Did you know that 90.63% of websites get ZERO organic traffic on Google? That means that of the 1.8 million new web pages generated every day, only 168,660 can expect to attract any search traffic at all.

While you might be confident that your small business website is in the minority, there’s a 90.63% chance you aren’t. However, there’s no reason to feel discouraged about SEO. You just need to focus on something a bit more attainable for a small business: local search SEO.

Key Takeaways

  • A majority of websites (90.63%) don’t get any search traffic at all.
  • 76% of people do local searches
  • Creating a local search SEO strategy follows the same steps as a regular SEO but with more targeted results
  • Local SEO has a potential return on investment (ROI) of 500%
  • 64% of people use Google My Business (GMB) to find local businesses

What Is Local SEO, and Why Is It Important?

Local SEO works along the same lines as regular SEO except that it’s location-specific. You can still use SEO software to maximize your chances of ranking well in search engines, except that instead of competing for relevant keywords in a global search, you add a location. If someone looks for a business in a specific area, the search engine will offer top results for websites optimized for that area.

Local SEO Tools
Source: SEMrush

For example, if someone types in “coffee shops near me” on Google, businesses that optimize their websites for the relevant keywords and location will show up on the first page. The best thing is that 76% of people who do local searches usually go to that business on the same day and 28% make a purchase.

Think about the last time you craved Greek food and didn’t know where to get it. What did you do? You probably did a local search and went to the nearest one. Local SEO is extremely useful for clients, but more so for businesses for relevant keywords, location, and prominence in the industry.

The top reasons for focusing on local SEO are:

  • Generates quality leads by targeting local people
  • High ROI of about 500% for some campaigns
  • Increases credibility
  • Improves customer engagement

You can probably see where this is going. Focusing on local SEO can put your business on the map — literally. Locally optimized websites also rank on Google Maps, and it’s an excellent way to compete with big companies for ranking and, more importantly, increase traffic.

What Types of Businesses Need Local SEO?

All businesses can benefit from local search SEO to increase brand visibility and generate quality leads. However, some brick-and-mortar businesses that depend on the physical presence of their clients to do business need local SEO more. Below are some of those business types, but the list should be much longer.

Health Services

While telehealth has become an accepted way of “going to the doctor” for roughly 60% of Americans in 2021, it’s by no means the preferred way to get your physical or discuss the mysterious mole on your neck. Dentists and other healthcare service providers have fared less well with online consultations.

An effective local SEO can help these small clinics and companies improve their visibility and increase traffic. While many need health services, it’s easier for most people to quickly identify the nearest Starbucks than a reliable dentist or physical therapist in their area. Local SEO can remedy that quickly. Be sure to include your unique selling propositions (USPs) to help boost your ranking among your literal nearest competitor, such as same-day dentures.

Legal Firms

Most people (62%) prefer to get referrals when they need legal advice or services, but 37% search online to find their own Harvey Specter. When they do, you want your law firm to be on top of their list. Make a point of curating reviews to boost a potential client’s confidence in your expertise and check if your contact information is front and center.

Coffee Shops, Bars, and Restaurants

Takeout and delivery are fine when you’re in a hurry or not comfortable with crowds, but most people prefer to enjoy their food and drinks in the establishment itself. Local SEO can do wonders for restaurants and bars, especially if they score with millennials, who spend the most on eating out compared to other generations.

Make sure you feature those great Yelp reviews prominently on your site, as 51% of shoppers rely on reviews before making a purchase. Invest in the best photographer you can find to make your establishment look as attractive as possible on your site.

Pet Services

There was a time when you could legally send living animals and children through the United States Postal Service, but that time has long passed. Nowadays, you need a vet or grooming service within a reasonable distance, so you make a local search for one or the other, or both. Pet services, including dog walking, can benefit significantly from local SEO.

Why Should You Focus on Local SEO for Your Small Business?

No one really knows how Google’s algorithms work, but an intelligent guess would be to accommodate what people want to know. Since Google is aware that “near me” searches have grown by 900% from 2015 to 2017, it stands to reason that it would focus on providing accurate location-based results for relevant queries.

So, what’s the significance of that for your small business?

Websites optimized for local searches will find favor in the eyes of Google’s search algorithms. If you can manage to capture that coveted first pick (or at least the first page) on a relevant location-specific search string, then you’re almost guaranteed to get tons of traffic.

How Do You Create a Local SEO Strategy for Your Small Business?

A successful local SEO is the perfect top-of-the-funnel strategy because once you get to the top of the list, you’ll most likely get 75% of the clicks for that search. The trick is to make sure Google’s bots can find you. Here are some suggestions to create an effective local SEO strategy.

Do Keyword Research and Mapping

While local SEO makes it easier to rank well in location-specific searches, you need to know what keywords you should target for your site. That means you need to do a lot more work before you can even start optimizing your page. And it begins with keyword research.

Fortunately, there are excellent keyword research tools you can use to find out the most popular keywords at any given moment for any location. You won’t have to do anything manually, giving you more time to create content around those keywords.

Keyword Research Tool
Source: SpyFu

SpyFu is particularly useful for getting excellent keyword suggestions because it looks at the data of your own website as well as that of your competitors. You can see what keywords people are using to go to your site and theirs.

You can also use a Firefox and Chrome extension called Keywords Everywhere to analyze and get the data you need for any website, including your own, right on the browser page itself. It’s not free if you want all the bells and whistles, but at $10 per 100,000 keyword searches, it’s a good deal.

You can download the monthly search volume, competition info, and cost per click (CPC). When checking search volume, try not to choose any keyword that’s less than 200 a month. Aim for 5,000 or more if that comes out. Meanwhile, you don’t want one that’s too high because there’s a lot of competition for that keyword.

Once you identify the best local keywords for your page and your competitors, you can start mapping them on your site. Keyword mapping involves assigning target keywords or a group of keyword phrases to each page of your website or blog.

These keywords are the ones your competitors are ranking on. The goal is to get people to see your web pages or blogs when they use those keywords in a search string. It would be best to group high-ranking and midranking keywords by topic so you get more traffic and, thus, more authority for that page.

Search engines tend to favor high-authority sites, so it’s a twofer. Keyword mapping helps you structure your website, so you rank for more than one keyword.

That way, whichever keywords a potential visitor uses, they’ll see that page in the search results. Additionally, if you do quality content around those keywords, any visitor landing on that page gets a ton of relevant information.

Create Content

Build high-quality content around your primary and secondary keywords to rank well on search engines and draw in organic traffic to your site. It takes some doing, but it’s worth the trouble when you see all that traffic coming in.

Your purpose is to attract visitors who find value in the content you provide. Create unique and informative content to solve their pain points or issues, and you’ll grab some credibility points for your site.

Visitors who find value in your content are also more likely to trust your site and convert. If you’re in a service industry such as plumbing, you must gain their trust in your expertise.

Register With Google My Business

GMB ― soon to be “Google Business Profile” ― is the de facto directory for small businesses and local business marketing. About 64% of consumers use GMB to find a local company, which is why it’s surprising that more than half of small businesses haven’t yet claimed their GMB listing.

Especially when it’s so simple. Head on over to the Google My Business page and follow the instructions. Even if you’re not concerned with sales or conversion, you should still claim your GMB listing before somebody else does. Claiming your listing helps you avoid the risk of someone else making changes or your listing vanishing altogether from Google Maps.

Encourage Reviews for Your Business

On-page content accounts for 32% and online reviews for about 6% of rank factors in searches. Together, they make an excellent tandem for wooing the Google search fairy. To that end, encourage your clients and customers to leave reviews on your site by sending them messages or emails asking for feedback. You can offer something in exchange for an honest review, such as a discount on their next purchase.

What Should You Do Next?

Now that you understand the importance of local SEO, get started launching your local SEO strategy. It doesn’t take more effort than an organic SEO. You need to concentrate on going local. Before anything else, claim your GMB listing.