Local search engine marketing, commonly referred to as local search engine optimization (SEO), is an effective way to market your local business online. Local SEO aims to help companies promote their products or services online to local customers. An effective local SEO campaign can help increase your online visibility, outrank your local competitors on search engine results pages (SERP), and direct more qualified leads to your business. According to Google, 97% of consumers go online to search for local products and services. This means that many people who search for products or services online are more interested in local businesses. The reason why local SEO services have become crucial for local businesses is that search engines like Google have realized that many online users search for products and services near them. In fact, more than half of all searches on search engines have local intent. This means that if you localize your website, then your business will get more quality traffic, which will translate to higher ROI.
How local SEO services can make a big difference in your small business
The demand for digital services in the US is on the rise with businesses spending as much as $80 billion on this provision alone. Local SEO services are not only cost-effective, but they also give long term results. That is why they are highly recommended for small local businesses that are operating on a tight budget. Besides increasing your website ranking on the search engine, SEO services also help to improve the visitor’s user experience by ensuring that your website provides what they are looking for. They target local customers who are not only looking for products or services that your business offers but also have their credits cards beside them ready to make a purchase.
How a business can benefit from local SEO services
· Increased online visibility
One major benefit of using local SEO services is greater local visibility. Statistics show that 97% of people go online to search for local businesses, and 95% of those searching don’t go past the first page of search results. Additionally, 47% of online users click the top 3 results that the search engine reveals. Local SEO services will help improve your website visibility through citation building to ensure that your website ranks on top of the first page of Google.
· Increased traffic leads and sales
Increased website visibility means increased traffic. If you own a local business, getting traffic from people in a different city will not help your business in any way. Local SEO services will ensure that your business only attracts local customers who are actively searching for products or services that your company offers. This means that your business will get quality local leads with high conversion rates.
· Targeted local SEO campaign
Local SEO services will ensure that all information on your website is relevant and useful to the local customer. They will also ensure that your website solves the needs of the local customers by offering the quality products or services that they are looking for. Modern customers prefer businesses that deliver highly personalized online experiences, and that is exactly what local SEO services are all about.
· Stand out from the crowd
Less than 50% of businesses use local SEO services. This is a big opportunity for you to outshine your competitors. Local SEO services will not only ensure that your business dominates the local search but will also monitor what your competitors are doing. This is important because it will help you formulate strategies that will help your business outrank them on the local search engine on all major keywords.
· Permanent and consistent results
When you market your local business using paid ads, the result will stop showing the moment you stop paying for them. This will not only decrease your brand visibility online but will also lower sales. However, that is not the case with local SEO services. Once your website starts to rank, the results will be consistent and long term. This means that your business will continue to dominate the local search engine results even after your contract with the local SEO agency expires.
Different types of SEO
1. Technical SEO
Technical SEO deals with the non-content elements of your website that affect ranking. It ensures that search engine crawlers can easily crawl and index your site to improve its online visibility. Essential things that technical SEO deals with include:
· Code efficiency
A bloated code can affect your website ranking. Technical SEO helps to ensure that the code of your site is small and efficient to make it easy for search engines to understand the semantic meaning of site pages.
· Website speed
Search engines update their algorithm frequently to improve user experience. In addition to having quality content that addresses the needs of the user, the search engine also factors your site’s loading speed. Google usually favors websites that load faster because they provide a better user experience. Technical SEO helps to ensure that all your pages load under 2.5 seconds.
Just like users, search engines prefer secure websites. If your site is not well secured, then it will rank poorly on search engines. Major search engines like Google consider website security as a ranking factor. This means that if your website is HTTPS, then it will rank better than a site that is HTTP. Technical SEO helps to ensure that your site is SSL protected to increase its ranking on search engines.
2. Local SEO services
Local SEO services help to make your website visible in the geographical location where your business operates. If you own a business that targets local customers, then local SEO services will ensure that your website information focuses on the local customer. Recent research conducted by Access revealed that proximity matters a lot to the consumer, with only 8% of people willing to travel for more than 20 minutes to purchase their normal day to day products. Local SEO services consist of strategies aimed at improving your website visibility on local search engines so that people who are close to your geographical location can easily locate your business. This means that all your web content will target keywords that include your town or city name.
Local SEO services often focus on increasing your business visibility in the local three-pack of SERP and Google maps to ensure that your target customers are close to where your business operates. Important elements that local SEO services focus on include relevance (relevance of your products or service to local customers), proximity (how close your business is to the customer) and prominence (what other customers are saying about your products or services). Basic local SEO services include website localization, citation building, getting quality and relevant backlinks, managing reviews, and rating and listing your business on Google.
3. Organic SEO
Organic SEO involves optimizing your website to improve its ranking on search engines. Unlike local SEO that targets local customers, organic SEO does not target a particular location. Instead, it aims to make your website visible on the internet without targeting a specific area. Example of keywords used in organic SEO includes “beauty tips,” “insurance contractors,” “solar installation,” among many others. Google usually favors websites that have trusted on-page content that provides value to users.
4. SEO analytics
SEO analytics is a technique where SEO experts study your website and then give a detailed report on things that you need to do to improve your website ranking. Some of the things that SEO analytics evaluates include the URL structure, inbound links, site speed, and duplicate content. A detailed report is then written by the SEO expert recommending things that need to be done on the website in order to improve its ranking. SEO analytics is highly recommended for websites that are not performing well on search engine rankings.
What are SEO packages?
SEO packages are preselected services that aim to make clients’ decision-making easy. Reputable SEO agencies usually subdivide their SEO services into various packages to make it easy for clients to choose one that suits their business needs. Each SEO package is priced differently depending on demand and the modules that an individual package contains. Some important things to consider when choosing SEO packages include how competitive you want your business to be online, your niche, and your financial ability.
How much does an SEO package cost?
This question does not have a definite answer because the cost varies depending on how fast you want to see results, the current condition of your website and your niche. Before you make your final decision, ask the SEO company to provide a free price estimate so that you know what each package covers and which one you can afford.
5 affordable local SEO services for small businesses
1. Keyword research
Keyword research is a significant part of local SEO. Before you start optimizing your website to boost its ranking, you first need to determine which keywords to target. The general rule of thumb is that each page on your site should target at least two or three unique keywords. The keywords should also include the county or city where your business operates. If your business operates in many locations, then you should create separate pages and include keywords that target those specific locations.
2. Link building
Backlinks are what made Google the top search engine. If you want your website to perform well on Google ranking, then you must know how to build quality and relevant links. Backlinks can be compared to word of mouth referrals. The more referrals your websites receive, the more sales you will make. The same thing also applies to backlinks. The more backlinks your website receives from authority sites, the better it will perform on Google ranking. Because backlinks are crucial for ranking and domain authority, the quality of backlinks that your website gets is critical. Ensure that your website gets quality backlinks from trusted and authoritative sites to boost your ranking on local search results.
3. On-page content
The quality of content that you post on your website plays a significant role in determining your website ranking. Google usually monitors visitor metrics like bounce rate and on-page time. If you want your website to rank high on local search engine results, then your on-page content must be of high quality and useful to the visitor. For instance, on-page content that only lists products or services does not add value to visitors. However, your on-page content will be of value to the customer if you list the services or products that your business offers and their benefits. Posting quality, well-researched content on your site regularly will help improve its search engine ranking. Don’t just focus on optimizing meta descriptions, titles and headings but also focus on enhancing on-page content to improve your website ranking.
4. Competitive analysis
Competitive analysis is the process of identifying what your competitors are up to, including evaluating their strengths and weaknesses. Competitive analysis is crucial because it helps you make a knowledgeable decision when formulating your marketing strategies. SEO competitive analysis involves identifying your competitors, evaluating keywords used by your competitors, analyzing your competitors’ on-page and off-page content, digging into competitors’ backlink profiles, examining your competitors’ site structure and UX, examining how your competitors are leveraging the social media as well as tracking how much your competitors are spending on ads. Once a thorough SEO competitive analysis has been conducted, a detailed report will be presented that explains things that you need to do on your website to outshine your competitors.
5. Citation building
Featuring your website on online business directories and citation sites can help boost its ranking on local search engine results. Not only will citation building help local customers find your business easily but featuring the business name, phone number, website URL and address on online business directories and citation sites will make your business credible and trustworthy. Ensure that your website is featured on online business directories and citation sites to improve your local search ranking.
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