Why SEO Is Important For Local Businesses
After the COVID pandemic, local SEO has assumed even greater significance. With the travel restrictions in place, businesses’ target group has become more localized or narrowed down (not necessarily lesser volume). From ‘act local and think global, COVID has now forced businesses to ‘act local and think local.’ Local SEO is mandatory if you want to stay afloat in St Helens.
Many businesses worldwide have been badly affected by the ‘complete lockdown’ or ‘stay at home’ order due to the COVID pandemic. With numerous restrictions between countries and even cities, a business will now increasingly look to cater to consumers within a radius of their location. Consumers will also look to resort to local businesses to meet their needs.
Localising your market does not necessarily translate into reduced business volume. It simply means prioritising people in your location.
Though restrictions are still in place, there are no restrictions on the internet. In fact, the COVID pandemic led to customers using the internet more frequently to study and compare products or services. This is why local SEO is more important than ever.
In this article, we shall understand how local SEO is important to ensure the following points:
- More reliability for customers
- Attract more relevant and qualified traffic
- Higher conversion rate
- Driving sales even offline
- Increase sales revenue with repeat business
- Narrow down options for consumers
- Forging meaningful and long term relationships
- Increase online footprint and search rankings
- Your business gets listed in online local directories
- Paradigm shift in business approach
More reliability for customers
The online world can be deceptive. What you see is not always what you get. Though customers may spend more time on the internet and browse your website, many would prefer talking to you or even driving to your business location to understand your products and service firsthand. They can do so because local SEO gives them access to your contact details like telephone number and e-mail, and your address on Google Maps.
Attract more relevant and qualified traffic
Local SEO takes into account two main factors- proximity and intent. It directs searchers who are more likely to avail your product and services depending on the area specified in the Google search bar. With local SEO, it is highly unlikely for a customer located 50 miles to be directed to a business or website. He/She will instead be directed to the nearest business location. Such traffic is more qualified and more likely to translate into sales.
Higher conversion rate
As customers have the option to understand your product firsthand either by browsing the net or visiting your business location, they are better equipped to make a well-informed decision. This leads to more sales from even less traffic to your website.
Sample this, according to data from Search Engine Watch, a whopping 80 percent of local searches convert into sales. Also, 86 percent rely on the internet for local searches, and 46 percent of all searches are for products and services within a radius of the customers’ location.
This higher conversion rate also contributes to a higher Google ranking while boosting your website and business’s credibility.
Driving sales even offline.
If your product or services garners positive reviews from local customers, they will recommend it to those who are not even looking for it. This is called ‘word of mouth,’ and in the post COVID era, it is the most crucial factor to boost your business.
Increase sales revenue with repeat business
One of the major advantages of business through local SEO is that the time to deliver a product or service is significantly reduced. Transportation charges are also reduced considerably as the business location is closer to the customers. These two factors of local SEO more often than not lead to repeat business and increased sales revenue.
Narrow down options for consumers
Having too much to choose from can be confusing. On the contrary, if you have a few options to choose from, it becomes easier to analyse different products and services before deciding. Also, as local SEO throws up products and services that are locally available or nearby, they would more often than not cater to all your requirements.
Forging meaningful and long term relationships
With the distance barrier breached and communication easier and faster, local SEO has allowed businesses to build meaningful and long-term relationships with their customer. This is mainly achieved through direct phone calls, e-mails, and instant feedback on the website.
Local SEO ensures an increased interaction between the business owners and customers. This communication is sparse when the service provider or product manufacturer is thousands of miles away or in a country with different time zones.
Increase online footprint and search rankings
With more people looking for products and services locally available, if both your online content and product or service are designed to meet local customer’s needs, it would boost your online presence and footprint.
It is mandatory to have high-quality content curated around the local requirements because recent statistics show that 97 percent of people want to know a company’s online presence before they even visit them. In other words, your website should be popular and promoted by customers across different platforms.
Your business gets listed in online local directories
Major search engines collate data according to business type and locations and create local directories to help customers looking for products and services in a specific area. The use of local SEO ensures that your business gets featured in local directories. Examples of such directories are Google My Business, Bing Places, Yelp, Yext, etc.
Being listed on these directories boosts your business and helps you prove that your business is valid and legitimate. Some directories also have business ratings that help you gain credibility and trust. Local directories also specify location and contact details which directly translate to sales.
A paradigm shift in business approach
There will be some established concepts and business rules in the pre-COVID era that will be challenged. To make a business process less cumbersome, consumers will be ready to expand their options beyond established brands. They will be prepared to check lesser-known brands that are locally available and support them.
This gives smaller or lesser-known businesses a chance to compete with more established and reputed ones. This will also bring competitive pricing into play and allow smaller companies to establish themselves.
It is not just the consumers that will change their approach and thinking process. Even businesses will try new strategies and online content to attract more local customers. Whether you are new or established in the online marketing world, you cannot overlook local SEO.