How your lack of local SEO is hurting your physical business
If you have a physical store, a restaurant, a service company, or any location-sensitive business, you should be all over search engine optimization and especially local SEO. If you’re not, you’re actively losing money… here’s how, and how to fix it.
1 – The value of getting discovered through search
Organic traffic is the highest-quality traffic there is because it brings your website visitors searching for something specific expressed in the form of keywords. Now if these keywords express buying intent intent, these searches present a real sale opportunity.
For example, someone googling “how to make my own bread” will have less buying intent than “bakery near me”. Clearly, the second query will result in a much faster sale, but only the first few results will get a call or visit, and this is where SEO brings in money and the lack of it actually hurts your business. This is even more relevant in a Lebanon, where the vast majority of transactions happen offline. So if someone is looking for a bakery in your area, how do you place yours at the top of the search engine results page? It’s called local SEO and you’re probably missing out.
2 – What’s local SEO?
Local SEO is a set of practices aimed at marketing your local business online to promote your products and services at the exact time they’re looking for them online. In this context, what Google knows about your business is crucial, and it knows it gather that information from three different sources:
–Google My Business, a platform where you claim your business and input all its details, keyword, opening hours, locations etc. It feeds the information back into Google Maps, search results pages, etc
-Customer reviews: These come from your customers, which you have no control over. However, you can ask them to leave a review if they enjoyed your products of services.
-Citations: Just like with regular SEO, Google looks at other website that include (cite) your business – more specifically those that mention its name, address, phone number, website URL (NAPWs). Think website directories (5index), social media platforms etc.
3 – Do your other platforms matter?
Reviews exist on Yelp, Zomato, Facebook, on your website, and a variety of other of platforms. So do your business’ NAPWs. Which is why it’s important that you keep a close eye on your online presence. Are your opening hours and services descriptions consistent everywhere? Is there someone listing your business with false information? Not only should you make ensure consistency, you should also seek variety and quantity, but with caution. Having citations on spam websites or sites with low authority can end up hurting your score.
This mirrors link-building practices in traditional SEO.
4 – How does Google decides which businesses go first, and how do I influence it?
Google’s calculation in real time looks at three variables:
-Proximity: how far are you from the person searching?
-Relevance: how relevant are your products and services to the search query?
-Prominence: what do reviews say about your business?
So proactively take control of your listing, build quality citations, and not only manage but also encourage reviews to boost your rankings. If you want to push further and analyze your performance to optimize and improve over time, you can even gather insights from your GMB dashboard.
And there you have it, this is how local SEO can help you convert people who search into people who buy. But don’t forget, it does not exclude a regular SEO practice to get your business discovered.