Local SEO for local businesses

Local SEO is all about improving the visibility of your local business in the search engines (mostly Google) on location-based searches. This when searchers use keywords such as city, province, near me or at events. In these searches, Google uses the (geo)location of the person to display relevant search results in that particular area. If your local business is not shown, you miss out on business. Read further to learn how easy it is to do Local SEO.

Due to the strong growth in the number of mobile devices (more than 50% currently), local SEO has become very important as searches can be performed constantly from other locations. Given that Google always wants to show the best result for the ‘searcher’, the location has acquired an increasingly prominent role. So, are you taking advantage of that? If not, then read further. The key is to understand Google’s way of displaying local results, using the so-called Local 3-pack.

What are Google’s Local 3-pack results?

These are the three local results when searching for a restaurant in Sofia, Bulgaria.

You have probably noticed it yourself in Google: you search for a product or service and at the very top of Google you see a Google Maps map with relevant providers. Searches are called local in Google when a so-called Local 3-Pack is shown: a map with three relevant companies in the area. The name, address, opening hours and phone number of each business are listed below the map: the Google My Business profiles.

With the buttons Website, Call or Route, the visitor is sent directly to the company. Typical searches are, for example, “Optician”, “hardware store near me” or “Butcher Sofia Bulgaria”.With a Google My Business listing you can show current company information. Google My Business is a free tool from Google, and extremely important for Local SEO. It is a must to use this listing if you do local business. This listing allows people to instantly find your business with a local search. This way the opening times, photos and reviews can all be seen. But also if you use Google Maps to plan a route to a store, Google My Business data will be used. Thus, you can receive a notification when the store is closed for example.

The 4 main benefits of Local SEO

Plenty of beer places near me in Sofia, Bulgaria. Which one to choose?

The number of “near me” searches is exploding: Google has seen a 150% increase in mobile searches “…near me now” and 200% in mobile searches “open” + “now” + “near me” in the last two years. According to Hubspot, 34% of “near me” searches via desktop or tablet result in a physical store visit, for mobile search results this is even 50%. In the Netherlands for example, being “near” has increased by 350% in the past two years.

  1. There is less competition
    There is less competition in the local market for two simple reasons. There are fewer suppliers locally than in the entire market. And many companies forget about local SEO. This means that you can still rank well with minimal effort.
  2. Lower costs and more effective
    Because the competition is higher throughout the market, local SEO is often cheaper to outsource. And yet results are often achieved faster with local SEO.
  3. High conversion
    local keywords are more specific. The visitor already has the need and is now looking for a company. The search query is already lower in the customer journey funnel. This means that the customer is more willing to make a purchase. The more specific the keyword is, the higher the chance of conversion.
  4. Mobile Users
    The smartphone is increasingly used for the searches, up to 50% and in some markets, up to even 80%. Because the smartphone often keeps track of the location, it is included in determining the search results. Even if you don’t type in a local keyword, if Google thinks you’re looking for a local business, this local data will be pulled up.

This how you improve your local SEO results:

  • Update the address: Make sure the business address is up-to-date and correct. If your business address hasn’t been updated or added to Google My Business and other online directories, it won’t appear when a customer searches with a business name “nearby” or “in location name“.
  • Be consistent: Make sure your company’s NAP (name, address, and phone number) is consistent across all online directories where you’re located. If there are any discrepancies here, Google will most likely prevent your business from being listed in the local 3-pack.
  • Are you open? The opening hours must be recorded correctly, since this way people have up-to-date information and can possibly make an appointment.
  • Show what you got: Upload good quality photos to give people an impression of your company based on high quality photos. This gives (potential) customers confidence and clears the first obstacle to doing business with you.
  • Are you alive? Inform customers by answering questions. Please note, other users can see these questions and answers. Also, keep posting and make sure new photos are uploaded regularly and people are informed through the post feature within Google My Business. This is a powerful Local SEO tool to use.
  • Let your customers speak: Take advantage of quotes, using a third-party website as a reference point. The quote can include your company’s name, location, or contact information. A backlink to your website is not required. An example of a quote is a food blog that mentions your restaurant as a good place to dine in your city. This helps Google understand that your company is trustworthy. This increases your chances of earning a position in the local 3-pack result.

Local SEO offers huge opportunities for retailers

Especially retailers with at least ten branches and distinctive products and services can create more store visits with their local presence in Google. For companies with physical locations, local SEO is the ideal marketing tool to bring today’s consumers to your store more efficiently. It’s free, you have control over all the data and many competitors haven’t discovered it yet.

Want to do more with Google my Business and Google posts? Check this free WordPress tool or first read our review on this Manage Your Google Posts tooling.

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