How many times have you Google searched ‘[X Type of Business] near me?’ Whether they’re looking for a barbershop, restaurant, or bar, customers will use local search. Here are some amazing statistics you probably didn’t know about local searches:
According to a Google study:
- 50% of online users that conduct a local search on their smartphones end up visiting a physical shop on the same day.
- 78% of a local search from a mobile device ended up in offline purchases.
The benefits of local SEO cannot be overlooked. If you hope to drive customers to your brick and mortar shop, you need to rank highly in their local searches. However, that can only happen if you have insights into how potential customers are searching for a new service provider. What type of information are they looking for? What would prompt them to pick you over your competitors? Here are the top factors that influence your rankings on local searches!
1. Online Reputation
Before engaging with your company, potential clients will want to look at your online reviews. They want to know what past customers have to say about your services and their experience with you. Did they love your services? Was the customer service exemplary? What do the bad reviews say? Your online reputation determines the level of trust and transparency that you foster with your customers.
Encourage all your customers to leave reviews on online platforms and ensure you reply to all of them, including the bad reviews. How you reply to them says a lot about who you are as a service provider.
Keep in mind that it’s about the balance between the quantity and the quality of the reviews. For example, assuming Hotel A has a 4.9-star rating from 10 customers, but Hotel B has a rating of 4.6 from hundreds of people, a customer will opt for the second hotel.
The best part is that getting reviews is absolutely free, and they improve your local rankings. You just have to ask your customers to leave reviews, preferably on your Google My Business page.
2. Local Search Terms That Your Customers Are Using
When customers are looking for services on search engines, there are certain phrases they use. These phrases are referred to as keywords. For instance, assuming a customer is looking for a local fitness center, they will type out something like ‘fitness centers in X city’ into the search box. Since Google’s main aim is to match user queries with useful web content, websites with more relevant content will be ranked higher.
They will then click on the link that they think will be more useful, based on the meta description.
Make sure your website and meta descriptions contain the keywords that potential customers use to look up your services. This will require intense research into your target audience and the use of keyword research tools.
3. Availability of The Physical Address
Online users love convenience. They want to get all the information they need without having to do in-depth research, and the availability of a physical location makes it easier for them to find you.
Think of it this way, a customer looks up your services online and comes across two companies that they’re interested in. One of them contains all the contact details and their business location while the other one doesn’t. Which one do you think they will pick?
Optimize all your online listings to contain locations and ensure your physical location is on Google maps so that customers can request directions.
To make your business seem more credible, list it on reputable online directories, especially those that are related to the services you offer. Include links to your website as an easy way to get backlinks.
4. Localized Content
Your customers are looking for content that is relevant to them, and generalized content just doesn’t cut it. Create content that is specific to the people in your locality. This way, your rankings will increase, and potential customers will relate more to your content.
Try and associate what is happening locally with various aspects of your business.
Create content about promotions you are running in your city or news regarding your local area’s current trends. You have to invest heavily in blog content.
If you own several chains in different locations, create separate pages for each branch. This makes it easier for people to find the page for their location and impacts your rankings in the other regions.
5. User Experience
Online users are not patient. You only have an average of 20 seconds to grab their attention; otherwise, you will lose them to your competitors. How long does it take for your website to load? Is it optimized for mobile devices? Is the content on the page providing potential customers with value?
Customer behavior on your website sends signals to search engines on its friendliness which impacts your rankings.
Some of the factors you need to consider to improve user experience include:
- Page speed
- Navigation (how easy it is to find information)
- Clear CTAs
- Responsive design
6. Google My Business Listing
Google provides you with a chance to list your business for free, so you should use it. One of the factors customers consider when searching for services on online platforms is their legitimacy. A verified Google My Business listing is as legitimate as it can get.
The best part about a listing is that you get to include all relevant business information like location, contact details, a description of what you do, and most importantly, photos and videos of your premises. This enables customers to verify that your business is real.
Claim your Google listing and optimize it for better chances of getting ranked highly.
Use the Above Tips to Improve Your Local Rankings
You can only increase your local visibility if you are optimized for local searches, and the most effective way of doing this is by understanding your customer’s behavior. What phrases are they using to look up your services? What does your online reputation say about your company? Is your content relevant to your local searches? The above tips will help you create an effective action plan to help you with your local SEO!