Local SEO (Search Engine Optimization) or local search engine marketing is the most effective way to market your business online locally. This technique helps local businesses with a physical presence increase visibility in targeted online searches. In the digitalized world of today, four out of five consumers use search engines to find local information. For your business to be visible on local searches, your website needs to be optimized. The competition in the digital market is quite fierce; so it’s vitally important for your company to acquire local SEO services to maintain an online presence and outpace your competition.
To understand how local SEO works, and how it can help your business grow, here are a few terms that will come in handy while seeking local SEO services to optimize your business.
Search queries that have stronger purchase intent include geographical elements such as ‘coffee shops near me, or ‘coffee shops in San Francisco’. Such search queries are referred to as local searches. Web searchers, in this case, are hunting for local companies located in the neighborhood (or the same city), and most likely intend to buy a product or service within the same day. Search engines understand that a searcher is seeking suggestions based on location and showing relevant results. If your business is not locally optimized, Google, or other search engines, might not show it among the relevant search results.
Google My Business (GMB) Profile
Google My Business (GMB), previously known as Google Local, is a profile specifically for businesses. If you want to optimize your business locally, you should have your business profile on Google. It stores information on Google maps and various other places including local listings giving you prominence over searches. Your GMB profile can carry information submitted by yourself (business owner), such as the products or services you sell, contact details, category of your business, and hours of operation. It can also include your rating, reviews, as well as questions and answers. Here, it is important to mention that features like reviews and ratings are generated almost entirely by consumers.
The information submitted about your business must be up-to-date and consistent in all places (where it is listed), as it affects the optimization, and consequently, the presence of your business profile among the top searches.
Local Pack or 3-Pack
Local businesses are always on the hunt for getting more in-door customers. Having a business profile opens the door for visibility on ‘local pack’ or ‘3-pack’ which is a block of three business listings appearing below the map when local search query results show. Your business needs to make a place on the local pack, as listings appearing in this section are more query-specific. Moreover, the local pack shows information such as operating hours, reviews submitted by consumers, rating scales, and even relevant photos. These elements are not pulled out of your website; the listed information is extracted from your Google My Business (GMB) page.
Although it seems to be a complicated term, its meaning is rather simpler to understand. NAP, or to simplify Name Address Phone number, is critical in local SEO as it is one of the core components responsible for attaining high-profile local search status. It is of high importance that you keep your business’ NAP information consistent at all places (listings and social profiles) because it is a ranking factor in search engines and also affects the credibility of a business. Google (and other search engines) keeps collecting data about a business (listed as a business profile on Google) to evaluate its accuracy, consistency, and quality to help build an image (good or bad) online. Lack of consistency in the NAP information can directly affect a business from reaching a high-profile status on search engines, and hence reduce the chances of appearing in the local pack.
Mobile phones are the modern compasses that people use to find directions. It is of vital importance to understand the usability and productivity of these smart devices before stepping into the digital market. More than 50 percent of searches are from mobile devices. Local SEO is directly changing the patterns of how businesses operate through online channels. Although, one can be smart enough to take control of things and manage it by himself; it is essential to understand that it takes time. If you are investing your time and dollars in business and looking to improve your market presence, hiring the services of a local SEO company can be the best fit for your business needs.