By: Katie Shore Sep 5/2019

Running your own business is difficult. You need to take care of your employees, stay compliant with rules and regulations, and, most importantly, make your clients happy with quality work. It isn’t easy to get your day-to-day tasks done and sometimes marketing your business is the last thing you want to do. You know that promoting your business is necessary to bring in new customers, but it’s a lot of effort.

If you’re going to do just one thing to promote your business, it’s should be Local SEO. We’re aware that this is marketing speak; that’s why we want to let you know what Local SEO is and why it matters to your company.

What is Local SEO?

Let’s start with SEO; lots of people have heard of it, but many don’t know what it means. SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. The way that search engines rank results, and the way that people search, are constantly changing. SEO makes it so that your business is seen by both search algorithms and searchers as the best possible answer to search queries for your products or services.

Local SEO is optimizing your web presence for local searches. According to Hubspot, 4 out of 5 people use local search to find information. For example, let’s say that you’re an electrician who operates out of Vancouver, but you provide services in Burnaby, Coquitlam, and North Vancouver. You need to be visible to those in your target locations who are searching for “electricians near me” or “Burnaby electrician”, even though your physical business address is in Vancouver.

One of the reasons that Local SEO has become so important is because of how search engines are showing results. Almost half of all search queries don’t result in a click within the results; the business or service that people need appears right on the page, whether that be through a review page or local business profile. Optimizing for Local SEO means that your business is more likely to be the one that answers potential customers’ local search query, right on the search results page.

Local SEO extends beyond your website. There are many indicators outside of your website that signal your location to search engines and users, leading them to your site.  So, what are these indicators and what do you need to do to make sure that you’re appearing in local search results?

Local SEO Essentials

So now you know what Local SEO is, but you’re probably still wondering what the optimizations that you need to make are. Here are a few key components to having your business appear within local search results.

On Your Website

Your website has to tell search engines and customers where your business is and what areas that you service. If you aren’t clear about where you are, your business won’t show up in local search results. People who could become your best clients won’t be able to find you.

Indicating your location isn’t as simple as having a contact page with your address on it, although this is definitely a great place to start. Other great ways tell Google (or any other search engine) that you’re a credible local business are:

  • Areas We Serve Pages: These pages clearly indicate to crawlers the areas that your business operates in.
  • Local Schema Markup: Schema markup is a piece of code implemented into your website that indicates certain pages’ purposes on your sites, making it easier for search algorithms to crawl your site and determine whether they are relevant to search queries. Local Schema Markup specifically indicates your location to search engine crawlers, increasing your chances of appearing in local search results.
  • Updated Content: While every piece of content on your site shouldn’t be directly related to your location – you have so much more about your business to communicate! – Google prioritizes sites that feature regularly updated, relevant content. This signifies to Google that your business is up and running. One of the best ways to do this is through a regularly updated blog, which can also provide engaging information for your customers. If you’re relying on local business, you can even make your blog posts locally-focused to provide valuable information to people in your area.

Name, Address, Phone Number

Think of all the places that mention your business on the internet. Do they all have the same name, address, and phone number listed? Is that information up-to-date across all platforms? Ensuring that this information is always consistent is so important; you never know what page or profile will make someone want to contact you.

The first places you should check for consistency are your website, social media profiles, and any review sites that are relevant to your industry. If there have been any press or blog posts written about your business, you should also check those for relevant information. If you find any errors, it is important to either update these yourself if possible or contact the owner of the content to make the change.

Google My Business

A Google My Business profile is essential for optimizing your business for local search traffic; it might even be the most important part of Local SEO. Creating a Google My Business profile that is updated with your current address, phone number, website, and services offers a plethora of advantages. Some of the main benefits you’ll get from your Google My Business are:

  • Taking up a larger area of the screen in search results. When someone searches your business name, or your business is seen as relevant in a local search, your profile will appear within search results and take up a larger portion of the page.
  • Appearing within Google Maps, so that people looking for your service offerings in maps can see where exactly your business is located. Local searches also bring up the “3 pack”, which shows three relevant local searches on the top of the search engine results page in Google Maps, showing users how close to them your business is. You don’t want to miss out on the opportunity to appear in the 3 pack!
  • Your Google My Business is linked to your Google reviews; if you’ve been actively collecting positive reviews, a high rating will operate as social proof that your business is high quality and worth visiting.

While most searches are conducted via Google, it isn’t the only search engine; make sure to have completely optimized profiles in Bing Places and Apple Maps as well.

Time to Optimize!

Investing in Local SEO is necessary to promote your business to local customers, bringing in new clients and establishing yourself online as a trustworthy business source for curious local customers and your most loyal clientele. It can be a big undertaking, but we’re here to help! Check out our downloadable checklist and guide for all things Local SEO.