In the world of small businesses and online marketing, two phrases matter: “where to buy” and “near me.” Between 2017 and 2019, queries with these phrases grew by 200 percent, according to a study from Think with Google. Google also reported that more smartphone users dropped location qualifiers, like neighborhoods and ZIP codes from local searches. They already assume their results will automatically relevant to their location.
Whether you hire search engine optimization agencies in Australia or choose to DIY your SEO strategy, local SEO must be part of your digital marketing plan – especially if you’re a small business. The best start for small business marketing is to target the people within your vicinity. One way to do that is through local SEO.
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COVID-19, Small Businesses and Local SEO
COVID-19 forced businesses to shut their doors and prevented people from traveling to anywhere outside of their local area. As a result, local SEO has never been so important. Today, people are no longer searching for businesses when they are out and about; they’re turning to Google to find the products and services they need.
Apart from changing the way businesses operate, COVID-19 changed the way consumers think and shop. More people are choosing smaller businesses over larger and more popular companies. So, if people are looking for services in your industry, you want to show that your local business is worth their support. And that begins with being found on Google.
How Does Local SEO Benefit Small Businesses?
One of the biggest benefits of investing in local SEO is the higher conversion rates. With local SEO, results are more relevant and focused on your base of local customers. For example, if your business is showing up for ‘best budget laptop for video editing in Brisbane,’ it means someone nearby is searching for the services you provide. These searchers are not interested in trawling through thousands of other businesses that are a thousand miles away.
Simply put: they want a business that can offer products and services nearby and ASAP.
According to a report from Search Engine Watch, 80 percent of local searches convert, which means you should focus on helping more customers find you through local SEO. Consider more statistics: 46 percent of all internet searches are for local businesses and 86 percent of people rely on the internet to find a local business.
Also, online searchers are near conversions. When you promote your local business offline, you don’t have insight into your customers. As a result, you’re pitching your business randomly, which isn’t efficient since it does not guarantee results. On the other hand, when you list your local business online, the people who are interested in your business will search and are more likely to convert.
Local SEO is free so you don’t need as much investment as you do with paid advertising. The only investment required from you is time and a reasonable fee if you hire a professional to do your local SEO.
So if you’re not investing in local SEO already, you’re missing out on quality searches.
Rank in Local Packs with Local SEO
Local packs guarantee maximum click-through rates (CTR) for local queries. When customers search for a nearby or local business, Google generates local packs in the search engine results pages (SERPs), which show the basic details of the business (e.g. Name, Timings, Addresses and Ratings).
Customers appreciate local packs in search results since it gives them the basic info they need. On the other hand, if you’re a small business, you can generate huge traffic. Start by making a Google My Business (GMB) listing to become eligible for local packs. Once you complete your listing, focus on local SEO to improve your rankings and appear in local packs.
Choose the Right Keywords for Local Search
Finding the best keywords to rank for local SEO is crucial in achieving high-ranking listings. However, it’s not as simple as trying to aim for a specific keyword phrase such as ‘party planners in Sydney’, ‘best Sydney party planners’ and more.
Start by specifying your location and the areas you want to target. For instance, if you are based in Sydney, you can target ‘Sydney’ and other nearby areas. This helps you reach more people within the areas that you offer them.
Don’t Be Left Out
A small business’s biggest advantage is the Internet. In a world where people are staying indoors to stay safe, take advantage of the digital space to advertise your business. If you’re new to local SEO, work with a trusted SEO agency to secure your success.