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by Andy Williams on 25th March 2014
The importance of SEO can’t be under estimated, even in these ever changing times. Whilst the majority of online businesses favour a national campaign, without also running a Local SEO campaign your business could be missing traffic that should otherwise be yours. Does this sound familiar?
Ask yourself the following questions, are you carrying out a Local SEO Campaign? Are you missing traffic?
In this post I will be looking at what you, as an online business owner, may be missing out on by not implementing a Local SEO campaign to run alongside your national one.
70% of mobile searchers will call a business DIRECTLY from a search results page [Source: Search Engine Watch]
Put another way, 70% of searchers will find the information they need WITHOUT even needing to visit a website.
Think about that for a minute. Now ask yourself the following question, are they calling you?
If the answer is no it’s most likely because the information provided by Google was localised and the lack of Local SEO optimisation has held you back.
Google’s persistence to provide its users with the most personal results has led them to deliver localised results IF Google deems the search to have local intent.
If your products or services are deemed to have local intent behind them and you haven’t optimised for local you may be missing out on local traffic and custom.
Here is what I mean;
I’m based in Southampton.
If I search for “restaurants” (very generic I know) on my mobile here is what I see in return:
I am instantly displayed with local restaurants based on my location – despite the fact I haven’t added a location.
Google knows where I am, and on the back of that will strive to deliver me local results where possible. I don’t even have to be logged into my Google account.
Now if we look at the results returned to be above, it’s a fair guess that all of these clearly have some kind of Local SEO for Southampton or Hampshire running.
There is enough information being displayed for me to make a judged decision as to whether I will be going to any of these places. And if I am, all I have to do is tap on the “Call” button.
I don’t have to visit any of their sites. I can even ask Google to provide me with directions. The same is also true from a Desktop search.
The information is related to Google Local data, which is just one element of any Local SEO campaign, but highlights just how powerful having your local campaign in place can be.
If I carry out the same search on my desktop I am faced with even more local results. This time more visible organic results. Again I’m not even logged in yet I receive local search results for Southampton.
As you can see, a Local SEO campaign is essential. So, if there is a risk that Google will display local results, doesn’t it make sense that you should do what you can to ensure you are in the mix?
Well a Local SEO campaign can be broken down into seven areas. All of which are highly important. With just one element not optimised correctly you could hold yourself back.
Unlike a more generic SEO campaign, Local SEO is quite specific in where you need to work.
By maintaining all of the following areas you will be supplying Google with the information that helps define you as local to your area and the needed citations to back this up.
Much like your national campaign you need the right local optimisation to be carried out to ensure you are giving Google the right signals.
Content marketing is now as important as the SEO itself and this is no different when it comes to Local. You need to be making sure that not only your on-page content is highly relevant, but also your off-site content marketing.
As we have already seen with the stat earlier in this post, mobile is now a huge part of Local SEO. With such a high percentage of mobile searches having local connotations you need to be mobile ready.
Do you have a presence on all the relevant local profiles? Are they set up correctly and are they verified?
Gaining the right citations from the right sources is essential to any Local SEO campaign but this involves research, knowing where to look and then how to gain the needed citations.
This is often seen as the hardest element of Local SEO, gaining the needed reviews into the right profiles to ensure you are competitive and to help you stand out from the crowd.
Mainly Google Local – getting your Google profiles set up correctly is essential. Marrying them up to your site is just as important. Other platforms you may have already covered, however, much like any SEO campaign, in order to find success you need to have all areas covered.
Of course there will always be the on-going argument that “We don’t need a Local SEO campaign – our audience is national”.
Here are some more bits of information to think about;
So if Google are now providing local results for any search THEY deem to have local intent, what does this mean for more generic organic rankings?
Well there may be a very real possibility that you find yourself in a situation where a long standing ranking you held for a certain term has now been pushed down the result pages.
With local information now becoming a priority in what Google display, generic organic rankings are now losing out on “above the fold” rankings as a result.
You may have held 3rd spot for pet supplies for a good few years. However, if Google adds local information you could actually be pushed to the bottom of the page of even to the second page.
Here is what I see on my Desktop for Pet Supplies – Above the Fold;
Those local results have effectively pushed four organic listings down the page.
Again, I am fed Local Search results for the area I am in – Southampton.
Again, I’m not logged in.
And let’s again go back to that first statistic of this post – “70% of mobile searchers will call a business DIRECTLY from a search results page”. If your ranking has been one of those pushed down you have totally made way for a competitor to take away your customers.
If you have all the right local implements in place it could well be that you could see your original rankings pushed down BUT still have a presence in the local information Google displays in its place.
But only if you have your Local SEO campaign up and running.
Local is important, Mobile is important and as smartphone technology continues to progress the two are becoming more and more entwined.
Don’t miss out.
3D Pointer via BigStock