“Local” isn’t exactly the first word most people think of when they discuss SEO. After all, SEO at its best is often thought of as a way to meet the teeming millions of potential customers scattered across the entire internet – a far cry from seeking to convert small-time local traffic.
But that’s selling local SEO short.
Small-scale brick and mortar stores stand to see some obvious benefits from getting their local SEO programs rolling, but even larger businesses can give themselves a leg up by paying a bit more attention to local best practices.
Local SEO Can Improve Your Company’s Appearance on SERPs
Google My Business is the cornerstone of local SEO efforts, and it’s not something that any company – even large ones – can afford to ignore.
Getting a profile set up there ensures that you’ll appear on maps, search results, and Google + (though that platform appears to making a quiet exit). It’s also a great way to make sure that your company gets a knowledge pane.
You’ll find knowledge panes to the right of the main Google search results. They contain company contact info, a few pictures, and any reviews. They’re a great way to give searchers an incredibly quick snapshot of your company, building some early trust.
Small Businesses Have the Chance to Rank Locally
Going back to smaller brick and mortar stores, it’s these businesses that both need to worry most about ad budget, and can benefit most from local SEO.
It’s not easy to compete for high-level keywords on the web as a whole. One of the easiest ways to immediately shrink the size of the contest is by looking to target localized keywords.
In other words, if you post a page optimized for “Greek restaurant”, you probably won’t get very far. Make it “Greek restaurant in Seattle” and you might still run into some stiff competition, but nearly as much as you’d find if you didn’t add the city specifier. Do a good job, and you may be surprised at how quickly you can climb the SERPs.
Local SEO Offers an Incredible Return on Investment
The central philosophy of local SEO is to build an online relationship with your community. This means that local reviews suddenly become extremely important, as are links from local publications and citation engines.
In short, the more a community interacts with you and likes you, the better you’ll do.
This is because every ad you pay for, every piece of earned media you work to secure will be heading directly for your most valuable potential audience, instead of being blasted scattershot to the internet at large.
It’s Time to Work on Your Local Rank
Not only is local SEO important now, it’s likely to get more so in the future. Google has already placed increasing importance on local reputation and optimization over the past several years, and there’s no reason to believe that trend is about to end.
Stay ahead of the curve. Start your review-gathering, link building efforts now, and you’ll find that they pay off handsomely in the future.
Charles Dearing is a blogger and writer with extensive experience in marketing. You can find his work on various blogs and online publications