The days when local visibility on the web was a “nice to have” marketing strategy for local businesses are long gone.
Nowadays, local businesses that don’t invest in online visibility risk being left behind and forgotten by customers who trust Google to recommend service providers. Thus, it’s gone from a “nice to have” to a “MUST have” for all local businesses.
Because more customers are searching for local service providers online than ever before. In fact, according to Social Media Today, 97% of search engine users searched on Google to find local businesses in 2019.
Luckily, it’s not too late for you to start reaping the benefits of local SEO.
This article will go into depth about what local SEO is, why it’s important, and discuss the five pillars of local visibility that’ll help you gain more website visitors and customers.
What is local SEO, and why do you need it?
Local SEO (search engine optimization) is a marketing strategy that helps your business appear in the local search results on Google.
For example, if I were to search for “local landscaping businesses near me”, I would get the following results:
Based on the results, I’ll choose one of these businesses and either visit their website or call them to use their services.
Just like that, they’ve gained a customer — without paying a cent on advertising.
That’s the power of local SEO.
Aside from more customers and sales, local SEO can also help your business:
- Build trust with customers
- Improve your online presence and visibility
- Build authority within your industry
- Reduce the amount of money you spend on ads
- Result in more and better reviews
- Increase your number of repeat customers
- Boost your ROI
5 pillars of local visibility
Here are the key steps that you can take to improve the visibility of your business in your local area:
Pillar 1: Google My Business
Since Google is the largest search engine in the world, accounting for approximately 83% of the global search market, it makes sense to focus most of your efforts here.
Your first step is to set up a Google My Business (GMB) page. This page acts as a directory page for your business inside Google. Google will use the data from this page to show your business in local searches.
To set up this page, head to https://business.google.com/create and follow the steps.
Once you’ve created your business profile, make sure to add all the relevant information, including your contact details, photographs, list of services, full description, and logo.
You also want to perform several weekly activities to improve your listing so that Google sends more customers your way.
Pillar 2: NAP
The second pillar of local SEO is known as NAP. Hold on before you grab a pillow… Not that kind of NAP.
The NAP I’m referring to here stands for “Name, Address, and Phone Number.”
When marketing online, your NAP info must be correct and consistent across the internet (including on your site, your Google My Business page, social media profiles, and any other websites that might list your business details).
The great thing about NAP is that it doesn’t only show Google that you’re a trustworthy business (and improves your online visibility), but it also enhances your customers’ user experience as they’re able to contact you and visit your website without a hitch.
Pillar 3: Citations
Citations are online mentions of your business’ NAP details. These include both:
- Full citations: Where ALL the information, including your business name, address, and phone number (NAP), are present.
- Partial citations: Where only a part of your NAP information is mentioned. For example, your business name and location appear, but your phone number is missing.
Both of these citations will help your site with local SEO. However, full citations are far more valuable in Google’s eyes.
This means that the more citations you have (remember to focus on full citations first), the more Google will start seeing your business as credible, and the better your chances are of ranking for local searches.
Humans will also see these citations. So, the more your company details are available, the more opportunities you have to drive traffic to your site.
Pillar 4: Reviews
Did you know nine out of ten customers worldwide read reviews before buying products?
With more and more local businesses putting effort into local marketing, reviews have become a staple in customers’ buying decisions.
The more reviews (preferably with 5-star ratings) your business receives, the more likely customers are to click on your site as opposed to your competitors.
Regarding your local ranking, Google will look at your Google My Business page as the primary review source and consider other authority sites such as Facebook as well.
Google allows users to leave reviews in two ways:
- Just a star rating
- A star rating with a testimonial
While the first will improve your average rating, the second will do the same and make your listing appear more often for the right keywords.
Pillar 5: Website Content
The final pillar of local SEO is your website’s content. This includes:
- A complete list of your services so that Google knows exactly what services you offer and which type of customers it needs to send your way.
- Customer testimonials with the customer’s details, including their name, location, and a mention of the service they used.
- Featured projects with before and after photos that showcase what customers can expect when they work with you. This will establish you as an expert and make customers choose you over competitors.
- A list of your service areas so that Google knows what areas you work in and can send customers to you who live in or near those areas.
- Helpful content about your services that’s valuable to the reader in some way. For example, if you offer painting services, you can have an article like “5 Things to Keep in Mind When Choosing Paint for Your Roof”. This will be extremely helpful to the reader, and they will start trusting your business.
- An FAQ section where you answer customers’ most common questions about your services, how your process works, and any other questions you get asked.
The more relevant and helpful content you include, the better.
I mean, think about it…
Imagine websites for two plumbing companies. Let’s call them Joe’s Plumbers and Pro Plumbing.
- Joe’s Plumbers doesn’t mention a complete list of its services, testimonials, FAQs, or helpful content.
- On the other hand, Pro Plumbing has all of the above on its website.
Which business do you think is going to get more customers from Google?
Definitely Pro Plumbers!
Ready to get more local customers?
Implementing the five pillars of local visibility into your SEO strategy can help your business show up more often on Google. What will this mean for your business?
More phone calls from potential customers who are actively looking for your services.
To see what the 5 pillars are doing for our clients, read “How local businesses are getting 40+ phone calls per month from Google.”
By implementing all five pillars of local visibility into your SEO strategy, your business will start appearing in more local searches, resulting in higher website traffic and more sales.
Schedule a call with us to chat about your SEO strategy and how we can help you improve your local visibility.