Let’s say you live in Boston and your company requires you to travel frequently to Pittsburgh. You crave authentic Italian cuisine, but simply typing “Authentic Italian Cuisine” into Google’s powerful search engine presents restaurants from all over the world. What you need to do is narrow your search to the Pittsburgh area.

That, in essence, is the definition of local SEO. Or, should we say, that, in essence was the definition of local SEO

Local SEO in a Nutshell

Local SEO has increased in importance mostly due to the emphasis the search engine giant Google places on the digital marketing strategy. The rapid rise in smartphone use has created a strong demand for search engine results that list local businesses. For example, if you move to Portland from Seattle, you want your search engine results for “Florists” to reveal flower sellers that operate in Portland. Although local SEO bares some resemblance to organic website SEO, online marketers must understand several differences

What is local SEO? It is the online marketing strategy of focusing search engine results that present information about your current location. Local SEO has evolved to the point that inputting your location doesn’t matter anymore.

Google knows where you are typing your search results from, and the search engine giant delivers search engine results that are relevant to your location.

Why Small Businesses Need to Implement Local SEO Strategies

Perform a Google search that involves learning about “Lawncare.” You can expect to see most of the search engine results reflect lawncare businesses located within your town or city. Even small businesses that operate only online have discovered that local SEO matters for attracting new customers.

Here’s why small businesses need to implement local SEO into their online marketing programs:

  • Search engines-especially Google-emphasize results that include local keywords
  • Internet users use geographic keywords to find businesses like yours
  • Mobile applications emphasize local listings
  • Google has devoted more virtual space to local search results
  • Consumers trust local listings more than they trust traditional SEO-driven results

You might be wondering how Google and the other primary search engines know the location from where you input search keywords. No, it is not an Orwellian nightmare, but more of a nuanced approach to collecting online information. Google, Yahoo, and Bing learn about you by analyzing information downloaded through cookies, IP addresses, and account information. If you sign up for a Google service that requires an address, the powerful Google search engine instantly knows your location. A small business that does not take advantage of local SEO misses connecting with numerous potential customers.

If a consumer inputs search keywords and local results pop up on a computer monitor, this means the consumer is searching for a specific product or service. As a small business operator, you want consumers searching for something that you offer, as opposed to online searchers inputting the “Hail Mary” version of online searches. Local SEO eliminates the Hail Mary searchers and gets you much closer to consumers that know what they want.

Now that we know what defines local SEO, let’s examine how to make local SEO work for your small business.

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