Do you want to acquire more local customers from search?… Of course, you do!
First, you need to understand that SEO is no longer the way it used to be. A lot of has changed. In fact, the impact of these changes are more glaring in local search engine optimization.
When you implement both practices, you’re telling local consumers and search engines alike that you’re open for business. And your sales will possibly increase.
Remember that local searches are more likely to lead to sales, compared to non-local searches. According to a research study by Google, 18% of local smartphone searches generated a purchase within 24 hours.
Of course, links are still important to search rankings, but the approach has changed a lot in the last 3 years. You now need to understand the on-page technicalities first, before moving out to get links.
Make no mistakes about it. Modern SEO boils down to listening to and attending to your website’s visitor – people who consume your content, after clicking on your search result from Google organic listings.
It’s no secret that you have to do more to thrive in the search these days. If you choose to manipulate search using blackhat techniques, you may end up losing your precious rankings.
That’s why I created this in-depth article, to help you understand the State of Local SEO & where to pay attention now.
Your SEO is not all about ranking #1
If you think that SEO is all about getting ranked in #1 position, then you’re making a deadly mistake. Of course who wouldn’t desire that spot – but that’s not the focus.
At the end of the day, the focus of SEO is to build sustainable rankings for your target keywords. You want to rank today, tomorrow, and even next year.
For this to happen, you need an effective social media strategy – because social signals have become an integral part of organic ranking factors.
Once you pass some social juice to your web pages, every other effort would yield better results. In fact, your CTR will weigh more – because you have a lot of people engaging with your content on social media sites.
So the #1 result in Google may not always get the most clicks. Remember that majority of your searchers, especially those outside internet marketing field don’t know the difference between organic and paid search results.
To a large extent, what determines whether a search result (both organic and paid) gets clicked on is the title, meta description, and page URL. And more importantly, the local map packs with reviews and star ratings.
For example, I searched for “plumber” but I don’t feel excited with these results. So I’ll skip them and scroll down a bit.
Scrolling down the same page, a search result in the Google maps caught my attention. I thought I should click on this one. With all these reviews and ratings from real customers, how can I go wrong?
Your localized link is your new advantage
In today’s local rankings, where you got your inbound links play a vital role in the search rankings.
More so, if you get more links from relevant directories and websites in the same geographical area, Google may reward you better.
And for that to work, you need to gain links to your brand social media, to your product page (or specific service page), and pass more link juice to your video content. [image
To surmount your competition, you don’t need the best website design or a huge marketing budget. You need compelling content and trusted backlinks. It’s your new advantage.
Compelling content will help you rank for several long-tail keywords that you’re not directly targeting. And being on Google’s first page drives more clicks to your local business landing pages.
Note that when you get few inbound links from a website with high domain authority, this can improve your rankings for highly competitive keyword phrases.
On the flip side, low domain authority websites can result in a nose dive for your web pages that are already climbing the top of organic listings. Ahrefs conducted an exclusive research study in this respect.
If you look at it closely, you’ll agree with me that modern SEO isn’t about keywords, but on the searcher’s intent.
For example, why do people search for “small business tools” in Google?
Are they looking for tools to buy, or they just want to learn how fast new tools are being released in the small business field?
An in-depth market research will answer that question.
Higher Organic Rankings depends on how much you engage your site users
Truly, links are the lifeblood of local search rankings.
But all links are not created equal.
Since 2014, brands that proactively research authority websites, build relationships, and eventually earned links to their web pages, have seen a spike in organic rankings as the year goes by.
The imminent challenge that local businesses face is the time and expertise to build these links. If you’re in the same both, the solution is to:
Build engagement with site visitors.
Engagement is so important.
For instance, when website visitors are engaged, they’ll share content, cite it, leave valuable comments, write honest reviews, and push your brand to the spotlight through word of mouth.
When I did a search for plumber earlier, did you notice what inspired me to click on a search result?
Reviews and star ratings.
You’ll often find reviews and star ratings in rich snippets of the organic search results.
Reviews are hard to get.
Reviews speak volumes and show how responsive your customers and website visitors are towards your content or product.
Customer reviews may not improve your search rankings (at least Google hasn’t made it clear yet), but it improves user experience.
Consequently, the more reviews your local business garner, the more inspired and ready your customers will be. It can increase your product orders.
From the results above, I can boldly say that the trust level you have with customers can be directly or indirectly traced to how engaging your content is.
Yes the term “content engagement” has become a buzzword. So many local businesses throw it around, but only a few people truly knows what it means.
Of course engagement could mean several things at the same time. But when it comes to getting more local customers through content, the engagement that you want can be summarized in these few points:
- Get local clients to click on your headline and read your content.
- Your content inspires local clients to call your business.
- Your ideal customers find your physical business address, and take steps to visit you now or later.
- Get customers to place order on your online store.
And so forth.
At the end of the day, you want to track conversions, not some vanity metrics like reach, comments, and so on.
However, you can increase content engagement if you understand the consumer engagement cycle. This is more or less the various paths that your ideal customer must tour, before deciding on your business.
Local SEO is all about telling great story of your brand without rambling endlessly. You don’t have to be a natural-born storyteller.
Great storytelling entrepreneurs thrive on a simple secret:
They understand their audience more than the average Joe.
In your page title, page description, and within your content, find reasons to tell stories that pique the user’s mind. Don’t stuff keywords. Instead, stuff your content with stories.
This is Marcus Sheridan’s strategy. Though he’s known as a pools guy, but by telling stories of his brand and the struggles he had to go through, his local business went international.
And guess what? Today, he generates more traffic from organic searches. Every challenge that you’ve experienced is a goldmine when creating content.
Tap into it – and tell the story – while driving your brand message home. Your local customers will understand it better.
This article was a contribution from Michael Chibuzor, who is a seasoned freelance writer. If you’re looking for long-form articles that drives traffic and sales, visit ContentMarketingUp.com.