Nov 13, 2019 | 4 min read

How important is local SEO?

This article was updated on January 13, 2022

In crafting your local business’ digital marketing strategy, there are a few key things you already know: build a website, update your social media, and tie your online presence into the real world. But to show up in a potential customer’s search result, you have to keep up your local search engine optimization (SEO).

Local SEO is about focusing on a local keyword to your region, city, or neighborhood. Local SEO tells search engines like Google and Bing that your business is the best answer for the local search query at hand. This helps people find the best nearby business. What is the importance of local SEO? If done right, you’ll show up on your customer’s local search results, also known as local search engine results pages (SERPs).

This means that when local customers look for “ice cream,” your parlor can be one of the first they see in Google search—complete with pictures, hours, and directions.

Why is local SEO important?

Search engines have an immense amount of filtering to do for a query as simple as “coffee shop.” One of the features that helps improve searches is location services. This means that search engines can see where potential customers are and give them results that are nearby and relevant.

Local customers who conduct online searches like their options tailored to their neighborhood. They get to skip the frustration of refining their search with specific adjectives, enjoying a quicker result of one search term instead. They’ll be more likely to dial your number or get in the car, rather than put down their smartphones and give up.

Now, if you think you’ll automatically show up in local SERPs because you’re a local coffee shop, then think again.

Search engines like Google have further criteria for narrowing down which local businesses they show, especially on the front page. Google’s local ranking factor includes the customer’s physical location at that moment, reviews on your business page, and keywords and information on your site. Search engines also take into account the quality of the information you have listed. If you haven’t yet, check that your website is up-to-date, that your phone number is correct, and that your hours are current.

If your business information is complete, Google is more likely to include your business in what’s called the “local pack.” The local pack is a first-page Google search feature that displays a small Google Map box and a list of three businesses related to your query.

Search engines care about your local SEO even if you’re down the street 

There’s a lot you can do as a small business owner to boost your local SEO marketing. Even better, many best SEO practices are free for you. They include: 

  • Claiming your Google My Business (GMB) listing
  • Creating a Google Analytics account
  • Searching your own business name to see what your search result looks like

Local SEO isn’t just for Google. Claim and complete your free Nextdoor Business Page so Nextdoor neighbors can find you in their neighborhood. Because neighbors must have a verified physical address, your business has access to a neighborhood full of potential local customers. 

Remember that SEO should be an active part of your marketing routine. If you don’t feel you have the resources to dedicate, then look into hiring an agency that specializes in local search engine optimization. This is a dedicated team that will help you craft your local SEO strategy, including: 

  • Keywords to focus on
  • Blog posts and content to share
  • Trends you should be aware of 
  • Competitors in your space

Of course, you can’t forget about content

Posting and sharing high-quality blog posts or social media links has multiple benefits, all of which tie back into getting more customers through your door. Broadly, this is called content marketing.

  • Local content boosts your local SEO campaign. Search engines see your regular posts and think, “Aha, an expert!” Posts are also a great way to work in keywords from your strategy in a natural way.
  • Customers appreciate the related information. Whether you’re sharing an upcoming weekend festival in your city, or partnering with another business relevant to your industry, customers love a quick note on what’s happening in their community. 
  • You’ll build credibility with your customer base. By demonstrating that you’re connected to the goings-on in your city, your social media pages or website can become a go-to source for customers in your community, increasing your foot traffic along the way.

Remember: Customers turn to the web for their answers

More and more, people are hopping on their computers or mobile devices when they’re looking for a service, meal, or directions. On Nextdoor, we see there is a strong culture of local business recommendations: 67% of members share recommendations with one another in their neighborhoods. If you want your business to appear in local results and local mobile searches, keep a well-groomed and maintained online presence, including your local SEO strategy.

Claim your Business Page

Claim your free Business Page to get started on Nextdoor. For resources on how to use Nextdoor to stay connected with your local customers, pertinent news affecting businesses, and more, follow us at @nextdoorbusiness on Facebook.

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Author image Nextdoor Editorial Team At Nextdoor, we love local. The Nextdoor Editorial Team is dedicated to telling stories of local businesses, providing product education, and sharing marketing best practices to help businesses grow.