Owning a business can be tough and there are many challenges that come with it, especially if it is centered on a particular neighborhood. In an age of social networking and digital marketing where people are completely dependent on the internet than the word of mouth, it can hamper the progress of a local business. In fact, local businesses can easily prosper and in fact, even thrive in their niche areas using digital marketing without undergoing a lot of trouble through the use of local SEO (Search Engine Optimization).

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Local SEO involves the propagation and promotion of businesses to the local customers exactly when they look for a specific type of service. For example, if an individual is looking for a Chinese restaurant in a particular area, they would want to see Chinese restaurants around that place instead of a flower shop, right? Showing irrelevant results could lead to a particularly frustrated customer who might not come back for another bitter experience and even reduce the traffic to your site. Well, using search engines like Google or directories like Yelp, TouchLocal, Superpages, etc., would aid customers to find the best services in their local areas and can lead them to your location. Local businesses can display useful results to any users in a particular area with the help of local SEO. This search engine optimization is much more relevant to users in a specific location (which can be determined through location services). It is even better for visibility as the competition is only confined to a specific location.

Regular SEO can or not include a geographical location and it mostly revolves around the websites with a focus on relevant keywords and links more so than a proper brick or mortar setup. Local SEO is similar to regular SEO but with a few other unique elements like citation & claiming of a local profile. There are a few things to keep in mind to increase your ranking on Google SERP (Search Engine Results Page) or in simple terms, come on the first page of Google results page. For starters, it is important for local businesses to claim their local profile on Google (on Google My Business page) or similar platforms so that individual listings will be displayed for localized results. The second important aspect, i.e., ‘citation’ allows Google to match your local listing with the citation of your company (commonly called as NAP: name, address, phone number). Being consistent with the citation all across the web can help you rank your page better.

Reviews! Reviews of local businesses hold a lot of weightage for ranking factors but this depends on the quality and quantity of reviews on the Google Places page. A major chunk of the online searches are inclined to the local searches. In fact, Google found that about 95% of local searches were conducted by users on their mobiles for either visiting a local business or calling one. Reviews play a major role in the ranking factor for Google, but it is mostly important for users/customers as a large part of their decisions are based on previews and reviews of a service/business. How do these elements (citation, claiming a local profile or reviews) actually help your business? Business listings on the first page of SERP receive 39% of customers from search and about 75% of the users don’t go beyond the first page of SERP.

The importance of local SEO is pretty evident and in order to do well, there are other aspects that can be considered in order to improve the ranking of your business. Having good quality inbound links and on-page optimization strategies can help your service reach more people. Posting good quality photos, keyword-rich descriptions, links from authoritative domains, etc. can certainly help your local businesses’ listing packs.

With local SEO, various search engines would favor and rank those websites that have relevant keywords and trusted locations. These little tips will not only help you rank your local business better but would also help you publicize your business to a large number of people. Taking small steps for better local SEO today can help expand your business (without enormous additional costs) for the upcoming and competitive future ahead.