Local SEO is a term that’s gaining a lot of attention these days.
For a while, many companies assumed that the best way to take advantage of the digital world was to focus on global sales and customers. After all, the virtual landscape breaks down the barriers between countries and states. With the right website, you can sell products to anyone, anywhere.
However, just because you can take your business global, doesn’t mean you should ignore the customers that are close to home. Local SEO is how you provide your potential customers with the information they want when they need it most.
In today’s age of voice search, local queries are becoming increasingly crucial during the later stages of the buying cycle. At the same time, customers are spending more time searching when they’re on the move. Around 80% of all local mobile searches now result in a purchase.
Here’s your guide to local SEO, and why your company can’t afford to miss out in 2020.
Why Is Local Search Important?
Local SEO is the process of optimizing a website to be found in the local search results.
In other words, you don’t just rank for digital marketing company; you rank for:
- Digital Marketing Company Near me
- Los Angeles Digital Marketing
- Digital Marketers in LA
Adding a local edge to your search engine optimization strategy helps you to capture the attention of a very specific audience. After all, while someone searching for “digital marketing” could be looking for anything from a definition of the term, to the latest tips, the intent of the search changes in local format. If someone’s looking for a “Digital Marketing Agency near me” online, there’s a good chance they’re already half-way through their buying cycle.
They’re ready to find a company that they want to invest in. 50% of people who conducted a local search went to a physical store within one day in one study.
While local SEO has always been valuable, it’s grown increasingly crucial in the modern landscape. Trends like voice and mobile searching, combined with updates in the Google algorithm, have shifted the focus from global to local searching. 46% of Google searches are now for local businesses.
Here’s why no business can afford to ignore local SEO in 2020.
1. Proximity is Becoming Crucial to Customers
71% of people say that searching for the location of a business is a crucial part of their buying journey. According to Google, searches for products and services “near me” have increased drastically in recent years. Google data has found that variations of “to buy” have also increased by 500%, indicating that proximity is essential to moving customers along the buying funnel.
Hyperlocal targeting strategies are giving marketers opportunities to capture the attention of niche customers. When given the option to select a product from a nearby company or someone located halfway across the world, most customers will choose the closest option. After all, local brands aren’t just convenient; they’re also easier to trust than their counterparts.
- Prioritize your search engine strategy to include phrases like “near me,” or “to buy” could help you to earn the attention of customers that are already deep in their buying journey.
- Include the name of your towns, cities, and states in various product and service pages on your website.
- Claim your Google My Business listing so people can find maps and contact information when they search for you online.
2. Local Voice Search is Increasing
Voice search is probably one of the biggest trends driving the success of local SEO these days. The smart speaker market may still be young, but it’s powerful. Over one billion voice searches now happen every month. What’s more, BrightLocal research suggests that 75% of the customers who own a smart speaker are using them to search for local companies each week.
Frequently, searches made for local businesses via voice are used to make reservations at pubs, bars, and restaurants. However, you can access the benefits of the growing voice search trend no matter what kind of business you run.
All you need to do is start thinking about how you can rank for voice queries. For instance:
- Choose long-tail keywords that sound more like natural speech to rank for;
- Answer common questions in your content, like “where can I find a local [service]?”
- Target the featured snippets on Google. Featured snippets are a vital source of voice search information. To access these areas, make sure that you answer customer questions quickly and concisely while building your domain authority.
3. Online Mentions Are Becoming Crucial
Another reason why it pays to “go local” these days, is that online brand mentions are becoming more essential to rankings. Google is now using online brand mentions as a relevant part of its algorithm.
So, what does that have to do with your local SEO?
If you can encourage other local companies and individuals to mention your brand online, then you can boost your chances of earning domain authority. Everything from mentions from customers that leave a review on a Yelp page to mentions on local partner pages can help.
Google wants to pay more attention to companies that have a stronger reputation with its public. You can curate mentions by:
- Encouraging your customers to leave reviews and testimonials on your website, social media pages, and local forums or ranking pages.
- Collaborating with other local brands. Getting involved with other companies in your area will unlock new opportunities for sales while enhancing your SEO.
- Working with the press. Contact local newspapers, magazines, and even industry forums and ask them to report on your latest accomplishments and press releases.
4. Google is Monetizing Maps Space
Another reason why local search engine optimization has grown increasingly popular this year is that Google’s algorithm strategy is changing. Google has begun to monetize spaces in the local search and Google Maps spaces. In other words, you can now pay for ads in more than just the search results.
If you already have a local SEO strategy in place to improve your chances of organic rankings, a PPC campaign could boost your chances of even more sales. While natural solutions are great for driving long-term traffic to your site, paid ads can help to earn you some of the initial attention you need when your business is still growing.
Remember, to make the most out of your monetized and organic SEO online; you’ll need to ensure that you’re actively managing your Google My Business Account. In the new age of search, 64% of consumers are using Google my Business to find contact information for local businesses. Additionally, 50% of marketers already say that the Knowledge Panel on Google has an impact on their rankings. Make sure you:
- List all of the correct information about your business on your knowledge panel schema.
- Ensure that you take advantage of new maps and local ads whenever they’re available.
- Answer customer questions on your Google My Business page with the “Questions and Answers” section.
- Combine your paid and organic search strategies to earn more attention online.
5. Mobile Search is Essential
Finally, smartphones are at the heart of the growing demand for local search solutions. 52.2% of all website traffic around the world was generated through mobile devices in 2018. In a world where your customers are always on the move, they’re more reliant on local searches than ever before.
When your customers are walking through the high street or sitting in the back of an Uber, going to their next destination, it’s convenient for them to search for what they need using their smartphones. That means that more often than not, they’ll be looking for answers to their questions that have been optimized for local results. To appeal to the new mobile landscape, make sure you:
- Always consider local terms in your keyword strategies. Take advantage of the “near me,” and geographically labeled searches that your customers are using.
- Keep your website mobile-friendly. Make sure that your site loads quickly on any device. Additionally, ensure that your images are mobile-friendly by keeping file sizes small.
- Get the formatting right: When you’re building your website, make sure that bottoms and links are easy to click on small screens.
Some companies with local presences in various towns and cities are even making it easier for their customers to connect with them by creating their own mobile apps. After all, the amount of time spent on a mobile device jumped from 88 to 203 minutes a day between 2012 and 2018. Mobile apps can help you to convince your customers to spend more browsing time with you.
Don’t Underestimate Local SEO
The internet may be the perfect way to reach a global audience, but that doesn’t mean that bigger is always better. While it’s nice to cast a wide net with your marketing strategies, a local SEO campaign could help you to reach a smaller, but more valuable audience. After all, your local customers are more likely to be searching for instant solutions to their problems and quick purchasing opportunities.
Simple strategies like claiming your Google My Business page, considering your approach to mobile search, and optimizing for voice search could significantly improve your conversions in 2020.
With a holistic local SEO strategy, you’ll be able to set yourself apart from the crowd, capture your customer’s loyalty, and make a severe profit this year.
What are you waiting for?