The internet has changed the way we do business. In fact, the internet has made the global market more accessible by creating lines of instant communication. It is crucial for local businesses to embrace the online world because the internet is here to stay.
Embracing the internet could mean a lot of things depending on your type of business. It could mean creating a website, opening an online store, creating reliable map citations, or building a reputation with online reviews.
Search engines like Google and Bing are the highways of the internet. They help people find the information they are looking for online. Needless to say, search engine optimization, or SEO, plays a huge role in your business’s visibility online. Proper SEO will help people find your business online more easily. This article will explain how Portland businesses can use local SEO tactics to increase visibility and boost profitability.
What is Local SEO?
If you own a local business, say a coffee shop, or have people made frequent visits to your office, SEO can help people find you in real life. Local SEO is simply the process of optimizing a website so that it can pull up higher in search engine rankings in a targeted area.
Search terms such as “auto mechanic near me” or “lawyers in Portland” are examples of small business and local SEO. Local SEO helps brick and mortar shops and offices earn higher search ranking positions so they can be more easily discovered when people are searching online.
Content development, on-page SEO, and local intent link building are all necessary components of a great local SEO strategy. Keep reading this article to learn more about each component and the role they play to helping your business get discovered online.
Why is Local SEO Important?
If you haven’t created a local SEO strategy yet, you’re already behind. Chances are your competitors are already using a local SEO strategy. Here is some great research that proves local SEO is important for your Portland business.
- A recent study conducted by Brightlocal found that 97% of consumers search the internet to find local companies and 12% of them do so on a regular basis.
- Over one-third of all mobile searches occur before a customer makes a visit to a brick and mortar location.
- And 78% of localized mobile web searches result in offline purchases according to a report by Neustar Localeze.
- Almost one-fifth of all local searches lead to sales on the same day.
These numbers alone should prove that leads from searches based on specific local locations can be a major source of potential customers for your business. These customers are qualified leads because they are actively searching for products and services that your business offers. Because of this, they’re more likely to have a far higher conversion rate.
Can My Business Benefit From Local SEO?
Just about every brick and mortar business can benefit from a local SEO strategy. Professional services such as doctors and lawyers have a lot to gain from incorporating SEO but many other industries can benefit as well including:
- Foodservice: restaurants, bars, food trucks
- Retail service: large retailers, small storefronts, consignment shops
- Tourism: hotels, tours, car rentals
- Home services: locksmiths, plumbers, window replacement, electricians, roofers
….and many, many more! In fact, there are few businesses that do not benefit from creating a local SEO strategy.
Patients who search for doctors and medical practices are usually looking for an option that is located close to where they live. These types of localized searches can include search terms like “doctors near me” and “doctors in Portland”. Sometimes people also search “doctors”. People usually do not travel out of their way to visit a doctor especially when they have a convenient, nearby option.
Let’s try an exercise. Grab your phone and do a quick search for “doctors near me”. The local Google map pack will quickly provide you with a list of local doctors and directions to their offices. You will also see their phone number and ratings and reviews. Using a local SEO strategy will help your practice become a featured office in the Google map pack. This is great for business because then you will be just a click away when patients are seeking out a doctor.
Lawyers should focus on SEO tactics. Take advantage of the “Call Us” button that is displayed in results from local searches conducted on mobile devices. SEO important because when a potential client is using their phone to look for a lawyer online, they will be shown a list of lawyers who are close to their location.
SEO can help law firms become the top of many search results for a specific area. The “Call Us” button is fast access for potential customers. When people need an attorney they usually need them right away. Often potential clients will use their phone to find a lawyer fast. SEO helps lawyers get in front of customers who are actively looking for an attorney and it can easily lead to an increase in revenue.
Brick and mortar restaurants, bars, and mobile food trucks can benefit greatly from a local SEO strategy. When a customer searches for a restaurant they are typically looking online because they are about to visit one. Address information, reviews, and ratings are displayed on the search engine results pages, also known as SERPs.
This information helps customers search for a particular type of restaurant or food they are interested in, discover new businesses, and it also allows them to click over to get more information. Restaurants that appear at the top of SERPs have a higher likelihood of gaining customers from organic searches. Together with online reputation management, restaurants and bars can increase potential customers.
Home maintenance and home improvement businesses can greatly benefit from a local SEO strategy. When homeowners are experiencing an emergency they aren’t likely to head to a brick and mortar location for these types of services. Instead, they search for local services on their mobile device or computer to find a reputable home repair service that is nearby.
A local SEO strategy is a simple way to connect directly with homeowners looking for home services. Potential customers can read online reviews and contact your business if they are experiencing a plumbing or HVAC emergency.
Key Elements of Local SEO
Local search engine optimization is similar to global search engine optimization. They both use keywords, content, and link building strategies. Local SEO comes with a more focused target of increasing search ranking for a specific location. Now, let’s take a look at some of the key elements of local SEO.
The foundation of SEO is keyword research. This remains consistent whether you are talking about local or global SEO. Voice search is fast becoming a new tool that marketers can use to optimize their websites, too. Voice search will have a profound impact on the local space. With the rise of personal assistants like Google Home and Amazon Alexa, there is a new wave of localized searches being performed. By 2020, as much as 50% of internet searches may be voice-based searches.
In addition, if your small business offers a service you need to take advantage of keywords and phrases that are in a question format. For example: Where is an auto mechanic near me? Are there any pharmacies nearby?
Don’t worry, there are tools out there that can help make keyword research a breeze. Two of the best SEO keyword research tools are Ahrefs and SEMRush. These tools allow geotargeting and can track how many localized searches are being performed for specific keywords. Keyword research helps businesses focus on phrases people are using to find their business online.
Online Reputation Management
Reputation management is also hugely important when it comes to local SEO. Your reputation can make or break your business and your online reputation can make or break your local SEO strategy.
It is very important to have all of your business information correct on your website, business citations, directory listings, and other online assets. When everything is listed correctly and the same your business is more likely to appear in Google map pack when people search for relevant keywords.
However, having your business listed at the top also puts you in the spotlight where you can receive more harmful feedback as well. It’s not always a good idea to respond back to negative feedback with your side of the story. Sometimes this can only make the situation worse or call more attention to it. Knowing when to engage is crucial.
Your online reputation is more than just the sum of all your star ratings and reviews. It also includes public comments about your business on social media and message boards, blog posts that mention your business in a positive or negative manner, and news regarding your small business that is published on news sites. A strong online reputation management strategy can help your business minimize potential backlash and will provide the leverage you need to make the most of positive feedback and press that you receive.
Even businesses that are purely brick and mortar need to have an online presence in order to do business these days. The bare minimum that your business needs are directory listings. Local directory listings and citations play a huge role in local SEO. These listings also boost your online reputation and can help increase profits.
Business directories need to be tracked, completed, and regulated managed in order to get the most from them. Here are a few of the steps you should take to ensure your business directories are well managed. Prepare a business directory launch plan and a strategy for how you will manage all of your directories. Use different types of citations to your advantage and perform your due diligence to select the most effective placements.
Dominating business directories can help you master local SEO. When you do this your business will be seen by more people and you will probably notice an increase in your company’s website traffic.
Local SEO cna increase your business’s chances of appearing in Google’s map pack. A presence in map pack is one of the most coveted locations in search results. When first released, Google showed the most popular businesses related to your search. Once smartphones became the dominant search tool Google adapted and reduced their listed businesses to three. Google also narrowed the field for businesses to be prominently displayed in the SERPs.
These high placements have become very important for local results for brick and mortar businesses and have become highly competitive as there are now more businesses competing for fewer slots. Once a business achieves a high search ranking it can see a difference in its digital and foot traffic. This increases that business’s revenue.
Optimizing your business’s website can also ensure your brand is represented online. Having content with a high keyword density is crucial to becoming a leader. Strong SEO tactics also will keep your page load time and bounce rate down. Link-building tactics will help your website rank higher for different keywords.
Content is King
Content is crucial to your SEO strategy. Every page on your website must feature educational, interesting content. Your content must be unique to your website. Google penalizes websites that have copied or stolen content. Provide content to the reader, don’t just try to make a sale.
Use keywords that are based on more than just the search volume for those terms. Use keywords that will help make potential conversions. These keywords will give your website more relevant traffic and lead to more sales.
Local SEO Expands Profitability
Having a clear and well-organized local SEO strategy can help small businesses and large companies win over their competitors. It takes time and effort to maintain local SEO but it can ultimately drive more web traffic and foot traffic to your business and increase your revenue.
If you are a small business owner that wants to grow your online presence or manage your online reputation, contact Jax SEO today. We can help you build an SEO strategy that fits your business’s needs. Focus on what your company does best and leave the SEO to us.
Contact Zesumme today to talk about your company’s SEO strategy.