What is Local SEO and why should I care?

What is Local SEO and why should I care?

If you’re a business owner, you’ve probably heard of Search Engine Optimization or SEO. What you might not have heard of is the more specific practice of Local SEO. “What is local SEO,” you ask? Consider the following example.

Think back to the last time you were out and didn’t know where to eat. You probably pulled out your phone and typed something like “Restaurants near me” into Google. And then you probably saw a results screen that featured something like this:

Restaurants in Portland local search results

How did you interact with that screen? Did you click on any of the businesses to get more information about them? Did you read reviews? Maybe you looked at pictures, checked the Q&A, or clicked through to a menu?

Local SEO is, succinctly, about getting your information in front of searchers, managing their interaction with that info, and, most importantly, converting searchers into paying customers.

Why should you care about Local SEO?

A lot of local businesses disregard SEO entirely because their business doesn’t depend on traffic to their website. But, with the continued rise of local SERPs (search engine results pages) and mobile search, it is an important factor in getting foot traffic through your door.

And here’s another juicy tidbit: Most of your competitors aren’t doing any sort of Local SEO work, meaning you can get an easy leg up on them by starting to implement some best practices. Out of all the businesses I’ve looked at here in Portland, very few are doing things as basic as responding to questions asked on google, leaving potential customers to face absurd answers from ‘Local Guides’ such as this one:

A google question asked about the email of an establishment. A local guide responds that the asker will have to send a physical letter instead.
I would wager the question-asker didn’t write a physical letter. That’s at least one lead down the drain!

What do marketers think?

In Moz’s 2019 “State of Local SEO Industry Report,” 64% of marketers agreed that “Google is becoming the new ‘homepage’ for local businesses, which emphasizes just how important it is to optimize your Google My Business profile and Knowledge Panel. Surprisingly, only 49% “believe that use of other Google Knowledge Panel Features, like Posts and Q&A, impacts local pack rankings” and a whopping 42% responded that they either had no opinion or weren’t even familiar with Knowledge Panel Features!

A google search for Portland City Grill, featuring a Knowledge Panel SERP.
The Knowledge Panel is featured on the right of the search results. If you’re like most people, you’ve recently used one as a primary source of information about a local business.

Local SEO presents a clear growth opportunity for any local business. Want to learn more? Subscribe to my newsletter to get regular tips and tricks right to your inbox.


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