Local Matters

Local SEO is often times the solution a small business is looking for when they are considering search engine optimization. They want to reach local customers, rank well for competitive search terms and take control of their branding efforts online. Local SEO can, in many situations, be the most effective strategy for these efforts.

Build a Solid Foundation Other Efforts Will Benefit From

If you are a small business, then doing local SEO should be the first thing you sign up for with digital efforts. While it is tempting to try whatever the latest trends are, like content marketing, these efforts will mean nothing without a consistent base to hold them up.

The idea of local is to make a business and its website as visible as it can be to users in the immediate area. This doesn’t have to be limited to local modified searches like “car dealership in X city.” One of the benefits of a properly conducted local campaign is search engines will treat the site as relevant to local users whether they include the location in their search query or not. Search engines like Google also know when certain searches should have local results even without the user prompting them. Below is an example where I simply searched for “car dealerships.” Even though I didn’t specify a location Google understands that I am likely trying to find one in my area and gives me those results based on my current location.

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This is one example where building a solid local SEO base will enhance other efforts. If search engines consider your site relevant to local users for your given industry, then that effect will be seen in other areas like content marketing for those same users. Since a search engine understands you are relevant to local users, it will present other results from your website when the location is not an emphasis.

Another reason to start with local SEO is that local users are going to be the most likely to show up to the actual storefront. There is no sense in targeting keywords that general users high up in the sales funnel are using if you have not first maximized your visibility to local users.

Driving this point further is the fact of how competitive the local landscape has become. Local results, like shown in the above image, used to contain seven different spots. After an update last year, this is now down to three. So overnight four businesses that used to appear for local terms are now relegate to the “more places” button. Simply having a website and claiming you are the best car dealer in the area is not enough. Now more than ever businesses need to make a conscious effort to make Google and other search engines understand that they are the experts for a given location.

Comprehensive SERP Performance

The last point I want to bring up is how local SEO efforts can blend with other search strategies like organic results, paid campaigns and social. When taking all these into consideration, it is not out of the question to have a single business completely dominate the first SERP.

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Everything in this SERP minus the #2 and #3 paid ad are for the same car dealership. This shows that a comprehensive digital strategy, whether talking about local or not, is much more than just working with a business’s website. It’s about optimizing each of the business’s digital properties from local directories to social media platforms. This results in many different avenues for a user to engage with the business and increase the chance that any one user will find their way to the business.

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