These days it is more important than ever for businesses to have an online profile. This is not only a positive step for the business itself but also so that customers and potential customers can find them. For brick and mortar businesses the use of local SEO is essential as most people now use their smartphones to locate goods and services in their area. So, it makes perfect sense to make use of the internet to provide information about business location, goods and services offered, opening hours and so on. You do not even need to have a big fancy website either, there are plenty of free local business directories that you can use so that people can find you. The best thing is that your business can be any size to make use of local search engine optimisation strategies, so whether you have an office in your dining room or have branches all over the country, you too can obtain more business.
SEO covers a whole plethora of strategies that you can make use of to promote your business locally and that will increase your turnover. In the end, this is what it’s all about, increasing business and making more money. The one thing you do need to remember is that whatever techniques you use must be natural looking. It is vital that you do not fall foul of the rules and that you don’t force anything. You could write a blog that has local information on it and optimize that content so that it is relevant to your local area. Make sure you register your business with Google My Business, this will make sure that the search engine knows about your business and where it is located which means that it will feature when people are looking for whatever you offer in your area. Don’t discount social media, it can really help boost your local profile particularly if you are willing to spend a little bit of time interacting with your local followers. If you can exchange links with other relevant local firms, this can be a real gem because obtaining really good quality links can be extremely difficult these days. It is however, vital that you only link with businesses that have a common interest with yours, so for instance, if you own a pet supplies shop, you could link with the local veterinary surgery or boarding kennels and because they are not in the same niche, they are not competitors so you can help each other.
As I’ve already said, so many people now use smartphones to surf the net and in fact, it is believed that within a few years this number will overtake the numbers using laptops or desktop computers. Do not miss out on this opportunity, being left behind now will mean that you won’t catch up or will have missed out on so much potential business that your competitors will have overtaken you.
Local search engine optimization isn’t just about local mom-and-pop shops anymore. Practically any business can take advantage of local SEO’s benefits. Since Google’s fan-named “Pigeon” update in 2014, the importance of local SEO has grown, leading many entrepreneurs to focus on their strategy despite going years without considering a local tangent to their inbound marketing campaign. Others, who already practiced regular local optimization strategies, saw the update as an opportunity to increase their efforts even further.
These moves are savvy, because local SEO has risen in importance, but the ride isn’t over yet. Over the next few years, I anticipate that local SEO will become even more impactful and more useful for businesses. Here’s why.
Google loves local businesses.
Over the years, Google has shown slight favoritism toward newer, smaller, more agile companies. While most of its ranking biases have to do with a brand’s history and authority, Google also wants to give the people what they want — and that often means showcasing nimbler, more popular brands.
It also has to do with enabling small-business owners, who have limited access to resources, more potential in breaking new ground. Google has a long history of providing free tools — such as Analytics, Webmaster Tools and so on — to business owners for the sole purpose of helping them increase their online visibility. Because Google cares about (dare I say “loves”) local businesses, you can expect Pigeon to be only the beginning of its locally-focused updates.
There will be more individualized results.
Google also loves giving people individualized results. While its predictive and customized search features are relatively limited for the time being, already the search engine is able to generate specific results based on the person who is searching. As long as you’re logged into a Google account, your search history and your geographic location both play into the type of results you see.
As Google grows more sophisticated and users start demanding even more individualized results, the importance of local optimization will only grow.
The growth of mobile and wearable devices.
Each year, the percentage of online searches performed on mobile devices has grown definitively, and as you might imagine, the majority of mobile searches are performed while on the go. With the dawn of wearable devices, such as the Apple Watch, users will start using on-the-go searches even more frequently, with even more immediate needs.
As a result, proximity-based searches will likely start to become popular, and local searches will be based on hyper-specific locations, rather than just on a regional or neighborhood-specific basis. In effect, wearable devices will drive a much more geographically relevant network of information and eliminate even more barriers between the digital and physical worlds.
Competition is increasing.
Every year, millions of new sites are created and thousands of new businesses stabilize as formidable enterprises. In response, potential search visibility is actively dropping in many areas, with features such as the Knowledge Graph taking over search engine results pages and long-standing blue chip brands dominating the national search landscape.
Competition is increasing, so business owners will be forced to find smaller target niches in order to achieve relevant visibility. One of the most efficient ways to do this is to optimize locally, so local SEO will only grow in importance as competition continues to increase.
How to get started with a local SEO campaign.
If you’re intimidated by the notion of starting a local SEO campaign, don’t be. It’s actually a pretty straightforward process, though it will take you some time and effort.
Local citation correction. Your first job is to make sure your business is listed accurately and appropriately throughout the web. Claim your local business profile on local directory and review sites such as Yelp and TripAdvisor, as well as any other directories that are relevant for your business.
Read more here: http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/247515