2020 cemented e-commerce as the go-to shopping choice, allowing shoppers to buy from anyone, anywhere, so you might think it’s strange to talk about the benefits of local SEO.
It’s not. In 2021, local SEO is more relevant than ever. So in this piece, we explain why and give you some useful tips… or possibly reminders!
Love of local
The past 12 months have been tough for many locally-oriented businesses, but there’s one silver lining: peoples’ growing desire to use local businesses.
New research published by MasterCard shows that, as of the end of 2020, two-thirds of UK customers are more likely to shop with local businesses than they were in 2019. As the restrictions on our daily lives hit home, so did our desire to discover more about what was going on in our local community: over half of those surveyed said they’re more inclined to greet neighbours than they were a year ago. Likewise, two-thirds have a greater appreciation of their community and local SMEs since coronavirus arrived.
The local pack
We look to our mobiles, tablets, and desktops for answers in today’s world. Often, our searches are based on proximity: we’re looking for something close by, whether it’s an accountancy service, teashop or greengrocers.
According to Google, almost 46% of searches are performed with ‘local intent’… that’s a motivating stat, 46% is a big piece of the pie. So how do you get your business to perform well in local searches?
Google keeps its algorithmic cards close to its chest, but physical proximity to the searcher, relevance, and your company’s credibility play a key part in search ranking performance. But let’s focus on something else, something that all businesses can work on, that’s also free… your Google My Business account.
When you perform a local search, with the exception of ads, one of the first things you’ll see is the holy grail of online visibility for SMEs: the ’local pack’. This is a list of three businesses that appear above organic results, deemed by Google to be best placed to serve the searcher’s needs. Take the example below, displayed prominently above all organic listings for the search term ‘marketing agency Wiltshire’.
So, how do you make sure your business is in the local pack?
Your Google My Business account
Your Google My Business account (GMB) is what propels you into the local pack, Google describes it like this:
If you run a business that serves customers at a particular location, or you serve customers within a designated service area, Google My Business can help people find you. Verified businesses on Google are twice as likely to be considered reputable by users.
Imagine yourself in the shoes of a potential customer. This customer is ten minutes from your shop front and looking for exactly what you do best in the neighbourhood – maybe they’ve seen your sign or heard about your business from a friend. If they search for your services on Google, what will they find?
Maintaining your business presence on Google My Business can help customers discover the products and services that you provide, contact you and find your location.
So firstly make sure you have a GMB account and complete all the relevant sections with as much information as possible. Give accurate details regarding your address, website, business type, services offered, and business hours, so you can boost your chances of appearing within the most relevant search results.
Don’t forget to add photos and videos, too, as well as answering questions – responding to customer feedback and queries helps you demonstrate your customer service credentials while including keywords in your responses – good for local SEO. By adding FAQs, you can stay ahead of the game, anticipate queries, and save your team time.
You can also post on your GMB account, keeping your audience appraised of the latest offers, changes in service, news, and additional updates. In addition, and critically, encouraging customers to leave reviews. Google supply a review link that you make available for people to leave reviews. As an example here’s ours.
So in summary, the more complete and engaging you make your GMB account the more likely you are to perform well in the local pack, a relatively small amount of effort for top of page 1 rankings for relevant search terms.
We hope this insight into local SEO has been valuable, good luck out there!