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Local Search 101: Understanding Local SEO & It's Importance

Local Search 101: Understanding Local SEO & It's Importance

Doing SEO is not just about reaching the top of the SERP and increasing traffic. It also means optimizing your business to be found locally. 

When you improve your local ranking, people will know that you exist and get an easy way to reach and know more about your business. You can then do General SEO after your initial local SEO efforts.

Here we will see why local SEO is more important than ever and how you can leverage it to the benefit of your business.

What Is Local SEO?

Just like the name suggests, Local SEO refers to a set of practices that will help your business website to reach the potential clients that are near your location. People subconsciously prefer buying from a local organization rather than a company that is located on another continent. 

The main purpose of local SEO is to increase your search engine visibility with local users. Anytime you google something to buy, the results will include a set of 3 businesses that’ll appear
at the top of the search page. 

This set/group is called Google’s “Local Pack” and they usually include maps and dropped pins. Not surprisingly, businesses selected within this pack get more clicks and conversions than most other links on the same result page. 

Local SEO tends to practice a set of guidelines to win a spot among that “Local Pack”. Any company with a local client base will need some sort of practice to get a place among the top 3 local results. 

You need to make sure your company is up there when a user searches “Near me” or "close by" type queries.

Why Is Local SEO Important?

Data talks

Let’s look at some data showing the current trend in local SEO across the globe: 

  • 97% of people learn more about a local company online than anywhere else (Hubspot)
  • 76% of people conducting local searches on their smartphone visit a business within 24 hours, and 28% of those searches result in a purchase (Google)
  • 61% of consumers search locally every day (Local survey)
  • 86% of people rely on Google Maps to find the location of a business (Backlinko)
  • 83% of searchers use Google to learn about nearby businesses; 55% turn to Google Maps, 44% Apple Maps, 39% Yahoo, and 31% choose bing (Privet survey)
  • “Near me” or "close by" type searches grew by more than 900% within 2015-17 (Hubspot)
  • 30% of all Google searches are related to location (Google)
  • 82% of consumers read online reviews for businesses during a local search and spend around 14 minutes researching before making a decision (Local survey)
  • 72% of consumers who search for a local business visit a store within 5 miles (Independent survey)
  • 71% of people look up and confirm the location of a business before going to it for the first time (Hubspot)


The competition helps you grow

With local SEO, getting that top position secured is a bit harder than the organic approach. Being the top in organic search results will not help you much if your nearby clients can’t even find you locally. 

For example, let’s imagine you own a business in Brooklyn, NY that sells shoes online. Now, you may secure the organic search rankings on Google, but that won’t ensure that your clients from Austin, TX will see your website first. 

Instead, they will see the shoe seller that is local to their area and has invested at least some time/effort into local SEO. No matter how good your organic rank is, you’ll not get better results unless you enter the competitive local SEO market as well. 

As a result, you become more competent and efficient as a business. You seek new opportunities and learn to adapt to the changes. In other words, you grow as a business. 

Introduce your business to visitors/newcomers 

Local SEO also helps you to utilize another untapped market, and that is the visitors and newcomers you’ll have in your area. Unlike your local clients, visitors and newcomers aren’t familiar with the area, your products, and your services. 

Let’s check out an example. When you visit Italy and you are hungry, you don’t search for “Papa John's pizza”, right? Instead, you search for “best pizza near me.”

Local SEO is a great way to introduce your business to people that are new in town. With proper utilization, Local SEO can make sure you have the opportunity to add people to your loyal client base the moment they arrive in your town. Now that’s something. 

People prefer to buy local 

The biggest attraction the internet has brought to our businesses is convenience. Nowadays, you can get a lot of things with just a few taps on your screen, right? What that means is that we constantly search for convenience. 

That’s why it wasn’t a surprise for me when I learned that people prefer to buy local products. Even if two companies offer you the same delivery time, you’ll most likely end up choosing the company that is nearest to you. 

Nowadays people are being more and more skeptical about big-box stores and online powerhouses. They not only want to make a purchase but also want to invest their money where it will make a change.

This is another great reason to invest in local SEO. If local people see the potential in your business, they’ll most likely start supporting you a bit more. 

Phone searches drive sales 

We are living in an era of modern technological wonders. Smartphones have become one of the most innovative tools across the globe. If I were to ask you “when was the last time you searched something through your smartphone,” you’ll most likely say, “today,” right? 

That’s why phone searches have become a common way to promote your business to the right people. According to a study85% of all adult Americans use a smartphone and almost half (47%) of web traffic in the U.S. originates from mobile devices.  

It clearly shows that mobile searches drive search queries and in terms, sales. There is a big number of mobile searches that convert into sales and it would be foolish to ignore this vast opportunity as other businesses are quickly figuring it out as well. 

A cheaper opportunity 

One of the biggest advantages of local SEO is much cheaper than other means of advertisement. 

For example, if you want to run a PPC (Pay Per Click) campaign, you’ll have to keep paying as long as you want your ad to stay on the front page. If you're going to run a paper or TV/radio ad, you’ll need to pay a hefty amount upfront. 

That’s not the case in SEO though, whether local or organic. It’s true that you also need to invest some money and time for it, but the results will last a long time (regular maintenance required), making the method much more efficient in the long run. 

You get a more specific target audience 

Local businesses are built around the necessity and demand of local people. The key to a good business is to be there when your clients are ready to make a purchase. 

Simply being in the right place at the right time can help you generate more sales and get a specific target audience. Local SEO will help you filter the searchers who aren’t likely to contact you. Because Google wants to deliver the most relevant results. 

For example, if you search for HVAC companies. Businesses around your area are more likely to show up than the ones that are from another state. This helps people to interact more with local businesses.

You don’t have to take my word for it. Google says, 76% of people that searched for something online on their smartphone, end up visiting the local business within 24 hours.

Where Do Local Search Results Show

Local 3 pack 

Also known as the “Snack Pack,” the Local Pack consists of the top 3  most relevant local search results against your query. They are boxed right beneath the PPC ads from Google and the results are usually accompanied by a map with dropped pins. It looks something like this: 

Here, you can showcase your ratings, reviews, location, open hours, and price range to provide the searcher with more information about your company. 


When you register your business on Google's business directory by opening a free account on Google My Business (GMB), Google will suggest your business profile to relevant local queries.  

If you keep your GMB profile updated, it will showcase key information about your company to the visitor. They will see your photos (if any), directions, contact info, service details, Q&As, reviews, and much other info; before even visiting your website. 

Organic results 

Improving your local SEO also improves your organic rankings and it goes both ways. If your organic ranking is good and you maintain your GMB profile well, there is a high chance your business will be featured in the “Snack Pack.”

Similarly, ranking higher on the organic search list, coupled with properly maintaining your GMB profile will help you to secure top rankings in local searches as well.  

What Types of Businesses Need Local SEO

Every business that has a local client base needs local SEO. Even if you don’t have local clients, but you are providing a location-based product or service, your business can get a lot of new visitors if you can utilize the power of local SEO to the fullest. 

In general, E-commerce companies, private sellers, and online-based services don’t need local SEO that much. Most other businesses can try to improve their performance by bringing in local clients. 

Here are a few examples of the businesses that can utilize local SEO to reach their maximum potential: 

  • Hotels, motels, and restaurants
  • Bars, pubs, and café
  • Travel equipment/deal providers
  • Doctors, clinics, dentists
  • Solicitors, barristers, consultants, accountants
  • Electricians, florists, plumbers, technicians 
  • Salons, Gyms, tattoo shops


How Google Determines Local Ranking 


The biggest factor in determining the top position within google’s “Snack Pack” is the distance between your business and the customer. Google will always suggest the closest business from the user first. 

You have little control over this, but you can improve your chances by listing your service area in your GMB profile. 


Did ever google suggested clothing brands while you searched for pizzas? I guess not. That is because Google prioritizes relevant results. Google will suggest only those products and services that are relevant to the search queries. 


In other words, ratings, and reviews. Google has a one-to-five star rating system, and customers can leave a review of the product/service they bought. Google will always show you results with high ratings. So if your service is not up to the mark, your business won’t be suggested. 

Difference Between Local SEO and SEO

In a nutshell, SEO works on a broader spectrum whereas local SEO works in a much smaller local territory and search queries. Local SEO is more business-oriented, as most local searches are either product or service-related. 

On the other hand, there is a massive amount of search queries on the global SEO market, and not all of them are directed toward businesses. 

Quick Tips to Improve Your Local Online Presence 

Here are a few tips to give you a jumpstart on your local SEO practices. If you are interested to know more, we have another article ( link from another post goes here) here just for you. 

  • Optimize your GMB profile to the fullest
  • Optimize your website/content for voice search
  • Do extensive keyword research
  • Localize your content
  • Optimize your site
  • Manage user reviews 
  • Communicate with the reviewers
  • Step up your content marketing and link building game

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