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5 Reasons Your Brick-and-Mortar Business Should Prioritize Local SEO

If you’ve ever done an online search aimed at finding a local business, you’ve benefited from local SEO. Local SEO helps search engines produce more relevant results. For example, no matter what you were searching for, you wouldn’t want service providers in New Braunfels, TX if you live in Richmond, VA. Search engines understand this and will almost always sort the wheat from the chaff, providing you with the most relevant local businesses. 

Local SEO

Your prospects and clients are no different― they also depend on digital tools to help them find products or services similar to what your brick-and-mortar business sells. In fact, research shows that 97 percent of all search engine users have done online searches to find a local business, and 86 percent of today’s consumers rely on the digital space to find products and services near them. 

According to Detroit Internet Marketing, “Relying on foot traffic, referrals, recommendations, and other conventional advertising methods no longer work in today’s crowded and highly competitive digital landscape. If your business isn’t online― and hyper-focused on the specific geographical area it serves― your customers won’t find you.” And this is exactly why you need Local SEO. Here’s what you need to know: 

Understanding Local SEO

First of all, local SEO isn’t the same as organic SEO. Unlike organic SEO which prioritizes national and global reach, Local SEO aims to provide the most relevant results to consumers within a particular town or city. It’s a set of actions and tactics that help you to optimize your business’s online visibility when nearby customers search for products or services similar to what you offer.

Think of it as a way of getting potential customers in your city or local area to show up at your store when they’re looking for your services or products and are most likely to make a purchase. And this can be backed up with research: 88 percent of the people who conduct a local search using their mobile devices end up visiting or calling a store within twenty-four hours. That tells you Local SEO is such an important process and strategy that every local business needs in today’s digital era. Not convinced yet? Here are five more reasons why you need it:

1. Customers are Increasingly Searching for Stores “Near Me”

If there’s one reason why you should prioritize local SEO is because of the impressive growth in user intent to buy from local stores over the past few years. The past two years alone have seen a 900 percent increase in searches for “near me today/tonight.” There has also been a 150 percent increase in searches for “near me now” phrases over the same period.

What this simply means is that people are now relying on the internet to find places within their locality that can immediately solve their problems. You’d be right to say that consumers no longer have the patience to wait for someone to solve their needs tomorrow. 

Mobile devices have contributed to this trend and things are just about to get better. Think With Google reveals that 76 percent of all the mobile searches done to find a product or service nearby result in an in-store visit within twenty-four hours. And what’s even more interesting is that 26 percent of those who show up at the store make a purchase. It’s time you got started with Local SEO. 

2. Drive More Qualified Traffic to Your Business Site

You can offer discounts and promos all you want, but if no one is coming through your door, your brick-and-mortar store will not survive. As mentioned, consumers (86 percent) have increasingly become dependent on the internet when it comes to finding services and products near them. Furthermore, 46 percent of all searches on Google are from users trying to find local information. Therefore, you have no other option than to position yourself to meet your local prospects where they are― and that’s online.

Local SEO practices such as optimizing your Google listing, listing your store on online business directories, using location-specific pages, honing in on local keywords, optimizing your site for mobile etc. increases your online visibility to local leads, thereby driving high-value, organic traffic to your site. 

3. Nurture Trust and Credibility

Ask any consumer today and they’ll tell you they’re bombarded with marketing content from businesses and brands trying to get their attention every day. And it can be extremely difficult to know which brand to trust. There has never been a time when consumers were more critical and cynical when it comes to trusting brands than today. In fact, statistics show that 97 percent of consumers take the time to check a local company’s online presence and learn more about them before deciding whether or not they’re worth doing business with. 

Local SEO allows you to provide your prospects with consistent and accurate information about your brick-and-mortar business, helping them make an informed purchasing decision. Plus, it provides you with the credibility you need to nurture trust, build better customer relationships, and cultivate customer loyalty. 

4. Enhance Your Local Review Profile

If you’ve been in business long enough, you know the damage bad customer testimonials and reviews can do to a business. And if you thought customers trust you (as a brand) more than they trust other customers, you are wrong. A 2020 Local Consumer Review Survey revealed that 72 percent of consumers in the United States took the time to write reviews for local businesses they spend money on.

The survey also found that 87 percent of US consumers read a local business’s most recent online reviews before deciding to make a purchase. To say that consumers trust the reviews from other customers online is an understatement, therefore. As such, you can’t afford to ignore your local review profile. The good news is that local SEO can help you enhance it and build a positive online reputation that boosts your sales. 

5. Reach Your Target Audience

Obviously, your brick-and-mortar business exists to serve your local community or city. As such, it completely makes no sense to have a website that’s optimized for national or global reach. Remember there are bigger brands that already dominate on a national level and there’s no way you’re going to beat them by optimizing for more generic keywords. 

What’s the point of trying to reach customers tens of thousands of miles away from your physical store? You may gain some quality traffic from these customers but you certainly won’t convert those searches into leads. Your priority should, therefore, be to market your brand and services or products to your intended audience by optimizing for location-specific SERPs. And that’s something Local SEO can help you achieve. Eventually, you’ll target local leads and convert them into sales and revenue.

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