Local SEO: What it is and How Small Businesses Benefit

Local SEO: What it is and How Small Businesses Benefit

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Syed Aquib Ur
Syed Aquib Ur Rahman
Assistant Manager
Updated on Jun 7, 2023 15:17 IST

Brick-and-mortar businesses that rely on foot traffic benefit from local SEO. It also helps them compete with larger businesses with more advertising and marketing resources.

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Typing keyword phrases on Google or other SERPs, such as ‘restaurants near me,’ ‘repair services near me,’ or ‘burger delivery,’ gets you instant results in your location. These results are based on the businesses around your neighbourhood. They are region-specific, meaning the results will differ when you look from your home versus the same search from your office. This kind of visibility comes through local SEO practices. 

What is Local SEO?

Local SEO optimises a business’s online presence to become visible in local search results as listings.

Local search helps small and local businesses reach customers in their local area. By optimising their website and online profiles for local search, they increase their visibility and attract more customers looking for their products or services. 

How Businesses Rank Locally on Google

Let’s consider local SEO in the Google search engine for now. Google’s Pigeon update in 2014 helped local businesses utilise local SEO strategies better. 

Google algorithms can understand the search query’s intent when it is local. The local search results appear as map pack results. Before Google Pigeon update, the traditional local search results would appear as a special section with 7 to 10 results. After the update, the results got down to 3. 

Understanding the Google Map Pack

Google Map Pack refers to the businesses that appear as lists on local searches with a map on the top results on the SERP. 

It looks something like this. 

Local SEO search 'coffee near me'

In the above screenshot, Saltoro Coffee Roasters, The Coffee Cult, and The Coffee Talks are the nearest results because each has a Google Business Profile. They have a better click-through rate than the organic results below them. 

Google aims to provide the most relevant result that matches the intent. The organic results underneath the Google Map Pack may not necessarily show you a result in your neighbourhood. 

Local Ranking Factors

There are three main ranking factors when it comes to local SEO. 

Relevance

Relevance relates to the Google Business Profile (previously Google My Business) matching the query’s intent. According to Google, the profile needs to have all the business details. Otherwise, the business will not appear in searches. 

Business profiles must have the following. 

  • Business description
  • Name
  • Address
  • Website and phone number
  • Business hours
  • Categories 
  • Menu 
  • Products

Distance

Google calculates the location distance from where the search was done when the user does not specify it in the search. 

It is important to ensure that your business information is current and consistent across all the platforms where it is listed, such as your website. 

Prominence

refers to a business’s popularity through directories, articles, links, and reviews on websites, including Tripadvisor.  

Difference Between Local SEO and Traditional SEO

Let’s look at the basic differences between the two. 

Parameters Traditional SEO Local SEO
Focus Improving website visibility on search engines and ranking higher on search engines Improving business visibility in local search results and ranking on top
Geographic Focus Broad Specific locations
Optimisation Efforts On-page SEO, off-page SEO, technical SEO Online presence, including website
Example eCommerce websites, blogs, etcetera Coffee shops, restaurants, bookstores, law firms, home services, and so on.
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Importance of Local SEO for Small Businesses

Local search engine optimisation is particularly important for small businesses as it can help them attract more customers in their local area. 

Here are some reasons why Local SEO is important for small businesses. 

Improves Online Visibility

By optimising local search, small businesses can increase their visibility in local search results and map listings, making it easier for potential customers to find them.

The reason – nearly 1/3rd of all mobile searches are related to location (Demand Sage). 

Greater Targeted Traffic

Local SEO allows small businesses to target customers in their local area who are actively looking for their products or services. This can result in more targeted and qualified traffic to their website or physical location.

76% of consumers doing local smartphone searches visit the shop within one day (Demand Sage). 

More Cost Effective

Local SEO can help small businesses compete with larger businesses by showing up in local search results and map listings, even if they don’t have a big marketing budget. Setting a Google Business Profile is free. 

More Conversions

Having a strong online presence with positive customer reviews can help small businesses build trust and credibility with potential customers, leading to more conversions and repeat business.

Parting Thoughts

Hope you are now more clear about what local SEO is. If you are a new business, you may want to check out Udemy’s How to Get Found Online for Free Easy Local SEO You Can Do

About the Author
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Syed Aquib Ur Rahman
Assistant Manager

Aquib is a seasoned wordsmith, having penned countless blogs for Indian and international brands. These days, he's all about digital marketing and core management subjects - not to mention his unwavering commitment ... Read Full Bio