There’s a different way people search for products and services online. When customers search for a restaurant, they look for the nearest store and they want it as soon as possible. They wouldn’t drive several hours just to eat in a restaurant. They are hungry and they want to eat and satisfy their hunger as soon as possible.

Is your business optimized for local search results? In a competitive industry, you would want to make sure that customers will pick your store over the others. If local SEO isn’t part of your marketing strategy yet, you could be losing business to your competitors.

Nearly 46% of all Google searches are seeking local information and 88% of consumers who do a local search on their smartphones visit or call a store within a day? If you don’t have any local SEO strategy, it is unlikely that you will drive more customers to your store.

How Local SEO Works?

The aim of local SEO is to help businesses promote their products and services to local prospects and customers. To gather information for local search, search engines rely on signals such as local content, social profile pages, links, and citations to generate the most relevant local results to the user.

Nowadays, there is a difference in the way people search for “coffee shops” and “coffee shops Makati.” The former involves a comprehensive search where the user could just be looking for general information. The latter, on the other hand, is a search for a specific location which indicates that the searcher may be looking for local business.

“Near me” or “close by” searches has grew by more than 900% in the last two years. Search result information will send 70% of consumers to a physical store.

Local SEO combines two main parts for a local business: 1) organic results; and 2) local pack- Google My Business. The local pack or what is called the “Google Snack Pack” are the top 3 listings in the search engine results page. Below it are the organic results. On the first page alone, the first five results account for 67.60% of all the clicks.

The aim of local SEO is to ensure that your business ranks in the local pack. Why? Because 74% of consumers search for something local on their phone. If you can put your local business in front, there’s a good chance that customers will be walking through your door.

The easiest way to optimize your local business for local searches is through Google My Business. In a 2017 Moz study about local SEO ranking factors, Google My Business emerged as the top most important factor for ranking in maps results. If your local business isn’t on Google My Business yet, it’s to claim yours and optimize it. Here’s how:

1. Complete your business profile information

The first step in optimizing your local brick and mortar store for Google My Business is to update your business information. It is known by the abbreviation NAP (name, address, phone number). You should also update your hours of operation and other related fields to your business. It is highly recommended to complete as many fields as you can.

Choose your business categories

You can choose up to 10 categories to list your business. This will give you an opportunity to show the myriad of services that your business offers. However, you are only limited to one primary category. Choose your primary and secondary categories wisely.

Add a business description.

Business descriptions do not only provide information about your company but also improves your search rankings in Google. It is highly recommended that you maximize the use of every character. Business descriptions have a 730-750 character limit.

2. Upload more and better images

According to Google, businesses with photos receive 42% more requests for driving directions to their locations from users and 35% more clicks on their website than those without photos. If you sell products, highlight them on your GMB listing. If you are a service provider, show off the work that you do. Other people can add images to your page, too.

3. Respond to reviews

Never underestimate the power of online reviews. When making a purchase decision, consumers rely on the experience of others. 85% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations.  In addition, 30% of consumers say they judge a business based on their response to reviews. One way of boosting your rankings in local SEO is your promptness in responding to reviews. Always respond to reviews as it gives a good impression of your business.

4. Use posts to promote events, offers, and content

In 2017, Google launched Google Posts for businesses. Before this, you had to share content, promos, and offers on your website and social platforms. With Google Posts, your content can show up on Google Search and Google Maps. Now, you can post blog articles, company news, upcoming events, special offers, or product promotion on your GMB page.

5. Upload videos  

Google My Business now allows businesses to upload videos on their business profile. They are a great way to grab the attention of customers. The maximum length for videos is 30 seconds but it is possible to upload videos up to 90 seconds without difficulty. As for the file size, keep it under 100 MB and you should be fine.

Why is Local SEO Important?

Now that you have an understanding of consumer behavior when searching for a local business, In a competitive industry, it is important for customers to find your business first before competitors. If you are still not convinced, here are more reasons why local SEO services is important for your business.

Local exposure

Local SEO services helps you target potential customers in your area. If you are just starting out and have no customers yet, local SEO is a good idea. My VA Station can help provide you with a target audience for your business.

Link building and social sharing

Local SEO can help generate potential partnerships between you and local customers. They can help grow your business in the future. Our SEO professionals can build and share your link to local search engines like Google Places, Bing Places, Yellow Pages, Foursquare, and others.

Business extension

Your website serves as a second location for your business. Local SEO makes it easier for users to find your business and engage with you when searching for products that you offer.

It’s time you get noticed by local customers. Contact us today and give your business the expansion it deserves.

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