Local SEO is still important in 2023, but it’s not what it once was.
local seo optimisation
by Rudi van der Westhuizen
09.12.2022

In the past, local SEO was all about getting people to your site, before converting them into leads and eventually – sales. 

However, with the rise of mobile devices and the decline of desktop usage, local SEO is one of the most important factors when it comes to the success of your business. It’s easy to ignore the importance of local search, but in doing so, you are missing out on a lot of potential customers.  

Local SEO is CRITICAL, giving you an edge over your competitors and helps you connect with potential customers in a more personal way than social media or other channels.  

But what exactly is local search and why should you care? In this post, I’ll explain in detail local search is, how it works and most important why it matters.  

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Local SEO focuses on optimizing a business’s online presence for a local audience. 

According to Search Engine Roundtable 46% of all searches in Google have ‘local intent’, that means that 46% of all searches are looking for products or services ‘near me’ or specify a location. 

Local SEO is a subset of search engine optimization (SEO). It’s the process of optimising your website for local search engines and directories so that it appears higher in the search results for queries relevant to your business. 

Local SEO is important because it helps you connect with potential customers in your area, thus increasing sales conversions and revenue. Additionally, it helps you compete with local businesses by improving the ability to attract customers who are looking for business-to-business services within a certain geographic area. 

Local search is a part of the Google search algorithm. 

Google uses a variety of factors to determine where to rank a website in search results. Recently, local search has become one of those factors. It’s based on the location of the searcher and the business that they’re searching for. 

Google analyses location signals like geographic keywords, IP addresses, physical locations and more to determine how relevant your business is within a certain geographical area. It also takes into account things like: 

  • The language used on your site (if you are targeting multiple languages) 
  • The time zone you specify in Google My Business (if you have any) 

There’s no better way to connect with your audience. 

Local SEO is a way to connect with your audience. It’s not just about ranking on search engines; it’s also about connecting with people who are looking for your business AND connecting with those who already know they’re interested in what you have to offer. 

That means local SEO can help you build trust and rapport with potential customers, which will make them more likely to choose you over another company that may be closer by but doesn’t have the same connection. 

Local SEO provides businesses with an edge over their competitors. 

Local SEO provides businesses with an edge over their competitors. It helps you reach the people who are searching for your business or products and services on Google and other search engines, no matter where they are located. 

Local SEO also enables you to leverage customer reviews to boost your visibility in the local market. Customer and product reviews have become a major focal point for Google in 2022 – now is the time to act!

With a good local strategy, you can expect higher brand engagement rates, improved conversions and soaring customer loyalty rates – as well as drive more traffic to your website or brick-and-mortar location. Local SEO connects you with people searching for your business online while they’re nearby so that they find exactly what they need when they need it most. 

It boosts brand recognition and awareness. 

Local SEO boosts brand awareness, which is key factor in growing your business.

Brand awareness is one of the most important factors when it comes to marketing a business. It helps drive sales, build customer loyalty and increase the value of your brand. As a local business operating in a specific location, this is especially true for you. 

To understand why this matters so much, let’s take a look at how people search for products or services online … 

You can leverage customer reviews to boost your visibility in the local market. 

One of the best ways to boost your local SEO is through customer reviews. It’s one of the most effective methods for getting more visibility in your local market and it’s free!

Reviews can help show potential customers that you have been recommended by other people, which helps build trust. If someone has read a positive review about your business, they are more likely to visit your store or restaurant.

Using customer reviews as part of your local SEO strategy is something that every business owner should consider doing. Not only will it increase traffic from search engines like Google, but it also helps build trust between you and potential clients! 

A good local strategy will lead to better brand engagement and improve conversions and customer loyalty rates. 

All of these benefits come together to create a better experience for your customers, which means they’ll be more engaged with your brand, leading to loyal brand advocates and repeat business.

Local SEO is also a great way to connect with your audience – just think of your favourite local coffee shop, restaurant, retailer….even mechanic! Location leads to tribalism and instils a sense of community and belonging. The psychological element and power of ‘local’ is not to be ignored.

By knowing who they are and what they want from you, you can provide them with the information they need in order to make decisions about their purchases or services needs.

That way, when someone does come looking for local information about your business, it’s easy for them to find what they’re looking for on Google (or another search engine). 

Local SEO connects you with people searching for your business online 

When it comes to local search, the goal is to connect you with people searching for your business online.

Google has been working hard to make sure that their algorithm provides users with the most relevant results for their searches. Not only does this mean having a great website and solid content strategy, but also optimising your website for local search as well.

Local SEO is extremely important because it helps Google understand what specific businesses are in an area and how they’re related to each other (whether they’re competitors or not). This information allows Google to determine which pages are more likely to be relevant when someone searches “local business” or “local restaurants” or anything similar – no matter what city you happen to live in! 

According to Google, 96% of people with smartphones search for local information on their phones. 

According to Google, 96% of people with smartphones search for local information on their phones. 

While this may seem like a lot, it’s actually very common, just think about your own behaviour. It’s like we use a mobile device when in the home, but also when out and about in different locations. We often use our phones to look up restaurants or stores in the area, and even if you don’t have an Android or iPhone you can still use your laptop for this purpose. 

So what does this mean? It means that local SEO is incredibly important! With this many people looking up things locally, it makes sense that businesses would want to be found by them. In fact, having a mobile friendly website is one of the reasons why Google gives higher weighting towards sites that are optimized for mobile users (which results in higher rankings). 

46% of all Google searches are local. This means that nearly half of your potential customers are looking for a business like yours. 

  • 46% of all Google searches are local. This means that nearly half of your potential customers are looking for a business like yours. 
  • That’s a lot of potential customers! 

A large majority of people who do a local search on their smartphone visit or call a store within a day. 

Google have stated that 76% of users that conduct a location-based search on their phone visit a shop, or call the business, THE SAME DAY. 

Your local audience are primed and ready to purchase. They are already at the bottom of the funnel – all you have to do is be there, with open arms – and a local search presence.  

This is especially true of mobile searches that come from Google Maps, which has become the default way most people use to find local businesses. 

In other words: if you want customers to come into your store, you’ve got to be where they’re looking for you! 

Optimisation for voice searches 

Voice search is becoming more and more popular, and a good way to optimise your website for voice search is by making sure it’s optimised for human voice. That means using keywords that are easy to pronounce, understand, spell and write. 

For example, if you’re selling a product with the keyword “dog leash”, this might not be the best choice because it’s difficult to say out loud (and spell). On the other hand, if you sell dog leashes under the brand name “LeashLovers” then this would be a much better option. 

Why? Because it’s easy to say out loud (and spell), plus people can easily remember your brand name when they’re searching online instead of having their browser read everything out loud while they type into Google Search bar or Siri on their smartphone or tablet device. 

However, it’s still best practice to do some keyword research to see what other phrases or terms are being used..like ‘dog lead’. 

Optimising your site for mobile devices 

  • Focus on the main content and make it easy to read. 
  • Use a clean design with no distractions, like ads and pop-ups. 
  • Make sure your site is responsive. This means that it will automatically adjust its layout based on the screen size of the device being used (a responsive design is essential for local SEO). 

Social media is important too 

Social media is also an important part of building your brand, and it can be a good way to connect with your customers. 

If you have a social media presence, you can use it to get customer reviews from people who have purchased from you. This will help build trust in your business and make potential customers more likely to buy from you. 

Engagement and reviews are an important part of Local SEO 

In order to rank in search results, you need to have a strong local SEO strategy. 

This includes making sure that your website is optimised for mobile users and that your content is relevant to local searches. It also means engaging with customers on social media and getting reviews from clients.

When it comes to getting more traffic, reviews can be a great asset because they help boost your rankings on Google Maps (if you show up in the first page of results). Reviews also give potential customers a way of seeing what other people think about the business before they make a purchase or service request. 

When it comes to conversions, having positive reviews will encourage people who are interested in what your business has to offer but aren’t sure if it’s right for them yet because they might not want any negative experiences associated with their purchase decision down the line (which could happen if there were problems with an order). 

Many people automatically think of TrustPilot, but we are big fans of LipScore, whose innovative integration promises a 23% higher response rate than other review platforms.  

Local SEO is one of those things that you must get right in order to be visible to your target audience in search engines. 

Local SEO is one of those things that you must get right in order to be visible to your target audience in search engines. The good news is that it’s not as complicated as it may seem. 

Local search is a part of the Google search algorithm, which means that if you’ve managed to optimise for local keywords and have set up a strong local presence, then there’s a high chance that Google will notice your business and list you on their maps for anyone searching for businesses nearby. 

As well as this, when someone searches for your specific business name or address on Google Maps (which happens from time-to-time), you’ll also have the opportunity to show up at the top of the results due to being listed by Google Search Console (formerly known as GMB). 

Conclusion 

Local SEO is a crucial part of your overall digital marketing strategy. If you don’t have a local presence, you’re missing out on the opportunity to connect with customers searching for your business online. 

As long as there are people looking for goods and services in their area, local search will remain an important part of the search engine algorithm. Local SEO also provides businesses with an edge over their competitors by helping them rank higher than competitors who don’t optimise for location-based searches. 

The Author

Rudi van der Westhuizen

Rudi also joined the MM family in 2021. His strengths lie in digital marketing with an emphasis on eCommerce, tech, SEO, search engine marketing and website development. With Brad, he runs his own agency in South Africa, while partnering with us to help support our own national and international clients. Rudi’s passion is new technology and getting excited around digital innovation and how it can help businesses to grow and thrive.
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