What is local SEO and why does your business need it?

Search engine optimization is key if you want to stand out from the crowd in a competitive marketplace. You may be reaching out across the globe and SEO is integral to your success.

Attracting customers closer to home is just as important. It requires a strategy for marketing that includes SEO of a more specific nature. Having provided my services to a broad range of businesses in and around Glasgow, unfortunately, this is often an area that owners don’t put enough effort into.

Part of this is because of the time and budget constraints smaller businesses often face. A bigger factor may be that businesses don’t see the huge benefits of creating a coherent local SEO strategy.

What is local SEO?

Let’s say that you have a restaurant in Glasgow. You want people nearby to find you if they put in a search term like: restaurant in Glasgow city centre.

Maybe you’re a local builder and you want people in a certain area to find your website. You might undertake some local SEO by creating specific pages for places like Rutherglen, Clydebank and Paisley.

Local SEO is a strategy that focuses on making sure that, when someone searches for a business near to them, you show up on the first page of listings. This strategy isn’t just about creating content on your website, though this is important. There are a bunch of other approaches you need to improve and sustain your online visibility.

The basics of local SEO

Most businesses don’t realise how complicated local SEO can be. It’s important to bring together a range of different assets from off-page SEO such as how you’re engaging on social media to more technical aspects such as how your website is designed, whether it’s mobile-ready and how quick your pages download.

Some of the basics of a good local SEO strategy include:

  • Content writing: the way your website pages are written is very important. For instance, including locational keywords make a big difference.
  • Link building: The number of people who link to your site is also a factor in how you rank – the more popular are, the more likely sites like Google are to give you that page 1 spot.
  • Local citations: Putting your business on local and industry-specific directories also increases your visibility. This includes creating an entry for Google My Business and Bing Places for Business.

Why Local SEO is Important for your business

Most businesses tend to have an ad hoc approach when it comes to local SEO. Without a coherent strategy, however, it can be difficult to make yourself visible online.

The truth is that local SEO is indispensable if you have a brick and mortar store, a bar, restaurant or hotel or you cater to a specific local need, for example, if you are a plumber or builder, hair salon or museum.

The first big benefit of a successful local SEO strategy is visibility. More people see you. When you bear in mind that nearly 70% of clicks from a Google search are from the first five entries alone, you begin to see the importance of ranking well.

A good strategy also brings more relevant traffic to your digital door. That’s because you’ve worked out a way to answer specific queries. If you have someone who is looking for a café with Wi-Fi in Bellshill, for example, you create content to increase the chance of getting to the top of the rankings for this search term.

When you rank highly and people are suddenly able to find your business, a strange thing happens. As long as you provide a good service, those customers are going to come back to you again and again. You will have built trust and authority and, if things go well, word of mouth recommendations will start to kick in.

Finally, a good local SEO strategy means that you don’t have to spend more of your marketing budget on other things like expensive advertising. Good SEO not only gives you a short-term boost in ranking but is also highly sustainable.

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