Local SEO refers to optimization methods and techniques that target people from the area around which your business is located. Whether it is important for your business or not will depend mainly on the type of business you run and where most of your potential customers come from. If you do business on a national or worldwide level and rarely, if ever, receive any customers at your location, then it may be of limited use to you and you should instead keep focusing on traditional SEO. Examples of businesses that would fall into this category include e-commerce sites that ship their products throughout the nation and don’t maintain a physical retail location that buyers can visit, as well as companies that offer digital downloads to customers from all over the world.
On the other hand, if you have customers coming to your business in a specified geographic area to provide your products or services, local search engine optimization can be very valuable. Retail stores, restaurants, professionals like attorneys and doctors are just a few examples of such businesses.
Why You Should Pay Attention to Local SEO
Previously, businesses would invest a large portion of their advertising budget on placing ads in phone books and printed business directories. While these may still have some value, their popularity is rapidly falling and printed advertising is increasingly being replaced by digital channels. The numbers are quite clear.
Various studies show that over 54% of consumers now use the Internet to find businesses instead of their local phone book. Each month, 1.8 billion search engine queries are made to find local businesses. Google reports that nearly 43% of all searches include some type of geographic identifier, such as a city name. 70% of all Internet users have looked for a local service on a search engine like Google, Bing or Yahoo. Offline sales being decided by consumers doing their research online are expected to increase by 12% in the coming five years.
In many cities, printed phone books are no longer distributed to households, as few people are interested in them. Among those who do take the phone book home instead of just throwing it away, many just end up leaving it to gather dust or use it to prop up a piece of crooked furniture.
According to studies done by the Pew Research Center, over 87% of American adults now use the Internet. Having a strong visibility in search engine results is therefore important to ensure the continued success and growth of your business, even if many of your customers come from a demographic that still uses phone books, such as senior citizens. The latest numbers show that 59% of individuals over 65 report that they go online and this number is expected to grow in the future.
The Benefits of Local Search Engine Optimization
Any Dallas SEO professional can show you numerous benefits of optimizing your website for local searches. Local SEO is part of your overall SEO strategy and greatly contributes to it, helping increase the visibility of your business online. It lets you develop a locally targeted visibility in Google+ Local searches, plus Bing and Yahoo Local search results, which are now being called “the new Yellow Pages” by marketing professionals.
As you work to improve your local search presence, your business listing will start appearing more frequently in all kinds of local business listings found online, without you having to pay for advertising. Finally, a successful local search engine optimization campaign brings an increased amount of quality visitors from your local area to your website. These visitors can then become loyal customers of yours and refer others to you if they had a good experience with your business, thus bringing you more sales.
Local Search Performs Better Than Paid Search
Even though some businesses have reported highly positive results with pay-per-click ads on search engines and certain types of businesses can benefit from using paid search alongside SEO, it just isn’t meant to be a replacement for a strong position in natural search results.
85% of search engine users report that they don’t click on paid links. This is often explained by the perception among consumers that local organic search results are more trustworthy than paid advertisements.
If you run a business in the Dallas area, hiring a reputable Dallas SEO company to perform local optimization work for you can be very profitable. 40% of SEO campaigns will see returns of over 500%, while only 22% of paid search campaigns reach such results. PPC ads are getting more expensive, with costs increasing by 37% during the past year.
Simply put, local search engine optimization matters for business owners, as other marketing channels just don’t measure up.