Local SEO

The benefits of local SEO: From visibility to conversions

How a solid local SEO strategy can reap huge rewards for your business

Joshua SaxonJune 15, 20236 min read
Quick summary
  • Local SEO is a powerful marketing technique that can bring in qualified traffic, boost your reputation and reduce reliance on a high ad spend.
  • Getting started with a local SEO strategy is quite straightforward, and you can start seeing results faster with handy tools designed to take care of a lot of the busy work.
  • Semrush Local is the feature-rich suite of local SEO tools you need to feel confident that you’re covering all your bases and reporting the most accurate data.

With so many strategies for promoting your products and services online, you might be wondering if the benefits of local SEO are really worth the investment for your business. 
If you’re a company that relies on local customers, statistics show that dedicating resources to local SEO is one of the best uses of your marketing budget, and that neglecting it could see you losing out to competitors. 
So, what are the benefits of local SEO and how can you leverage tools like Semrush’s Listing Management to see results faster?

More customers through your doors

One of the most obvious benefits of local SEO is that it helps users in your area find your business. 
A lot of people use local search tools while on the go, with queries like “baby gate near me” to quickly bring up the closest options.

Directions to a baby supplies store

Directions to a baby supplies store

According to Think With Google , searches for “open now near me” have skyrocketed around the world by more than 400% YoY. 
While you can’t always appear in top results for “near me” searches (because it’s largely dependent on the user’s distance from your business), you can make sure you stand out from competitors, even if they are a little closer to the user. 
A strong directory presence, 4.0+ average rating and up-to-date profiles will go a long way to pointing more users in your direction.

Better online visibility for local searches

These days, most people turn to the internet for the information they need on local businesses. 
According to a study published on forbes.com , around 30-40% of consumers discover local businesses via map apps, such as Google Maps. These valuable tools give clear directions to your location and show potential customers reviews to help them make decisions.

A Google Maps screen grab that demonstrates the benefits of local SEO for Spanish schools in Long Island

A Google Maps screen grab that demonstrates the benefits of local SEO for Spanish schools in Long Island

But if your business doesn’t appear in the top three results on Google (known as the Google local pack, 3-pack or snack pack), chances are that users will go with a competitor. 
Local directories are another great place to showcase your business. Not only are they a go-to resource for people looking for local information, but they also appear prominently in Google results.

Directory results that appear above the Places section on Google SERPs

Directory results that appear above the Places section on Google SERPs

Earning as much real estate on SERPs (search engine ranking pages) as possible gets you more exposure to local customers and all the local SEO benefits that come with it. Boosting your local visibility requires a lot of upfront work, including distributing business listings to top directories to build your online prominence. Start seeing your business at the top of local search results faster with Semrush´s Listing Management tool , which can publish citations to 70+ directories at once.

Greater control of your local reputation

Reviews can really make or break your local SEO conversion rate. 
A decent average star rating of above 4.0 gives users who are unfamiliar with your business more confidence to get in touch or visit your business. Similarly, a business with no reviews or poor ratings is unlikely to be chosen above a business that understands the benefits of local SEO and actively solicits feedback. 
Requesting reviews from customers that have had a positive experience with your company puts you in charge of your reputation and leads to average ratings that impress new customers when they discover you via local search.

A Google review for a Thai restaurant in Manchester

A Google review for a Thai restaurant in Manchester

Don’t forget: With a smart review-generation campaign, you should soon see customer feedback pouring in, but replying to them all can be hard work. Try Semrush’s  Review Management tool so you never let a review go without a “thank you”.

Qualified traffic to your website

Google Business Profile and other directories allow you to post a link to your website, one of the best benefits of local SEO. 
The traffic coming to your website via local searches is highly qualified, because it’s likely that the users are in the area and ready to do business. 
To increase conversions, add links to your profiles that allow users to, for example, make booking directly, freeing up busy people on your team from answering phone calls so they can focus on other things.

A website link on a Google Business Profile

A website link on a Google Business Profile

Reporting tip: Use tracking links like UTMs to discover which local directories are bringing in the greatest local SEO benefits and which you might need to focus on a little more.

When you dedicate time, energy and money to a particular marketing strategy, you’ll want to get the best bang for your buck—and an investment in local SEO is likely to get you just that. 
A huge 76% of smartphone users visit a business within 24 hours of searching, making local SEO a very high-converting marketing channel. 
When you can start to see the benefits of local SEO, it’s easier to justify spending more of your budget to get your business ranking even higher in local results. And fortunately, it doesn't cost that much for those results to materialize. Unlike PPC (pay per click) advertising, local SEO benefits can be achieved with little to no investment. 
Working on your citations, local content, and review generation is something any small business can do in just a few hours a week, and you don’t need to spend a cent to get started. 
Businesses that take their local SEO seriously invest in industry-standard tools to make sure they’re outranking their competitors, but even then it’s not necessary to spend even a fraction of the average local PPC budget.

Semrush’s free local listings checkers

Semrush’s free local listings checkers

Get started for free: Semrush’s Listing Management allows you to audit up to five locations per day, check your status in top directories and see your average review rating.

Gets the phones ringing

While the internet dominates the world of marketing these days, people often like to pick up the phone and talk to a human being before parting with their cash. 
Calls are a reassuring sign that your local SEO is paying off and they’re nice and easy to keep tabs on with tracking numbers and Google Business Profile performance reports. 
And with click-to-call features on smartphone browsers making it easier than ever for users to talk to businesses, getting your phone number in front of more people is one of the more profitable benefits of local SEO.

A click-to-call button on a Google Business Profile for a travel agent

A click-to-call button on a Google Business Profile for a travel agent

Be consistent: Imagine having a successful directory listing, only for people to find the phone number no longer works... Semrush’s Listing Management allows you to edit all your citations at once and keeps an eye out for inconsistent listings so you don’t have to.

Builds relationships and links

Link building is an important part of local SEO, but it can be hard to convince websites in your area to link to yours if they’ve never heard of you. 
By making a conscious effort to appear higher in local search, you’re more likely to be discovered by community webmasters, journalists and other local businesses keen to recommend your services. 
For example, a waste management company might be found by a local construction business which is more than happy to link to them after a positive experience because it benefits them to be a trusted resource for quality local services. 
Local SEO benefits from local links, which can lead to higher rankings, and, hopefully, even more links!

More on Local SEO: deep dive into all aspects of local SEO by taking our Semrush Academy course .

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The benefits of local SEO development with Semrush Local

With so many clear benefits of local SEO, you might be wondering why you didn’t make a bigger effort to improve your rankings sooner.

Fortunately, catching up with the competition has never been easier with Semrush Local and its suite of tools, which can get you a strong local SEO presence in next to no time.

Distribute your NAP data faster

Your online presence is an important local SEO ranking factor, so the first step is to get your NAP data (name, address, phone number) published in the most important directories.
But taking on the mammoth task of creating profiles on each directory, keeping track of all the usernames and passwords, and updating the listings one by one every time there’s a change is enough to make your head spin.
After a quick audit with Semrush Local's Listing Management tool, you’ll soon identify which directories your business is missing from and solve the problem with a simple click of the “spread info” button.
Potential listings detected by Semrush’s Listing Management tool

Manage reviews with ease

Attracting an impressive collection of reviews is one of the biggest local SEO benefits; it builds trust with new customers and makes them feel confident to do business with you.
The more reviews you get, the more customers you’ll have coming your way. Hopefully they’ll leave a review too and before you know it, you’ll have fresh reviews across multiple platforms that you need to get back to.
Semrush’s Review Management tool makes it easy to reply to your customers and helps you visualize how you’re doing with a handy Review Progress chart.
A screenshot of the Reply Rate feature of Semrush’s Listing Management

Relax knowing it’s all being monitored

Getting your NAP data out there is one thing, but keeping an eye on all your listings to make sure everything is consistent is practically impossible without a dedicated tool on your side.
Duplicate listings can be auto-generated by directories, phone numbers can be published incorrectly and brand names can appear with the wrong stylization.
Semrush’s Listing Management constantly monitors your online presence and quickly alerts you to problems so you can confirm if the tool should go ahead and suppress or edit them.
Duplicate listings highlighted by Semrush’s Listing Management

Deliver impressive ranking reports

Higher rankings are one of the benefits of local SEO that you’ll be most proud of and should feature prominently in your monthly marketing reports.
But local keywords like “restaurants near me” are hard to track unless you recruit people living in each neighborhood to send you the positions they’re seeing—and even then the data isn’t very reliable.
Semrush Local's Listing Management tool gives you an objective view of your local rankings for up to five keywords. Plus, Premium Location users can see their rankings at a granular level with Map Rank Tracker (available as a standalone as well), which shows your local positions in a grid visualization.
Semrush’s Map Rank Tracker tool for checking local rankings
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