When you're the owner of a local business, foot traffic is just as important as website traffic. Fortunately, there are methods you can use today to drive visitors to your online and offline storefront.
One option is to use local SEO services.
This is the shortcut you can take when you don't have the knowledge or experience to run your own SEO campaign. But what should you look for in local SEO services?
And do you really need local SEO services?
Let's find out.
What is Local SEO?
Local SEO is a highly effective strategy businesses and marketers use to target prospects in specific geographic locations. In the past, consumers used phonebooks to find products and services.
Today, they use Google to browse, shop, and research products or services. This means you need to have a presence on this platform -- preferably the first page.
As you may already know -- smartphones are widely used by consumers to shop and make purchases. And roughly 82% of smartphone shoppers conduct "near me" searches.
Guess what happens next?
A whopping 90% say they click the first set of results.
With traditional SEO, this would take six months to a year to achieve. But when you're using local SEO, you can skip ahead of the line and gain a spot at the top of the search engine results pages (SERPs).
How is this possible? With Google My Business.
Search for a commercial cleaning service in your area. What pops up?
A window with three listings of nearby commercial cleaning businesses. This is called the Google 3-pack. Getting here is as simple as claiming or creating your Google My Business listing and optimizing it.
But it doesn't end with Google My Business, you must do the same for all platforms like Yelp.
This is where you'll start to consider working with local SEO services. And that's a plausible solution.
Let's learn why.
Why Consider Using Local SEO Services?
We briefly touched on what local SEO is and why it matters. But let's dig a little deeper.
In the past, SEO revolved around keywords that weren't specific to a geographical location. For example, "commercial cleaning services."
As you'd imagine, the competition for such a key phrase can be fierce, which makes it nearly impossible to rank on the first page of Google. So SEO experts continued studying Google's algorithm (and its updates) and found a gold mine with local SEO.
This was especially the case when Google rolled out its Google My Business listings. Now, you can rank high quickly for low-competition keywords and get more traffic (online and offline).
So rather than trying to rank on the first page of organic results, you're trying to rank for local listings. This significantly reduces the competition to only those in your locale.
And Google offers you the opportunity to jump ahead of the #1 spot on Google and be showcased in its local 3-pack listings.
According to Google trends, the number of local searches with "nearby" and "near me" doubled in 2017. Around 71% of users verify the location of businesses before paying a visit. And 73% say that they lose trust in brands with incorrect info.
All the more reason to have a Google My Business listing (with the updated data).
It's also worth noting that millions of people are conducting searches on their mobile devices (81% of American adults). Plus, Google automatically looks up local businesses for users that have their location feature turned on.
Quick note: Google isn't the only one with citations/business listings. You can do the same on other platforms, such as Yelp, Bing, and Angie's List (to name a few).
What to Look for in Local SEO Services
Alright, so you understand the importance of local SEO. But how do you make it work for your brand? There are several options available to you, so the goal is to find the best local SEO services for your business.
The idea is to look for SEO services that offer everything you need.
Here's a quick overview of the factors to consider.
The term affordable doesn't necessarily mean cheap. What's affordable to a millionaire most likely isn't affordable to a blue-collar worker. So like beauty, affordability is in the eyes of the beholder.
In other words -- it depends on your funds.
The idea is to come up with a budget you feel comfortable spending to get your website ranked high on search engines. If you understand the value it holds and the potential revenue increase it can yield, then you should be willing to pay top dollar.
But this doesn't mean you'll have to. There are various local SEO service providers you can opt for, such as:
- SEO agencies
- Digital marketing agencies
- SEO consultants
- SEO software
You'll find that the agencies and consultants will charge a high price for their services. But again, you'll need to assess your means to see what you're able to afford.
Don't be one of the 54% allocating $0 for their SEO.
On-Page and Off-Page SEO
With on-page SEO, you can optimize your website so that it's more likely to rank higher in organic search. If you're targeting local keywords, then you'll find this is easier to achieve.
The SEO service you use should help with the optimization of your website, which will include:
- Alt tags
- Meta descriptions
- Header tags
- Website navigation/user-friendliness
- Site load speed
Then for your off-page SEO, it's about what's going on off your site.
There are several ways you can drive attention to your website, such as by:
- Building your social media presence
- Publishing articles on high-authority websites (that link to your website)
- Creating and optimizing business citations
- Managing your online reviews
- Influencer marketing
Make sure to inquire about the methods the local SEO company uses to see if it aligns with your needs. The goal is to get more calls and foot traffic for your local business, so you'll need services that have success with attracting local audiences.
Ongoing SEO Strategy
SEO is a long-term strategy that requires constant attention. When done correctly, it can yield long-lasting results for your business. This can equate to more website traffic, store visits, and conversions.
But this requires consistency. For instance, your Google My Business (and other citations) should be updated regularly as your information changes. You never want your NAP (name, address, phone number) data to become outdated.
This will lead to mistrust in your brand and hurt your ranking in the SERPs.
You need a strategy that consists of:
- Regular keyword analysis
- Traffic analysis
- Tweaking content
- Updating citations
- Responding to online reviews
- Monthly reports
You can opt for hands-on SEO or a DIY approach. Let's take a look at what the cost difference may be.
What Results to Expect with Local SEO Services
Some will say that the size of your budget will determine the results for your SEO. But that's not true.
You can get excellent results by spending only hundreds per month (vs. thousands). It's all about the technique and tools you implement.
The beauty of local SEO is that it's not a lengthy process like with organic or traditional SEO. It's a lot easier to get ranked at the top because of platforms like Google My Business.
But still and all, you're at the mercy of ranking factors search engines use, such as:
- Search terms you're targeting (are they competitive?)
- Website optimization (did you add your keywords and metadata?)
- Number of websites/pages ranking for your search terms
- Number of business listings your company has
- Number of backlinks pointing to your website
- Content you're publishing to your website
- Whether your site has quality local SEO content
- Whether you recently changed your business address, name or domain
And the list goes on (there are over 200 ranking factors!).
With that in mind, it's best to go into local SEO with the intention to test things out for several months. If you're not seeing much improvement within 90 days, then something's not working and needs changing.
You can expect a more significant result if you have an existing website that's already ranking on page two. This is because your site's already been indexed and garnered credibility.
Getting to the top five on the first page is more plausible within those 90 days. But it's not something you can expect to happen for a brand new or low-ranking website.
In this case, you can anticipate getting these type of results within six to nine months.
Now, if you're basing results off your business listings, then this is another story. You can use services that directly target this form of local SEO.
This relies on claiming, optimizing, and updating all of your business listings across sites like:
Consistent company data, online review management, local keyword optimization, and a quality website are vital to boosting your rankings quicker. With the right tools, you can make this happen in a matter of months (or even weeks).
The Better Alternative to Local SEO Services?
Local SEO: It's a necessary strategy your business needs to compete and succeed. And unless you become an SEO guru overnight, you're going to need the expertise and ease local SEO services.
But what if you could rank in local SEO without hiring a local SEO company or having to DIY it? The answer you're looking for is automatic SEO. It's possible to optimize your Google Business profile with just a few clicks. Best of all, it doesn't take months to see results. Download our free guide to Local SEO for more!