Local Map SEO: Benefits for Neighbourhood Businesses

What is SEO?
Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is a digital marketing strategy that aims to bring up your website so it shows up on top search result pages. This is a common term tossed around by people working in the tech industry but for people outside it (which can be several other business owners), SEO may not be a term that is so familiar.

To find success in SEO, you need to use the proper keywords (words used by people when searching for a product or searching for businesses similar or close to yours), link build (making connections to different websites online that offer similar businesses or services to yours) and create efficient content (making unique articles and blogs that contain properly placed keywords). The thing about SEO is that it attracts an organic, unpaid audience, and if done right, it will be like striking gold because of the growth you’ll see in your website traffic, and eventually, in conversions.

Although this type of marketing is more long-term in nature, you need to give time to build your reputation online. The common misconception for SEO is that this will help make your business an overnight success, and while eventually, it will be a success, it won’t be overnight. You just need to be patient with it.

SEO and Local SEO
Since the internet is a borderless place, you can reach any market for as far as you can with SEO. You can reach an audience who is located a thousand kilometers away from you with ease, and vice versa. However, for local businesses, reaching an audience located overseas when your business is in Australia is counterproductive and a complete waste of time because this is not your target audience.

To narrow this down, a Local SEO marketing scheme exists so you can focus on the local market alone. This is to address the need of local businesses wanting to focus on their immediate area demographics. Doing this will be great for restaurant owners and service-based dealings that want to cater only to the locals and/or visiting tourists.

In the previous years, over 45 % of Google searches, 25 % of Bing searches and 25 % of Yahoo searches have specific location terms. Additionally, over 50 % of mobile phone searches over the previous year also involved local searches.

With the current rise of people preferring to use mobile devices when searching, it is highly possible that the per cent of it involving local searches will also increase. This means you must take advantage of this fact.

What is Local SEO?
Normally, when people visit a store, a restaurant or even make a purchase, they search the internet before paying the physical store a visit or going through with the purchase. The same can be said for any service-based business. For this reason, having your information available online is extremely important for people to know that your business exists.

This is one of the reasons why Local SEO is important for your business’ marketing. Local SEO is the optimisation of your website so you can show up in the search engine result pages (SERPs) and your information will be readily available in local searches when people look for it online.

The thing that makes Local SEO unique from general SEO is the fact that it has a focus on certain groups of people – the locals. Aside from the usual keyword optimisation, link building and email support, there are other things that you need to do when doing local SEO.

Google My Business (Google Search, Google Maps, Google+)
Most stores have input their business information in Google My Business. When people search for something, typically, the first thing you will notice in the SERPs is the paid ads (this is the pay per click campaigns or PPC).

However, below the paid ads, you will see a box and within it is a list of three stores. These are considered the top three businesses located in the vicinity. Aside from the business name, in the list includes the stores’ addresses, phone numbers, links to their websites and reviews (in stars). This is often referred to as the ‘local three pack’.

Having your business included in the ‘local three pack’ is a great advantage for you because your business name, address, phone number, and location will be one of the first things your prospects will see on the search engine results pages. Also, your business information is available without having to open your website since people can see it straight on Google.

Although still gaining popularity as a social media platform, Google My Business greatly helps with your website’s ranking which is why this is included as part of a business’ most crucial social media platforms. Additionally, your business address will be on Google Maps making it easier for people to find your location and follow easy directions to get there.

Business Directories and Citations
This is one of the most important aspects of Local SEO. Commonly referred to as the NAP (Name, Address, Phone Number), this is the way for you to direct your customers to your physical store.

However, you need to be cautious about putting your NAP because there is a need to be strictly consistent in the information you put in it. The reason for this is because you may have changed phone numbers or addresses and updated one platform but failed to update everything else – leaving your customers and potential customers confused.

Thus, should you have your information in multiple directories (by the way, you should), you must ensure their consistency. The same can be said with how your NAP is written.

Proper outlining should be followed; for example, this is how a typical proper outline looks like

XYZ Store
P. Sherman 42, Wallaby Way,
Sydney, SA 2430
0419 123 456

In contradiction, this is the wrong way to do it,

P. Sherman 42, Wallaby Way,
Sydney, SA 2430
Store XYZ
0419 123 555

Local Reviews
There are local websites like Yelp where people can read about your business and can even give reviews about it. This can also be done on the Google My Business page since you can give a review via ‘stars’.

Reviews can help make (or break) a business. Having real people share their personal testimonies of your business will help entice (or discourage) other potential customers. People trust online reviews since these are raw accounts of a customer’s experience, as well as there exists a certainty that reviews are not just a marketing plot. Do your best to gather good reviews and if you ever have any bad reviews, learn how to handle them well.

Title Tags and Meta Description Tags
This is the title and description found on the SERP. Limited by a certain character count, you need to be smart in what you input on your title and description.

Normally neglected, these matter for your SEO and in attracting traffic. These two are the first things that people will see when they search for a business like yours. That said, you need to be able to encapsulate your message clearly using only a limited character count. This will also help in your ranking and website visibility since you will need to incorporate in keywords.

Aside from that, the title and description will serve as the deciding factor for people whether they want to click on your link, making this an extremely important aspect of your whole campaign.

There are people that think SEO (or local SEO) is simply dead-end marketing (since it takes time to see results). However, the truth is it just takes quite some time to see results pick up with SEO. When they do, there is more advantage to this than just having your information available online. Here are more advantages of SEO:

Build Brand Awareness
Since your information can be found in local searches, you are able to make people from your neighbourhood learn about your business. Your information will be available any time of the day, whether they are at home on a desktop or on the go via mobile.

Having this type of reach is great in spreading the awareness of the service or product you are selling. This will also help in building a brand for your company.

The problem local businesses usually have is they are usually toppled by big companies because of branding. For example, in clothing, many prefer big brands because of the way these types of brands are portrayed and marketed compared to the local brands – some theme examples are exclusive, fun and easy.

Local SEO can help in such a way that local businesses too can have the opportunity to etch their brand in people’s subconscious. An advantage of this is it helps you find your unique online voice that will differentiate your business from the others.

Organic Traffic
The reason why SEO (in general) is extremely popular is because of the organic traffic it attracts. Many marketers strive to get this kind of traffic because this is unpaid. This means people willingly and purposely click on your website because they are genuinely interested in your product (article, blog or even infographic).

Better Conversions
SEO is affordable in terms of marketing costs since all you need is a good working internet connection and a computer. This is unlike the traditional form of marketing where there is a need to create merchandise or equipment, print leaflets, put up billboards, or pay for television advertising. With comparatively smaller costs but a huge reach (in terms of audience), over time you can experience a significant return on investment (ROI) from your marketing efforts.

The advantage is more so prevalent in Local SEO. Since your target market is in the locale, it’ll be easier to reach a target market and tap into leads that are more likely to turn into conversions.

Establish Credibility
One of the perks of SEO is being able to create links online. Doing so will help build your business credibility. This is especially important once you can build links from websites being in the same or a related industry as yours.

Aside from building links, you can also establish credibility through email marketing and social media marketing (both are still part of SEO and marketing). With these platforms, your customers can reach you with ease regarding your product or services and you’ll be able to know what they think about your offers.

This will give you a chance to build a good rapport with your audience as you establish a good and strong credibility, that eventually results as well to good relationships and having a trusted brand.

Level the Playing Field with Competition
Since it is affordable, small businesses will have no problem including Local SEO in their marketing strategy. Considering that this is a cost-efficient way to market your product or service, local businesses have a chance to be on the same marketing platform as the big companies.

Aside from being on the same platform, both are basically doing the same thing. This will help in levelling the playing field between small businesses and huge corporations marketing-wise.

In Summary
Simply having a website and a social media account is not enough. With so many people putting up a business, you need to have yours stand out from the crowd; local Map SEO (and SEO in general) is your way to do that.

It is important to remember that you will need to extend your patience when doing this because the reality is, seeing results will take time. This may be the reason why you might opt in doing Local Map SEO on your own because you may think that this is an expense you may not necessarily want to make a priority, but you would be wrong.

Hiring experts who are well-versed and experienced in SEO will make a greater impact in your marketing. There are affordable SEO services in Australia to help businesses like yours get the traffic (and sales) it needs. Low Cost SEO Plans, for instance, offers different services that cater to your business’ unique goals, and these packages will vary depending on how big you want your marketing effort. Get to know more about our services on our website here.