Why is local SEO important?

Picture this: it’s Valentine’s day, you’ve forgotten to grab that all important present, but you’re not sure when the local shops close, or which shops you should visit.

Or, perhaps you’re in need of a solicitor, but you don’t know where to even begin looking.

Let’s face it, you’re going to turn to Google, or another trusty search engine to find the answers at the tap of a button, and you’re not alone. Around 46% of all Google searches are made looking for local information.

Being locally relevant matters and can often be a quick win for businesses with a local presence. Users are often in a conversion mindset when searching locally. In fact, 88% of users who perform a local search visit or call that business within one day.

So, now we know why it’s important – how do you get that sought-after local visibility through your local SEO strategy?

The Layout of a Local Search Results Page

If you’ve ever done a local search before you’ve probably noticed some differences within your search results.

  • The results can be heavily swamped in paid advertising
    One of the first things you’ve probably noticed is an abundance of paid adverts – especially for those searching on their mobile phones.

    We advise approaching local SEO with a solid base of search landscape analysis – understand exactly where competitors are bidding and where you can utilise some paid advertising experts for quick wins on the local front.

  • The Local results pack is key
    If you’ve ever wondered what that snazzy looking map box with 3 to 4 local listings beneath it is, then wonder no more. Let me introduce you to the local results pack.

    This Google feature does what the name suggests. The local results pack is an all-dominating feature that often sits at the very top of local results, or beneath the paid adverts. The listings on this feature are pulled directly from Google Business pages and the position they rank in is based on numerous factors including the optimisation of the business page, review numbers, the physical location of the searcher, brand authority and accurate online citations containing your name, address and phone number (NAP).

    As you can see, the local results pack contains the name, phone and address (NAP) details, reviews and direct buttons to the websites of the listings when applicable.

    Naturally, any local SEO strategy should be aiming for visibility within the local results pack.

  • The Google My Business panel
    Often, when a user searches for the name of a known brand or store, they’ll be presented with a large Google My Business panel on the right-hand side of search results, or, bang in the middle of mobile search results.

    This panel is key when you’re up against competitive paid adverts, as it often sits level with them at the top of results. It’s also an excellent way to control the information you present about your brand – users can see opening times, reviews, address information, website links, services, offer posts and more.

Having a robust local SEO strategy in place will not only ensure that you’re being found by all of the users carrying out local searches daily, but will also mean that you will be more relevant to voice assistants answering local voice queries.

It can be hard to quantify the value that local SEO optimisations are making, given the difficulty of attributing bricks and mortar footfall, but it’s a vital optimisation to keep abreast with when ensuring that your local stores have the digital footprint they need to stay relevant in the decline of the high street.

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