What is local SEO and why is it so important? The truth is, more people than ever use Google to plan out shopping trips and look for local businesses to support. So, savvy brands are implementing local search marketing strategies to help connect with these customers.
As we approach the festive season, boosting your brand’s visibility locally could be one way to maximise profits – but how can you achieve this? Here in this local SEO guide, you’ll learn how to get that all-important Google featured snippet, and more.
What Is Local SEO?
The name says it all really – local SEO is the practice of optimising your online presence to reach users that are local to you.
With purchase intent, queries like ‘best sustainable beauty brands’ often change to location-focused queries like ‘sustainable beauty brands near me’ or ‘sustainable beauty shops in [location]’, for example.
For these types of search queries, which typically include a location or ‘near me’, search engines understand that the user wants business suggestions based on location, and so that’s precisely what they offer up.
This variation in search intent is precisely why you should consider both standard SEO and local SEO, particularly in the run-up to key shopping periods like Black Friday and Christmas.
Why Is Local SEO Important?
According to recent data, a massive 97% of users have looked for a local business on Google. 54% of us are making these kinds of searches every month, and 12% search as often as every day.
Based on Google searches and reviews, these online queries translate to consumers making 1.5 billion visits to physical locations every month.
On the flip side, the data shows 62% of consumers will disregard a business if they can’t find them online, and with 56% of businesses not having claimed their Google My Business listing, it’s likely a large number of brands are out of touch with their local audiences.
Should Ecommerce-Only Brands Engage in Local SEO?
In the beauty industry and beyond, many businesses are operating solely online. If this describes your brand, you might be wondering: is there any point in looking at local SEO?
If you lack a physical store, you obviously can’t tap into local SEO’s key benefit – an increase in foot traffic from your local audience. However, it’s important to maintain consistency of your NAP (name, address, phone number) across your website, Google profile, social media and other online directories, and you can achieve this with local SEO. Attention to NAP detail is essential because even the slightest slip-up could throw a wrench in your rankings.
Additionally, displaying your office address on-site and on Google acts as a trust signal – it gives your audience some context about your business. For people who live nearby, this could encourage a purchase online.
How to Improve Your Brand’s Local SEO
When it comes to competing on Google and gaining that coveted top spot, we have three main tips.
1. Set Up a Google My Business Listing
Google My Business (GMB) is a free profile that gives business owners the ability to manage how their business appears on Google Maps and Search.
With GMB, you can update your information and business imagery, respond to reviews, keep customers up-to-date and more. To Google, it’s a verification tool, and a properly set-up GMB will improve your brand’s visibility for local searches.
With local search results, the top three most relevant results (as judged by Google) appear in a boxed area underneath the pay-per-click ads, accompanied by a map with dropped pins. Underneath this box is the regular list of search engine results (organic results).
Companies that outrank their local competition have a significant advantage, as 24.4% of all clicks go to the first result of local business searches.
If you’re unsure how to set up Google My Business, you can find more information here.
2. Make On-Site Improvements
With some basic tweaks to landing pages on your website, you can improve your local SEO:
- Ensure the address listed on your website matches your Google My Business listing exactly.
- Optimise URLs, title tags, headers, meta descriptions and content for local keywords.
- Consider adding location pages to your website which include all of the information available on your GMB listing.
- Write about relevant local news on your blog to attract a local audience.
- Make sure your website is mobile-friendly.
3. Get Into Local Directories
NAP consistency is the key to quality local SEO. So, each time you list your business’ name, address, and phone number (with its area code), keep them identical across the board.
Yelp, Yell.com, and Thomson Local are good directories to start with. Then, take a look at which others exist in your local area.
Our Top Local SEO Tips
Tick off each of these additional tips to help improve your business’s visibility in local Google searches.
Enter Complete Data
When judging the most relevant results for each search, Google prioritises businesses with complete and accurate information as these are easier to pair with relevant searches.
Verify Your Location(s)
You can bulk manage 10 or more locations of the same business through the GMB Agency Dashboard. ‘Distance’ is a ranking signal Google uses to determine local ranking, so for the best opportunity to appear across Google’s products, ensure all your brand’s locations are verified.
Keep Opening Times Accurate
Give searchers (and Google) confidence that your location will be open when consumers visit. Maintain and update your opening times – you’ll want to include special hours for holidays and events, too.
Respond to Reviews
Show you value customer feedback by interacting with comments and reviews – both positive and negative. High-quality, glowing reviews will encourage more visits, but equally a positive outcome to a negative review will show your customers (and Google) that you care.
Now in terms of ranking this one may not be as important as the other factors, but adding photos is a way to tell your brand’s story and sell in your establishment before consumers visit.
Want a Helping Hand with Local SEO? We’ve Got You
If you need a guiding hand to help improve your visibility and make new connections locally, we can help. We’re beauty brand experts, and our local SEO services will drive more traffic to your store – and your site, too.
Contact us today so we can chat about your brand goals and how to get you there.