Small and medium-sized businesses, commonly called SMBs, can ensure a positive return on investment and explosive business growth through the wise use of local SEO strategies. This bold statement is backed up by research from Google, the search marketing leader. If you’re not convinced about the importance of local marketing, consider some startling findings that Google uncovered:

  • Four out of five consumers look to search engines for local information.
  • Local searches led to a purchase over twice as often as non-local searches.
  • Four out of five searchers prefer advertisements that have been tailored to their location.

Indeed, local search marketing is associated with a greater intent to purchase and to purchase quickly, and local searches are actually preferred by most consumers. Most marketers are happy to find marketing that works and that consumers actually ask for. With this in mind, consider some tips to improve your own company’s position in local searches.

Optimize for Mobile Searches

It’s not just that a majority of Internet searchers also own cell phones these days, it is also that local searches on mobile are highly productive. For example, Google’s own research reports that 18 percent of phone searches lead to purchases within one day, but only 7 percent of non-local searches do. That means that local and mobile searches may be two to three times as productive as non-local searches.
Optimizing for local search starts with making sure that your company’s platform looks and functions well on small devices. In fact, Google has even sent out warnings to webmasters who register with their tools if they don’t believe sites have been optimized for mobile users, and that may impact overall ranks. It also may mean taking advantage of advertising that has been designed for mobile use.

Create Local Business Pages

Local citations for SMBs have become increasingly important. When Google pulls up organic search results for businesses in the same town as the searcher, they may pull from a variety of “places” pages. Also, there are other major search engines to consider, so it’s important to create pages and have a consistent business name, address, and phone number across all of them.

The big three might be Google, Yahoo!, and Bing, but there are several other local directories with high authority to consider. Yelp, Angie’s List, and Merchant Circle are some examples. Social networks also give companies a chance to establish themselves as local businesses, so it might also be important to consider setting up a page on sites like Facebook and LinkedIn. If your business has multiple locations, you might try to set up pages for each location when possible.

Encourage Online Reviews

Search marketers have been hard at work trying to determine how to get local business listings to rank and appear well in local search listings. According to the results of one study published on Search Engine Land, reviews from Google correlate with better local rankings. They correlate both because of the number of reviews and the ratings that consumers give businesses. At this time, it doesn’t seem like third-party reviews factor into ranking, but they may appear in search results and could factor in the future, so it’s probably a good idea to cultivate them too.

Let Us Help You Win at Local SEO

Good SEO for local search marketing is a worthwhile endeavor, but it’s still evolving and growing more complex by the day. It’s important to do it well the first time to avoid wasting time and money and ensure the results that you hope for. For help, contact us to help your company take advantage of local searchers and develop a local SEO strategy for your business.