Top Local SEO Strategies for SMBs in 2016
One of the best ways for a small or medium business (SMB) with a local focus to help drive growth is to leverage the benefits of Local SEO. And this isn’t just the industry perception: research from Google, the search marketing leader, shows that SMBs who focus on Local SEO performance fare better than businesses who chose not to. If you’re still not convinced, here are some eye-opening facts from Google’s own research that drive the point home:
- Four out of five consumers look to search engines for local information.
- Local searches led to a purchase over twice as often as non-local searches.
- Four out of five searchers prefer advertisements that have been tailored to their location.
After all, local search behavior can often be attributed to buyers who are looking to make a purchasing decision more frequently than users who search on desktop, making local search an invaluable channel for SMBs to focus efforts on.
Optimize Your Experience for Mobile Search
Not only does the majority of search and web traffic now happen on mobile, this traffic tends to be much more qualified for end-user purchases. For example, Google’s own research reports that 18 percent of phone searches lead to purchases within one day, while only 7 percent of non-local searches do. Translation? Local, mobile search can be two to three times as effective as non-local searches.
Optimizing for local search starts with your user experience, ensuring that your site has a mobile friendly or responsive design and works well on mobile devices. In the past 12 months, Google has become extremely stringent with its guidelines for mobile friendly design, and if they don’t believe sites have been optimized for mobile users, it can have a hugely significant impact on your organic rankings. Other ways to maximize your appearance on mobile may include tailored mobile paid advertising, or in-app advertising on iOS and Android devices.
Create Local Business Directory Listings
Local Citations are now more important than ever, for businesses of all sizes. When performing local searches, Google and other engines will pull from publicly available data sources to help tie your business to a location as accurately as possible. When you work to ensure that your business name, address, and phone number, also known as your NAP, are consistent across directory websites, you are making it easier for search engines to make that association with your business, which can significantly increase your local search visibility.
The big directories many people are familiar with are sites like Yelp, YellowPages, or AngiesList, but there are countless other local directories with high page and domain authority that may be worth considering. Factual, HotFrog, and Tupalo are some examples, but there are no shortage of additional directories for you to submit to. Many social networks like Facebook now include location data on their business pages, which can be another great way to get more eyeballs on your business, and more customers in your door.
Encourage Online Reviews from Customers
Online reviews have always been a great way to demonstrate your reputation and value to potential customers online. However, according to the results of one study published on Search Engine Land, reviews from Google correlate with better local rankings in almost every case. Google takes into account not only the scores of your reviews and the average rating of your business, but the frequency and freshness of your reviews. That’s why it pays off to continually ask your customers to leave reviews and help to build your local presence across not only your website, but all of the other online properties associated with your business.