Why Is Local SEO Important? 15 Ways It Benefits Businesses

May 20, 2024

Local SEO is important because it:

  1. Increases your visibility
  2. Allows geo-targeted traffic
  3. Helps with Google Maps integration
  4. Gives you competitive advantage
  5. Boosts customer trust
  6. Offers cost-effective marketing
  7. Encourages customers to leave reviews
  8. Drives brick-and-mortar foot traffic
  9. Enables hyperlocal targeting
  10. Increases website traffic

Local SEO is the optimization of online presence of local businesses. It helps websites rank higher on search engines in location-based searches. It is important because it focuses on a geo-targeted web traffic that leads to more leads and conversions.

BrightLocal's data shows that 78% of local searches result in offline purchases.This makes offering local SEO services a potential source of income online. SEO experts earn from teaching courses, providing local SEO audit, and consultations. Saravanan Ganesh, creator of the Local SEO Accelerator, earns $997 per student of his full course and $37 per student who enrolls in his mini course.

According to Yoast SEO, the "best result" that Google provides for a query "depends on the context of the query." They add that "the type of search and the location of the person searching give Google vital pieces of context." Once the site is optimized, pages are easily findable. With small business local SEO, your optimized site becomes more relevant to user search queries

Our article covers the top 15 reasons why you should invest in local SEO. We focus on why local SEO is important to small business owners. We also have top tips and we'll discuss why local lead generation is the best local SEO strategy for business owners.

15 Ways Local SEO Benefits Businesses

1. Local SEO Increases Your Visibility

Local SEO increases your visibility by ranking you higher in a search result that is location-based. WebFX reported that 96% of people find out about a business online. It also added that 46% of Google Searches are for local businesses. Semrush's 2023 report shows related searches are the most common feature in the SERPs for mobile searches in the US with 94%, and 91.7% for desktop.

Local search is important because it helps businesses increase their local visibility and traffic to reach nearby customers. Local search is also a way for potential clients with local intent to visit a location of a business or to make a purchase. Joseph Dyson, a digital marketing expert at Search Berge, explains that with SEO you can dominate local search and make it easy for people to find you when they search online. 

In a Forbes article by Amine Rahal, CEO of digital marketing agency IronMonk, explained that a Google Business Profile is essential to any business who have online presence. The profile connects customers to your company. The Google Business Profile was formerly Google My Business and replaced Google Listings, Google Places for Business, and Google+ Business Pages.

2. Local SEO Targets Location-Specific Traffic

Local SEO targets location-specific traffic through the local searches. The goal of local SEO is to improve a business's online visibility and rankings in location-based searches. The end result is to get more relevant traffic, leads, and sales from local customers.

By targeting local searches using a local keyword you get to reach users with a higher purchase intent. It ensures that your business appears in searches of those in your local vicinity. The targeted traffic refers to potential customers searching for products or services within a local area. These users are actively looking for businesses near them, making them highly relevant and more likely to convert into paying customers.

The Local SEO Jet reported that 88% search for local businesses would visit or call the business within a day. Having a Google Business Profile will help your company appear in local searches for relevant keywords.  

3. Local SEO Helps With Google Maps Integration

Local SEO helps with Google Maps integration by directing customers where they could find you. Allan Alfonso, Google Cloud Customer Engineer, in an article on Medium shares "Google Maps Platform helps businesses and customers find each other." Businesses should invest in local SEO because it increases business visibility to potential customers searching for products/services in their area. 

If you own a small business, local SEO could help you get found on the map. For instance, when an internet user search for a pizza restaurant near a certain area, say "pizza near Hartford, CT, USA" the Google Map will show him multiple restaurants selling pizza.  Local SEO for small business is important because with relevant geographic keywords inside the content, title tags, and meta descriptions, your website could signal search engines your business website applies to the local searches. 

To integrate local SEO with Google Maps, the first step is to claim and optimize your Google Business Profile. It's a free listing that allows you to manage how your business appears on Google Maps and in local search results. 

4. Local SEO Gives You Competitive Advantage

Local SEO gives you competitive advantage by attracting more customers and boosting your profits. SEO Leverage reported that 98% of consumers use the internet to find local business information.Local SEO impacts local search results by increasing the visibility of a brand. When a business’s website appears higher in rank in local searches, it helps improve brand recognition and attract more buyers.   Thus, when you invest in a comprehensive local SEO strategies, you capture more market share and ultimately drive more foot traffic for your business. 

5. Local SEO Boosts Customer Trust

Local SEO boosts customer trust.  When your business ranks prominently in local search results and has an optimized online presence, it signals to potential customers that you are a trustworthy option. According to BrightLocal's Local Business Discovery & Trust Report 2023, 66% of consumers trust Google platform when searching local businesses. Google Maps is second with 45%, followed by a business's own website at 36%.

By actively managing your online reputation through local SEO tactics, you foster trust with nearby customers. You can manage your online reputation by encouraging customer reviews, responding to feedback, and maintaining accurate listings. Note that keeping your business profile information accurate is important. It also influences customer trust. BrightLocal's data shows that 62% of consumers are more likely to avoid a business "if they found incorrect information online."

6. Local SEO Offers Cost-Effective Marketing

Local SEO offers cost-effective marketing because it targets high-intent customers. These are the customers actively searching for your products or services. They have higher purchase intent, making it more likely to convert into paying customers compared to broader marketing efforts. SEO costs $75 to $100 per hour in 2024, according to FATJOE. Meanwhile, according to WebFX, local SEO costs $300 to 2,000. The price depends on your needs, competition, and geographic location.  

By optimizing your online presence for local search, you can drive targeted traffic and customers without breaking the bank. SEO.AI reported that 40% of local SEO campaigns achieve a 500% or better ROI. 

7. Local SEO Encourages Customers to Leave Reviews

Local SEO impacts local customer reviews by increasing the chances for customers to leave stars or testimonials. Local customer reviews could make or break a business, depending on the quality of product or service. Reviews significantly affect a business's visibility, credibility, and overall search rankings in local search results.

A 2023 study titled "Factors that affect consumer trust in product quality: a focus on online reviews and shopping platforms" by Sung, Chung, and Lee confirmed that people tend to buy online "based on product reviews posted by others or based on trust of a shopping platform." With local SEO, businesses become more visible to others. 

A survey conducted by Power Reviews, 72% of consumers leave reviews to help and guide others. Meanwhile, reading the reviews of other buyers motivates 49% of consumers to leave ratings. 

8. Local SEO Drives Brick-and-Mortar Foot Traffic

Local SEO is important for brick and mortar businesses because it could drive more foot traffic to websites and physical storefronts. Safari Digital and BrightLocal reported that 78% of local searches result in an offline purchase. This data highlights the answer to why is local SEO important. The direct impact of local SEO on in-store traffic and sales.

Local SEO optimizes your business’s visibility for geographically-related searches, making it easier for nearby consumers to find and visit your physical locations. You can optimize it with the help of a local SEO company. Forbes reported in November 2023 that 50% of smartphone users go to the physical store within a day after a local search. By enhancing online visibility for local searches, accurately presenting business information, and leveraging customer feedback, businesses can effectively attract more local customers to their physical locations.Sources:

9. Local SEO Enables Hyperlocal Targeting

Local SEO enables hyperlocal targeting. Hyperlocal targeting is ensuring the delivery of highly targeted and personalized marketing content, ads, or offers to consumers within a specific geographic area. Molle Dorst, a visibility hacker and founder of Visibility Hacking, shares that hyperlocal targeting is "the secret to a lot of online businesses." She explains that "hyper local and hyper-specific targeting allows us to deeply connect and intimately connect with our customers." She added that hyperlocal targeting is about proximity in terms of location and about shared clusters of data in those areas.

Molle suggests strategies like retargeting buyers with customized messages, using technology like Google's retargeting, and utilizing hyperlocal targeting for online business growth. 

10. Local SEO Increases Website Traffic

Local SEO is for local customer engagement because it increases website traffic, especially when you optimize your site for local search. The benefits of local SEO are more leads, subscriptions, sign-ups, and sales. Local SEO starts with identifying relevant keywords that potential buyers are likely to use when looking for products or services in their local area. You can use these keywords in optimizing your business's website. Once you identify the relevant keywords, you can strategically incorporate them into various on-page elements on your site. 

SEO for local businesses expert Chris Palmer suggests adding related search terms, such as "near me" phrases, to the lead H2 tag of your webpage. For example, if you're a plumber in Hollywood, Florida, you might add "plumbers near me" as a related search term. Incorporating the terms into your headings helps you attract more local traffic. You can even add "open now near me" on your terms to boost visibility. 

11. Local SEO Captures Voice Search Traffic

Local SEO captures voice search traffic because voice assistants use data in local searches. Semrush's Voice Search 2019 Study found that 80% of the answers from voice search came from the top 3 results for Google Assistant.

When you optimize your site for local searches, you are more likely to appear in voice searches. Greg Gifford, local SEO consultant based on Allen, Texas in the US, explains that "voice search is still the same algorithm." The difference in voice search is that it uses a different method. Greg adds it "just means you're speaking your query instead of typing." 

BrightLocal's Voice Search for Local Business study in 2018 asked 1,012 US-based consumers if they have used voice search engines to look for information about a local business in the last 12 months. The result shows that 56% of consumers have used voice search to inquire about a local business using a smartphone, 28% using a desktop, 26% using a tablet, and 18% on a smart speaker.

12. Local SEO Can Improve Online Reputation

Brands should focus on local SEO because it can improve online reputation. In answering the question: "why is SEO so important?" you also need to connect the relationship between online business visibility, traffic, reviews, and reputation.  Local SEO enhances a business' visibility in local search results. It attracts local traffic and clients who are eager to leave reviews. These reviews affect your online reputation. Likewise, when a business consistently appears at the top of search engine results pages (SERPs) for relevant local queries, it establishes credibility and trust among potential customers. Marketix Digital also reported that 92% potential customers will choose businesses on the first page of local search results. 

13. Local SEO Allows Precise Tracking and Analytics

One of the primary benefits of local SEO is the ability to track local search traffic accurately. Tools like Google Analytics offer detailed insights into how users find your website through local searches. For instance, by setting up goal tracking in Google Analytics 4 or GA4, Google's next generation of analytics, businesses can measure specific actions or conversions.

Conversions may include submissions or phone calls that customers perform following a local search. By tracking and getting precise measurements, you can understand the direct impact of your local SEO efforts in generating leads and conversions. There are also alternative analytics platforms to GA4 which Moz categorized into: web analytics, product (behavior) analytics, and data warehousing solutions.

14. Local SEO Ensures You Adapt to Changing Consumer Behavior 

Local SEO is important for local search engine rankings because it ensures you adapt to changing consumer behavior. Local SEO optimizes your business that makes you visible to local searches. This way, it aligns your online presence with consumer search behaviors. Internet Live Stats reported that there are over 40,000 Google search queries every second on average. 

However, even with this volume of searches, you need to constantly learn about your local audience to stay relevant. Synup explains that local SEO is not a "set-and-forget strategy."  You need to pay attention to key metrics that help gauge your performance. The key metrics for measuring the success of local SEO efforts are: 

  • Organic search traffic
  • Keyword rankings
  • SERP visibility
  • Click-through rate (CTR)
  • Bounce rate

Local SEO expert Md. Maidul Islam Naiem shares you could also track your Google Business Profile insights to determine how people are finding and interacting with your GBP listing. Google reviews also help measure your local SEO efforts, so you must monitor them. Maidul adds tracking your local citation and call volume to identify what's working or not.

15. Local SEO Levels the Playing Field

Local SEO levels the playing field, making it a strategic approach for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to compete against larger corporations. With local search engine optimization, a small business could appear prominently in local search result. But levelling the playing field requires action. For instance, a local SEO strategy you could use is geographic targeting. You can target specific geographic areas where you have a target market. It can help you focus your marketing efforts on serving local customers. You could also create localized content to address the needs and interests of the local community. Plus, you need to ensure accurate business listing and up-to-date Google Business profile to help users find you.Citing Think With Google's data, Semrush reported that 60% of smartphone users contact businesses directly from local search results.

Why Is Local SEO Important for Small Businesses? Insights From Quora Users

Local SEO is important for small businesses because it generates organic traffic with less reliance on ad spend. Customer's reliance on search engines to find what they need is increasing. Optimizing your website will give you a competitive edge in the local market. The advantages of local SEO for small businesses are:

  • It helps potential customers in your area to find your business. Consumer insights from Think With Google reveal that searches for “open now near me” have grown globally by over 400%. Local SEO can help drive foot traffic to your store. It can also highlight in-store sales and promote specific products to the local audience.
  • It improves online visibility for local searches. Local SEO allows you to target keywords relevant to your location. A targeted approach ensures you reach potential customers actively seeking the product or service you offer. SEO Specialist Ivan P. emphasizes the value of local SEO to smaller business. Ivan says it is "significantly cheaper than conventional marketing methods. 
  • It helps small businesses manage their local reputation through reviews. Local SEO helps businesses grow by making a brand with positive reviews more visible to users. Neil Patel, a digital marketing expert, regards reviews as one of the most important “trust signals” a brand can have. This underscores the importance of local SEO for small business. A 2024 report from BrightLocal further reveals that over 81% of consumers use Google to evaluate local businesses.

Local SEO helps businesses grow because of its ability to build community presence, a reason why SEO is important for small business. More targeted keywords means there is a higher likelihood for local consumers to see your page.

Top Local SEO Tips for Small Businesses  

The top local SEO tips for small businesses include having a keyword gameplan, creating relevant content, and interlinking. The best practices for local SEO are a combination of onsite optimization and offsite efforts. It is not enough to know what is local SEO, and why local SEO is important for small business. The next step is to start implementing a sound strategy. Here is a breakdown of best practices for effective local SEO:

  • Keyword research. SEO campaigns begin with keyword research. It is fundamental to study what your audience searches for to create content around those topics. A study by Ahrefs reveals that 94.74% of keywords appear in 10 monthly searches or fewer. This fact makes prior research essential in implementing an SEO strategy. Local SEO expert Riya Sen instructs that effective keyword research focuses on finding the right terms. The terms must also have search volume and align with your content goals. This makes it more likely for your ideal customers to see your online presence.
  • Internal Linking. One of the most important local SEO tips is to structure your website's internal linking strategy. Abhirup Ghosh, Senior SEO Consultant, teaches that internal links can distribute page authority throughout your website. Distributing page authority through internal links improves indexing and crawling. It also reduces bounce rates because you encourage visitors to explore your site further.
  • Management of Online Reviews. Having a Google My Business profile gives you a digital storefront and allows you to check and respond to online reviews. These reviews significantly influence customer decisions. A report by ReviewTrackers finds that 63.6% of consumers are likely to check Google reviews before going to a business location. Deepanshi Chauhan, a Digital Marketing Manager, says Google review count and score factor into local ranking. It will benefit your business to develop a system for responding to all reviews promptly and professionally. 
  • Content Marketing. To reap the benefits of local SEO, it helps to establish yourself as a local authority by creating informative and engaging content. Digital Marketing Expert Ahmer Hyder discusses that content marketing is an important factor in determining a website's ranking in search engine results pages (SERPs). It attracts more visitors and helps you build backlinks. Consider publishing posts about local events, tips related to your services, or success stories of local customers. Google reports that its core ranking systems reward content that gives a good page experience. 
  • Social Media Content. Social media improves your off-site SEO. A report by Authority Hacker reveals that link builders who utilize social media build 22% more links than those who don’t. Digital Marketer Michael Anderson confirms this, saying that sharing links on social media helps increase the number of backlinks to the site. It also helps promote a website’s content.

Local SEO Pros and Cons

Local SEO Pros

Local SEO for small businesses increases visibility in local searches

Targets high-intent leads from specific geographic areas

Improves rankings in local search results

Aids in getting higher chances of converting leads into customers

Provides cost-effective marketing compared to traditional advertising

Builds credibility and trust among local audience

Helps businesses stand out from local competitors

Local SEO Cons

Requires ongoing effort and optimization

Can be competitive, especially in saturated markets

Requires understanding of local search algorithms

Results may take time to see significant impact

Dependence on third-party platforms for visibility

Risk of negative SEO tactics affecting rankings

What Are the Challenges of Implementing Local SEO for Businesses?

The challenges of implementing local SEO for businesses are multifaceted, and may vary per small business.The key challenges businesses face with local SEO are keeping up with algorithm changes, managing your online reputation, and fierce competition. You can overcome them with thorough planning and the right SEO strategy. Here is a breakdown of common hurdles and pro-tips for addressing them: 

  • Keeping Up With the Google My Business (GMB) Algorithm. Google's algorithm for ranking businesses in local searches changes periodically. FiveChannels report that Google changes its ranking algorithm almost once or twice a day. Some factors that influence rankings include accuracy and completeness of your Google My Business profile, customer reviews, and management of business listing ads. 

PRO TIP: Stay informed by following reputable SEO resources and Google's official announcements regarding GMB updates. Regularly review your GMB profile to ensure all information is accurate and up-to-date.

  • Managing Citations and NAP Consistency. Citations refer to online mentions of your business name, address, and phone number (NAP) across various local directories and websites. Consistency across these platforms is important for successful local SEO. However,  ensuring consistent NAP information across a multitude of directories can be a time-consuming and tedious task. This is especially true for multi-location businesses, as confirmed by entrepreneur Faisal Younas. He shares that it is challenging to maintain consistency in NAP information while ensuring a cohesive brand message.

PRO TIP: Utilize local citation management tools or services to streamline the process of claiming and updating your NAP information across relevant directories.

  • Earning and Managing Online Reviews. Positive online reviews boost local SEO efforts.  They build trust and influence customers’ decisions. However, one of the most common problems small businesses encounter is encouraging customers to leave reviews. It is likewise difficult to managing negative reviews. Entrepreneur Olivia Vernon shares that constant critical reviews tank your rankings in search results. This leads to fewer customers finding your business through Google.

PRO TIP: Develop a system for proactively requesting reviews from satisfied customers after positive interactions. For negative reviews, respond promptly, professionally, and offer solutions where possible.

  • Competition Within Your Local Market. The local SEO landscape can be fiercely competitive, especially in densely populated areas. For small businesses, it's difficult to rank above established businesses or those with a larger online presence. Digital marketing expert Ruhul Alom shares that competition in local market extends to the competition for local keywords.

PRO TIP: Conduct thorough competitor research to identify their strengths and weaknesses. Focus on unique selling points of your business and tailor your content and online presence to differentiate yourself.

Why Local Lead Generation Is The Best Local SEO Strategy For Business Owners

Local lead generation is the best local SEO strategy for business owners because, unlike other local SEO businesses, it gives you more control over your digital assets. Doing local SEO is worth it because big companies would pay $10,000 to $20,000 on SEO monthly, according to an SEO facts report by Wordstream. Local SEO ultimately builds a brand and increases sales. Digital marketing agencies, including social media marketing agencies or SMMA, offer local SEO services. However, you don't own the leads in those business models. The leads are owned by your clients. 

In local lead generation, you build a website for a local market or niche and rank it using SEO strategies and Google's organic traffic. You lease these websites to local businesses. You get to dictate the price and select the client who pays rental fee for using your ranked websites.  

Digital marketing is also a competitive business model. You compete with 54.22 thousand digital advertising agencies in the US. But with local lead generation, you focus on a local geographic area and pick a niche. By using local SEO stats and trends, you can identify local businesses that are not yet overcrowded. This lowers the competition level. If you're ready to learn a more scalable lead generation business model, our local lead generation program teaches you strategies on how to build websites, how to rank higher on Google places, and how to get more time freedom.

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