Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is a digital strategy that improves your website’s visibility to search engines in terms of search engine result ranks. The goal is to ensure your website is one of the first few links on search result pages. However, when it comes to businesses who service local areas (which is most of us in Ballina), Local SEO is arguably even more important. It is a strategy that uses location-based information to provide online users with relevant and meaningful search results. In doing so, your business can rank more highly on Google, resulting in more traffic to your website and boosting your brand awareness.
How it works
When you search for a service or product using location terms like “Ballina” or “near me”, Google will serve you a map of your local area with the top 3 business listings relevant to that search. This is called the ‘3-pack’ and it appears before all other search results (and it’s free!).
Local SEO starts with creating a Google My Business account. It’s a very simple process. All you need is a Google account. Add as much information about your business and business offering in this profile. Include contact information, opening hours, images, videos, links to your website and social media profiles etc. All this information will help Google understand who you are so it can serve your business as an option to someone who is looking for your services or products.
Find customers when they need you
The beauty of Local SEO is that it is incredibly timely. According to Google, 76% of people who made a local search using their smartphone visited a business from their search within 24 hours. Of those people, 28% made a purchase. Why? Because local SEO engages potential customers with your business when they are really interested in your offering. When customers are in this state of mind, they are far more likely to make a purchase. Local SEO executed properly can be more powerful than many other short-term marketing activities.
The criteria Google uses to select businesses for the 3-pack are relevance, distance and prominence (how well-known Google considers your business to be). Google reviews are extremely important in establishing your business’s prominence as they indicate to Google that your business is well known and well liked. Potential customers also heavily rely on Google reviews to determine which business within the local industry they want to make a purchase with. Reviews will help you compete against competitors, and they can give you a great advantage. So, once your Google My Business account is set up, make an effort to collect reviews from customers.
The movement to buy local is stronger than ever before and Local SEO capitalises on it. Go and set your Google My Business account up so people can find you when they really need you.