Rumor has it – There has been spreading rumors in the technology industry that local SEO is no longer useful for businesses. With a plethora of updates released by search engines, specifically Google, lots of businesses were confused whether to stick to local SEO or adapt to change.
The truth is, Local SEO is not dying – but instead, it is changing along with other changes in the technology and online industry. For many years, SERPs were dominated by big names and huge enterprise, but ever since the birth of local SEO, small and medium enterprise has been given a chance to capitalize or take advantage of search engine results.
Local SEO is becoming more and more critical for local businesses to grow. Let’s take a look important local SEO is in these recent days.
Over the years since the birth of local SEO, local businesses have encountered several changes which made local optimization crucial for businesses growth.
The Pigeon algorithm update has changed the way local SEO is done. Geolocation has been redesigned and Google search radius has been reduced. Google divided cities into neighborhoods which at first has been a bit confusing for businesses.
There are some businesses that belonged to the wrong neighborhood under certain city while others lost their rankings. However, although it can be a little difficult at first, this change of distance calculations in search can improve marketing efforts by giving consumers a more precise, geolocalized search results. Hence, if you want your business to be visible to your target consumers, focus your search queries on neighborhood searches rather than city searches.
Furthermore, as business owners, you might be surprised to see highly authoritative local directories ranking higher than your business. Directory listings still hold a huge importance in local optimization, however, it has undergone a little bit of change. Highly authoritative business listings will increase your online visibility while other directory listings serve no use. Instead of listing your business to every business directories available, optimize your business by listing it to highly authoritative directory sites.
The increase in local searches is correlated to the staggering increase in mobile searching. About 88% of mobile users use the web to search for local content. This is four percent higher than desktop users with 84%. For mobile searches, a large portion of this figure performs local searches while on the go. Thus, location-specific searches will more likely to increase since mobile devices drive more geographically relevant search engine results as compared to desktops searching.
For businesses, it is very critical to capitalize on this number in order to increase online visibility to target locations. Aside from better positioning in search engine results, taking advantage of mobile growth for local optimization can increase traffic, build brand authority and boost reputation. These three are the trifecta towards the success in bridging the gap between digital and physical stores.
As the competition increase, businesses need to provide consumers with relevant information as to what they are looking for. Google is giving extra attention to providing customized results depending on several search factors such as location. For a business to target the right consumers at a specified location, it needs to optimize location-based search queries.
According to Google Think, 34% of desktop consumers who perform local searches made their way to physical stores and it is even higher for mobile consumers with 50 percent. Also, consumers are more likely to take action if online search ads have complete and relevant information like city, zip code and immediate surrounding.
Local search is a way for consumers to discover locally-based store and it can affect their buying decisions. With your business in a good position in SERPs, it can persuade your audience to take action further down to the purchase funnel.
Google has given small and medium business owners a chance to extend their reach to a wider audience through local optimization. With various tools like analytics, webmasters, and others, this search engine giant provided small businesses with a chance to increase online visibility and explore their full potential online.
Those businesses that do not put their efforts on local optimization miss a lot of opportunities to grow. Local SEO is even more important that it is before. Businesses need to continuously lookout for new and effective ways to capitalize on local optimization.
So if you want to have a step ahead of the competition, intensify your local optimization now. Start now, start right away!
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