Customers looking for products and services today rely on local searches to guide them to the best possible solution.
In fact, Google’s Consumer Insights 2022 Retail Marketing Guide found a 400% YoY increase in users searching “open now near me”.
Local search is your opportunity to have more residents and visitors in your area discovering your business online.
But if you don’t have the right tools to take advantage of this free traffic, you’ll be losing out on valuable revenue that your competitors will be more than happy to snap up.
Local search is a digital marketing strategy geared towards positioning businesses in front of people searching with a local intent.
It's like having a virtual billboard right on the user's smartphone screen, directing them straight to your door.
Optimization for local searches, also known as local SEO, primes you to capture potential customers precisely when they're looking for what you offer.
A huge 60% of people that use local search engines get in touch with businesses directly from SERP results.
Ignoring the maintenance of your NAP data (name, address, phone number), online reputation and content could see you lose your slice of this very lucrative pie…
Your local searches guide: With Semrush Local, businesses with zero local search experience can quickly scan their rankings, reviews and listings to highlight areas for improvement.
A well-executed local search strategy gives businesses a competitive edge against rivals with far greater resources.
Positive reviews in local search results build trust and credibility in lieu of the brand recognition that large corporations enjoy.
Businesses that rank in the top three results for Google local searches (known as the Local Pack) get more profile engagement and stand a better chance of converting.
It might seem impossible for some to compete with businesses with thousands of reviews and a full-time team to manage listings. But free and affordable local SEO tools offer businesses of all kinds and sizes a path towards getting similar results—and the revenue boost that comes with it.
Rankings boost: Unlock the full potential of local searches with Semrush Local’s suite of tools designed to help you showcase your business in Google’s Local Pack.
Your business’s visibility depends largely on local ranking factors. Fortunately, Google has revealed the most important local ranking factors, so there’s no secret to improving your local SEO.
Relevance: The matchmaking factor in local search. Relevance gauges how closely a search result aligns with what a user is looking for. For instance, if someone searches for "pet-friendly hotels in San Francisco," the search engine is likely to prioritize hotels that explicitly advertise themselves as "pet-friendly" over those that don't emphasize it.
Distance: How close a local result is to the user's location. The distance factor allows businesses that are closer to the user earn more than larger counterparts further away. With so many people using mobile devices for local searches, GPS plays a pivotal role.
Prominence: Your business's online reputation and how well-known it is. Prominence is a combination of various signals: the number of times people mention your business online, the quality of your online reviews, the credibility of websites that link to your business, and the overall content and structure of your website and blog.
The first step to better visibility in local searches is to claim or set up your Google Business Profile for your location. Once verified, get to work optimizing your profile with accurate business information (including local keywords), photos, and your products/services.
Next, move on to claiming other locations should you have them, followed by getting published in other business listings like Yelp, Apple Maps and Bing. A lot of businesses stall here because of how tedious the task is, but you can use a Listing Management tool to tick this off your list quickly.
With all that out of the way, it’s time to launch your review generation campaign. Encourage satisfied customers to leave reviews on your platforms by reaching out with a simple text message and link. Positive reviews can significantly boost your local search presence and improve conversion rates.
Work with a developer to make sure your website is in good shape and mobile-friendly. Semrush’s Site Audit tool is useful for getting a general overview of your website’s health.
The content on your website can also impact your local search rankings. If you’re not confident in search engine optimization, consider hiring an agency or freelance writer with experience in researching and writing content with local keywords.
Good content attracts backlinks from other relevant websites and social media. Links drive traffic and also indicate to local search algorithms that others think your content is good enough to send their audience to, and therefore worth ranking.
Businesses now have access to a wealth of free and affordable local search tools to help them boost their positions in searches with local intent.
Here are just some of the top local search tools you should be using to give your business the best chance of success:
Google Business Profile: The go-to tool for managing your business's presence on Google Search and Google Maps. A Google Business Profile is your digital storefront, bridging the gap between your physical business and users conducting local searches.
Yelp for Business: When it comes to customer reviews, businesses simply can’t afford to ignore Yelp. The platform allows business owners to manage their essential information such as location, contact details, hours of operation, and a brief description.
Bing Places for Business: While Google may dominate the local search landscape, Bing remains a formidable player. A lot of businesses ignore Bing in favor of Google Business Profile, but it’s well worth including the platform in your local SEO strategy.
Semrush Local: A suite of time-saving tools to boost your local search game. Semrush Local is a centralized hub for your business listings, online reviews, competitor analysis and position tracking.
Google Trends: An invaluable free tool for keyword research. Google Trends identifies the most relevant and popular search terms related to your industry over time. Great for generating content ideas that your audience are really going to engage with.
Google Search Console: Another fantastic tool for analyzing your website and content. Google Search Console provides insights into potential issues that might be affecting your site's performance in search results. The free tool also offers data on how your website ranks for specific search queries.
Pay nothing: Start using Semrush Local for free today. Just type in your business name and get an instant report on your current listings and reviews.
Attract more customers with listings in top local directories