Why Small Businesses Should Use Local SEO


14 min remaining

Digital devices are becoming more important for consumers to access information. Local SEO strategies are a great way for small businesses to connect with local users, grow their local followings, boost foot traffic, and increase sales.

Is your phone within reach?

An overwhelming majority of adults have their smartphones within arms reach at all times. You may be reading this report even from your smartphone.

Digital devices and the internet are increasingly relied upon by consumers to access general information.

This dependency is further intensified by the recent shift to hybrid and remote working models. Digital devices are now integral to both personal and professional life.

Consider how often you use your smartphone to search for information about restaurants, businesses, and events in a particular area. Local searches include phrases like “restaurants near me”, “New York hotels” or “car repair DC”.

Nearly 50% of Google searches are local in intent. This highlights the importance of being at the top search results pages for SEO companies or businesses that target a local audience.

Local SEO strategies can be used by businesses to improve their chances of being found on search results pages for their target areas and to connect with people who are most likely to convert to paying customers.

There are many ways small businesses can improve their digital presence through local SEO. Each offering its benefits.

  • Mobile users can be reached with local SEO strategies that are highly effective.
  • Local SEO is a great investment that can help local businesses build a following.
  • Local SEO strategies can help increase foot traffic to local businesses
  • A positive experience in-store can help you generate sales with effective local SEO

Our findings:

  • Sixty-one percent (61%) of internet users say at least one-third of their searches are made from a smartphone, which shows the potential for businesses to reach potential customers via search.
  • The likelihood of younger consumers searching for information via mobile devices is higher than that of older generations. 57% of those under thirty-five report that at least half of their internet searches are made from a mobile device, compared to 53% among consumers aged 35-54 and 31% among consumers over 55.
  • Nearly half (44%) of consumers say that they use search engines frequently to find information about local businesses and services.
  • More than three-quarters of consumers (76%) will search the company website before they visit their physical location.
  • A strong online presence will increase the likelihood that 45% of customers will visit a physical location.

With local SEO strategies, small businesses can reach mobile users.

Smartphones track their owners everywhere, from the kitchen to the grocery shop, on runs, on vacation, and everywhere else. As they go about their day, consumers look to their smartphones for any information.

61% of consumers claim that 25% of their internet searches are done from a smartphone, which highlights the growing dependence on smartphones.

These mobile users are most likely out and about using their smartphones to find specific information, products, or services that match their needs in their immediate area.

Mobile devices are more popular with younger consumers than those of older generations. 57% of those under the age of 30 say at least half their internet searches are made from mobile devices, compared to 53% for consumers aged 35-54 and 31% for consumers over 55.

Stephen Light, CMO at mattress company Nolah Mattress said that mobile searches are ideal for quick and causal research. “I use mobile devices for answers that I can find within ten minutes of searching.”

Light, on the other hand, prefers desktop devices to do in-depth research. The interface allows for more flexibility and can be used with multiple tabs or web pages simultaneously.

Light consumers appreciate the ease of mobile devices for finding answers quickly and relevant information.

Google is slowly adding more information to search result pages to answer users’ queries, but they don’t require them to click directly to a website. These include:

  • Snippets featured
  • Carousel of top stories
  • People also ask (PPA) questions
  • Knowledge panels

The need to be visible on search results pages is further highlighted by the rise in “no-click searches”.

Local SEO strategies are essential for small businesses to increase their search rankings, especially in mobile searches.

Small businesses must understand the search habits of their target audience before they can develop a local SEO strategy.

Mobile devices are more popular with younger consumers than those of older generations. 57% of those under the age of 30 say at least half their internet searches are made from mobile devices, compared to 53% for consumers aged 35-54 and 31% for consumers over 55.

Businesses that target younger customers are more likely than older consumers to use their phones for quick searches. Therefore, they have the greatest chance to benefit from strong local SEO.

However, all businesses can reap the benefits of appearing at the top of search results pages using local SEO strategies. This is especially important for people who are looking for additional information about COVID-19 and their health and safety.

Andriy Bogdanov is the CEO of Online divorce. He uses his smartphone to quickly search for news, entertainment, and any other information he requires.

Bogdanov stated that he searches for specific information about his location almost daily, if not every hour, especially in the context of this pandemic. “I would look for the most recent news and any changes in regulation in my area.”

Smartphone users are more inclined to use local searches when they need quick answers or specific information.

Local SEO strategies can be used by small businesses to increase their visibility in search results pages, get their website and name in front of users, and funnel potential clients to their mobile websites.

Local SEO helps businesses build a community following

Imagine that you are on a road trip from Washington, DC to Florida. It’s lunchtime in South Carolina and you want pizza.

To find local restaurants, you can use your smartphone to type “pizza Charleston South Carolina” into your search engine.

This scenario is likely to be familiar to most consumers. Nearly half (44%) of consumers search for information about services or businesses in a particular location.

Businesses that operate primarily from a physical location are more likely to rely on local communities for their business.

The majority of business is based in the vicinity of a company’s headquarters. However, it is important for small businesses they reach new people or people who are passing through.

Small businesses that want to be established in their local community will need to do local SEO.

There are many ways to optimize web content to increase local visibility online. The following steps are the most important:

  • Your homepage should display what your company does, and where it is located.
  • Optimize your site’s meta descriptions and title tags to include target areas
  • Separate web pages to showcase products and services that are specific to a particular area
  • Add your business to the local directory listings and resources

These best practices ensure that both local communities and those who are just passing through have easy access to information about businesses that can meet their needs.

Matt Calik, Head of SEO at search marketing agency Delante agrees that small businesses should start with the basics of SEO when planning their local strategy.

Calik stated that basic information such as business name, address and hours, website and contact information, social media platforms, and even a FAQ section is a must-have.

This information can be made easily available to help establish a local presence in the community and increase word-of-mouth referrals from members of the community.

Chris Wilks is the digital marketing director at a brand consulting agency, BrandExtract. He stated that local SEO results are often best for businesses that are well-integrated with their communities both offline and online.

Support from the community will be a benefit to small businesses that have a strong local SEO presence. They will be more likely to appear in consumer searches. Word-of-mouth referrals from the community will also help them generate more business.

Get more foot traffic by reaching local customers

Smartphones are now at the fingertips of consumers, allowing them to access all information that they need to make informed decisions.

76% of consumers will look for company websites before visiting their physical location. This is about three-quarters of the population.

Kobe Digital discovered that mobile use is different between younger and older generations. However, consumers of all ages are more likely to search online for information about a company before visiting them in person. 77% of consumers below 35 years old, 91% of those aged 35-54, and 87% of those over 54 were found to be searching for it online.

This highlights how easy it is to find and see information online that can drive foot traffic for local businesses, regardless of their target market.

A consumer might look at a restaurant’s menu first before deciding to eat there. They may also check the store hours before heading to the store. Or, they may see which movies are showing before purchasing tickets.

Bogdanov, of Online Divorce, said that he often searches online before going to a store in person. “I would like to have a feel for what I am about to do — especially restaurants, so I can see what they offer and the atmosphere, as well as the past experiences of those who have eaten there.”

Roy Morejon is the president of the marketing and design firm Enventys Partners. He says: “Convenience reigns supreme, so a little research can save the customer disappointment or the inconvenience that comes with going to a physical location of a company and not getting what they want or expecting.”

A business’s ability to provide useful information to its customers at a glance, whether it is on its website or search results pages, increases the likelihood that they will convert to in-store visits.

Basic information such as name, address, and phone number should be prioritized by businesses — commonly referred to simply as NAP.

“Consistency in NAP information across sites and all citations is the best local SEO strategy — it’s that simple,” said Cary Haun (technical SEO specialist at Twelve Three Media), a digital marketing agency.

Experts recommend other search-based strategies to small businesses, in addition to content optimization.

  • Concentrate on GoogleMap Packs: “Map Packs are the most common in local searches and are often the most prominent in search result pages. So earning the top spot should be a priority to local businesses.” Chris Wilks. BrandExtract
  • Optimize Google My Business Listing: This is a simple way to make your company visible to customers. Dave Nilsson ConvertedClick
  • Collect client reviews: “If a small business ignores Google Reviews, it will be left behind.” Google Listings will sort local businesses by relevance, prominence, and distance. Reviews are a way to improve reputation and relevancy — which accounts for 15% of Google Map Pack ranking.” Product marketing copywriter, Best Company

Small businesses can increase foot traffic by optimizing their website content and using Google features to share relevant information about their business.

Local SEO Strategies can help you generate sales

A strong presence on search engines can encourage people to visit the business’s physical locations.

A strong online presence can help a local business attract 45% of customers to its physical location.

Small businesses that optimize their website content, Google ranking, and conversion rate will have a greater chance of converting casual searchers to in-store visits.

Businesses have greater opportunities to close more sales when they have more customers. Small businesses should start to think about strategies to drive sales in-store once they have been ranked for their location.

Businesses can increase their digital presence by including video testimony which gives potential customers a preview of what to expect during their visit in-store.

Enventys Partners’ Morejon believes that videos can be used to establish a human connection.

Morejon stated, “I always tell my customers to have video testimonials whenever they can.” You can make the customer feel authentic with a clear, open space and a color scheme that matches your tone for customer service in physical locations.

Morejon recommends that small businesses share information about the team. This helps users feel more connected to the people behind their business before they meet them face-to-face.

Businesses looking to increase in-store sales can benefit from video testimonials. However, they need significant investment. You can reap the same benefits for small businesses by including basic reviews.

Stephen Light, a consumer, relies heavily upon reviews before making a purchase decision.

Light stated that online reviews are a good way to find out if an establishment is worth my money and time. “If they have many negative reviews, I will not spend my hard-earned cash on their products or services.”

Small businesses may use testimonials and reviews as a way to show their value to customers. However, getting customers to the door is only the first step in generating sales. Businesses must also live up to this positive image in person.

Wilks, BrandExtract: “Once your site has ranked high in search results pages, and you have made enough convincing arguments for users to give you a chance to market their business,” Wilks said.

Customers can benefit from special offers such as discounts, loyalty programs, or incentives when they visit a small business in person.

Nilsson, based on his ConvertedClick experience, Nilsson said that customers love offers and are more likely to shop at your store if they offer something.

Small businesses can generate sales by implementing local SEO strategies that get customers to their doors.

Local SEO isessentialt for small businesses

As smart devices become more common, small businesses must increase their digital visibility.

Google and other search engines are used by consumers to find information in their day.

Local SEO strategies should be prioritized by businesses to improve their chances of being found on the target location search results pages.

Small businesses can benefit from a focus on online visibility locally.

  • Reach mobile users looking for instant information specific to their area
  • In their community, establish a following
  • Optimizing your website content and Google ranking can generate foot traffic
  • Increase sales by offering special deals and a positive experience in-store

Businesses with strong local SEO strategies are better positioned to grow and attract new customers.

About the author

Kobe Digital is a unified team of performance marketing, design, and video production experts. Our mastery of these disciplines is what makes us effective. Our ability to integrate them seamlessly is what makes us unique.