Why Does Local SEO Matter?

Four simple tricks for ranking higher in search results — and boosting foot traffic as a result.

From geo-targeting to beacons, location-based technology is opening up a world of possibilities for marketers. But it’s also complicated, as new capabilities and use cases seem to emerge every day.

With the goal of breaking down some of the most important “geo” concepts to provide a better understanding of the basics — and a jumping off point for exploring how far the power of location may take us — we introduce the next installment of our GeoMarketing 101 series: improving your local SEO strategy.

Why Does Local SEO Matter?

It’s simple enough: Boosting your business in the local community matters. Ranking in local search engine results pages (SERPs) is how customers nearby discover your business. Mobile “near me” searches have been on the rise since 2015, and 76 percent of these location searches result in a business visit within a day.

So, we know it’s important to rank highly for relevant keywords — and particularly since Google began to display only a three-pack of mapped results at the top of SERPs. But what can businesses do to win in local search?

The 101 Guide To Improving Local SEO

Practice Location Management: The first step in getting customers to find (and then visit) your business is to make sure that your name, address, and phone number data is listed correctly — on your website and across all platforms where your business is listed.

If your business’ details are incorrect or inconsistent, it’s likely that the business either won’t rank highly for a specific location search, or that the customer could become confused — and the business loses out on a sale.

Additionally, 2017 is likely to be the year that consumers rely more than ever on location services, leaving them on and becoming more receptive to alerts. More on this in Yext’s 2017 prediction post series, here. (Full disclosure: Yext is GeoMarketing‘s parent company. Details on that relationship here.)

Claim Your Listings Pages: For similar reasons to the above, its crucial that businesses claim and correct all listings pages, from Google My Business to Yelp and Trip Advisor.

In addition to making sure the information there is correct, having those citations and local links can help boost search rankings — putting you where you want to be on SERPs.

As Vistaprint’s Scott Bowen put it earlier last year, “if businesses aren’t listed [accurately] in a wide variety of locations online, they risk going unnoticed by fast-moving and mobile-first consumers, which ultimately has a major impact on the bottom line. Businesses, and small businesses especially, now operate in an environment where being the first to reach a potential consumer makes a huge difference when it comes to where that customer ultimately chooses to spend his or her money.”

Craft local content: Most businesses know to optimize around certain keywords or searches — “make keys,” perhaps, for a locksmith or “high heels” for a women’s boutique. But crafting and publishing immersive local content can be helpful in a way that’s often overlooked.

This can include local event information, embedded reviews from local sites, a neighborhood guide, or even more in-depth blog style content about trends or shopping in the area (if that’s appropriate for your particular business.) Creating this type of content not only improves search rankings for terms related to the events or products discussed, but gives customers the information they want or need when they actually come to your site.

Lastly, don’t forget the human element: Speaking of giving customers valuable content: It’s crucial that business remember that while drawing customers in-store often begins with discovery on SERPs, visits occur and loyalty endures because people feel that a business can provide them with the information and/or products that they need in an easily accessible way. Don’t forget to make sure your address information isn’t just listed, but easy to find — and design the overall experience of your site in way that is aesthetically pleasing and, most importantly, mobile optimized.


Geo 101: How To Improve Your Local SEO Strategy

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