google and Bing. For local retailers, 56% still haven’t claimed their Google Business Profiles, and 82% haven’t claimed their listings on Bing. While Bing is less common, it can still affect your ability to bring in local traffic.
People Prefer to Buy Local
It may seem daunting to compete with the rankings of major companies with SEO efforts in your area. But you have one significant advantage: You are local, and people want to support local businesses. You don’t necessarily have to beat the major multinational corporations in their SEO efforts. You must simply appear close enough to them to be seen. And because you are a small business, customers may prefer you over the larger ones.
Increase Your Conversion Rate
Good SEO will also boost your conversion rate by improving your authority and website traffic. To understand this, think about what happens after someone searches for a business, product, or service online.
88% of consumers interact with a local business within just 24 hours of searching for them on their mobile devices. In other words, if someone searches for you on their smartphone, they are incredibly close to taking the next step toward a purchase. This is shown by the fact that 28% of local searches lead to sales.
Using Local SEO Strategy Is Cost-Effective
On top of everything else, using local SEO is incredibly cost-effective. It is one of the most inexpensive ways to market your company because you won’t directly pay for much, other than some website upgrades that should happen anyway. And more importantly, the results of your SEO efforts last long term, improving their value.
Every small business needs to make local SEO efforts. It will help potential customers find you online, drive traffic to your website and stores, improve your perceived value, and make you more competitive. Best of all, SEO is cost-effective, and many SEO strategies will also improve customer service, such as ensuring your website is easy to navigate.
5 Key Reasons Why Local SEO Is Important