Local business SEO* is a variation of SEO. It is the process of optimizing your online presence to attract more business from relevant local searches. By contrast, SEO is optimizing for relevant searches without the location qualifier. The way it works is that people search for products or services for sale in their geographic area to find a local business selling what they are looking for. A list of results then shows up on the Search Engine Results Page (SERP). Local SEO increases your business’ ranking results and visibility on location-qualified searches.
*SEO stands for search engine optimization, which is the digital marketing work that a business or digital marketing agency does to optimize content in a way that increases ranking on relevant SERPs.
What do local business searches look like?
A local business search is a search for a product or service with a location qualifier such as near me, a city, county or zip code. For example:
- SEO agency Bellingham
- Bellingham digital marketing agency
- Online marketing agency near me
- Local SEO marketing agency 98226
The search engine reads the Geo qualifier and the product, service or business type and returns organic results in maps followed by a list of results of relevant local businesses in ranked order. Note that Google displays paid ads at the top of the page and it is common for large Seattle-based businesses to pay to show up in the paid ad section before organic Bellingham search results.
Why is Local business SEO important?
If your business depends on local customers then local business SEO is incredibly important to your success. For example, a restaurant with one location.
According to a report from Hitwise, almost 60 percent of all online searches are now done on a mobile device, with the food and beverage sector hitting 72 percent. In addition, data from the Pew Research Center, finds that 46 percent of the searches on Google are local.
According to a study by Forbes, 95 percent of smartphone users have used their device to perform local searches; 61 percent of those people called the business and 59 percent visited in person. In addition, a SearchEngineWatch study found that 70 percent of mobile users click to call a business directly from a Google search result using their mobile phones.
We also know that most web users won't look beyond the first five listings on a search engine results page. According to a 2014 study from Advanced Web Rankings, more than 67 percent of all clicks made from SERPs go to the five listings at the top.
The first takeaway is that people who are searching for your product or service in the geographic area that you serve can be assumed to be a qualified lead. It can also be assumed that there is a high likelihood that they can be converted into a customer. As defined by Hubspot, “A qualified lead is a prospective customer who matches the company's ideal buyer profile in terms of need, budget, timing, and other factors.”
The second takeaway is that the higher your business shows up on the SERP, the more clicks from qualified leads your business will get. This shows the importance of investing in local business SEO to increase your rankings results.
Seek the help of local business SEO expert
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