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Local SEO: What It Is & Why Your Business Needs It

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Google is where customers ask questions before they know your business is the answer. 

It’s where they find important information like your business’s phone number, address, or website URL, get directions to your brick-and-mortar store, and read reviews from previous customers to decide whether or not they should visit your business or your competitor’s 

That’s why having a strong presence on Google is key to small business success in the digital marketing world. And how do you achieve that? Through Local SEO.

What is Local SEO? 

Local SEO is a search engine optimization (SEO) strategy that helps improve your business’s visibility and overall reach in local search results on Google. Any business that has a physical location or services a specific geographic area can benefit from optimizing for local search, be it on their website, on their local listings, or both. 

If you’re wondering how Local SEO differs from “regular” SEO, the answer is: it doesn’t really. Local SEO is just a small piece of the larger SEO puzzle— but it’s a super important piece that a lot of businesses tend to overlook.

Why Local SEO Is Important 

Here’s an everyday situation that makes local SEO super easy to understand: 

Let’s say you live in Hamburg but work in downtown Buffalo. One day, you’re at the office and want to get pizza delivered for lunch. Googling “pizza delivery near me” while you’re at work brings up totally different results than if you were to Google the same thing at home, right? 

The different restaurant options you’d get for these two different searches are the result of Google’s local search algorithm using your phone or computer’s location settings (plus other factors) to pull in recommendations it thinks you might like. And if you’re a business owner, the higher you can get your business to rank among these recommendations from Google, the more likely new customers will be to discover and check out your business. 

TL;DR – Local SEO is crucial to small businesses because it helps: 

  • Improve your organic reach on Google
  • Attract local traffic that’s actively seeking out the types of services your business provides
  • Bring in more foot traffic to your brick-and-mortar location
  • Boost your website traffic

Improve Your Local SEO Right Now

If you’ve never ventured into the world of search engine optimization before, the idea of implementing a local SEO strategy can seem daunting and time-consuming— but it definitely doesn’t have to be! 

Here are 3 easy ways you can give your business the SEO boost it deserves right now:

  1. Claim & Optimize your Google My Business listing 

Google My Business (GMB) is *the* most important factor of Local SEO, period. 

Based on Google’s current algorithm, GMB listings show up any time Google thinks that 1) a search query is related to a physical location or 2) a user is looking for a specific business. And even with over 5 billion searches in a day, GMB listings still show up in the majority of daily searches— so your business is going to want to capitalize on that for sure.

Check out our past article How to Set Up and Fully Optimize a Google My Business Listing for full details on how to create, claim, and optimize a GMB listing.

  1. Ask Your Customers for Positive Reviews

Reviews are a major ranking factor on all local listing platforms, but on Google My Business especially. Not only do they help Google verify that your business is trustworthy in the local community, but they help give prospective customers the confidence they need to check your business out for the first time. 

By asking customers to write your business positive reviews on your GMB listing, Google will see that your customers trust you and speak highly of you, and therefore rank you higher in local search. Who knew providing great customer service could be a way to hack the algorithm!

  1. Incorporate Specific Locations in Your Website Content

Another aspect of Local SEO that most businesses miss the mark on is optimizing their on-site content for the locations they want to show up for in search. 

(Some do it super well though, check them out in our article 6 Local Businesses That Do An Awesome Job With SEO and Web Design!)

When Google crawls the content on your website, it takes all of your on-site content into consideration as a ranking factor. 

So when you write on a webpage that you’re “a dental group with locations in Tonawanda, Orchard Park, and Amherst, NY,” you’re helping Google understand that these are relevant areas to your business. In turn, when people in those areas search for a new dentist, you’ll be more likely to show up in local search.

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Step Out Buffalo Business

Step Out Buffalo Business is a business focused publication featuring tips and tricks for entrepreneurs and small business people in Buffalo & Western New York by the team at Step Out Buffalo. We write what we know and when we don't know, we ask an expert in the field. We've gained our knowledge through experience growing businesses in various industries.

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