Benefits of SEO for Local Businesses
While it’s true that local SEO can benefit almost every local business, this strategy is especially helpful for small local businesses—as it allows them to feature their services and stand out in directory listings so they can attract more customers.
You can use the following local SEO benefits to better sell services to your clients or to learn more about what you can do to improve your local SEO.
What is Local SEO?
Local Search Engine Optimization (aka. “Local SEO” or “Map SEO”) is the act of optimizing your online content – such as that of your website, blog, or Google Business Profile – to include keywords and phrases, and build backlinks that will help customers find your business.
For example, let’s say you own an auto repair shop; if your website is properly optimized for local areas, it will show up in top search results when a customer types in something like “oil change service near me”.
When your business shows up in a search engine due to local SEO efforts, this is often referred to as “organic” results, since you don’t need to pay to be featured in the search.
When you have a brick-and-mortar store, or an online startup servicing a specific, local area, local SEO can be very helpful for building awareness about your new business within the community.
14 Real Benefits of Local SEO
Whether you own a brick-and-mortar store or an online business serving a specific area, local SEO can have a huge impact on the status of your business. You can optimize your content yourself, or hire a local SEO service—but, either way, the first step is to understand what this strategy can do for you.
I’ve put together a full list of benefits of local SEO to help you learn more. Whatever your reason for using local search engine optimization, it will be clear by the end of this section why it is worth the money and the time.
1. The features are free
Unlike standard paid ads, using local SEO features, such as your Google Business Profile and Bing Webmaster Tools, doesn’t cost you any extra money.
Think about it: Google wants to make people pay for ads that are listed above the normal 3-pack (the first three results in a search) and Maps results (results of a local search), so there wouldn’t be any incentive to make you pay for these features!
Plus, you can combine these tools with content SEO optimization (either on your own or through a service provider) to truly maximize your free service.
2. You'll get instant rankings
There’s a reason I recommend Google Business Profiles (GBPs) so often: they offer huge SEO benefits for any company—especially small businesses.
In terms of local SEO, your Google Business ranking starts the moment you verify your profile. This means that you can start utilizing the benefits of your local ranking almost immediately, instead of waiting to be featured on local search.
The more customers find your website through local search, the more your search ranking will improve. The best part? These are long-term results.
That means that, unlike standard ad campaigns (which typically only boost sales temporarily), the benefits from just one round of SEO optimization can improve your rankings for years to come.
3. Local search is #1 with customers
Those customers you’re looking for? Most of them (including about 80% of smartphone users) use local search on a regular basis—either through their automatic search settings or by typing in direct phrases such as “services near me” or “services in Miami, FL”. Ranking for “near me” and similar phrases can make a huge difference in your local search marketing.
Not only do they seem to prioritize local searches, but those searches also result in a higher rate of purchase. In fact, according to Google, 76% of people who conduct a local search on their smartphone visit that business within 24 hours. 28% of those visits result in a purchase.
For small businesses especially, a conversion rate like this could mean the difference between growing their company, breaking even, or breaking down altogether.
4. Brand credibility gets boosted
When you have both organic local search results and paid ad listings driving traffic to your site, this increases your overall brand credibility.
Potential clients are much more comfortable seeking services from a business that shows up in at least two different sources on search, rather than just one.
They are also more likely to support a local business than one outside of their community—usually out of community loyalty as well as for convenience purposes. Plus, if you can pair that great SEO with outstanding written content, you can present yourself as an expert in your field—allowing you to draw in even more customers with that enhanced trust factor.
5. It raises brand awareness
Through local SEO, you can make sure that your business shows up on all of the relevant directories, no matter which search engine or site the potential client is using.
Another benefit of local SEO is, it will help increase the overall awareness of your brand, making it more likely for you to gather more clients on a consistent basis. As you gain more clientele, your reputation will increase, which will motivate potential clients to give you a try as well.
Plus, you’ll appear higher and higher in search results. If you can get your business into Google’s 3-pack (the top three results), the search engine will display more info about your company than if you were displayed below the top three. This can help increase your clickthrough rate and, in turn, your conversion rate.
6. You'll gain a competitive advantage
Technically, you might be up against a whole slew of established, local competitors—and even national brands as well.
However, if you have a stronger online presence—bolstered by those organic search results—you’re going to have a significant advantage over those competitors that don’t invest in local search engine optimization.
This can help give you a leg up, even if your business is just getting started. If you own a brick-and-mortar store, it can also help you increase your in-person foot traffic and local calls, since you’ll be more likely to show up as a suggested location when potential customers are walking or driving in your area.
7. It helps you reach the right audience
Unlike Facebook ads, Google results are based on “pull marketing”. This happens when a person uses a search engine and gets quality results. From those results, customers can find their way to businesses that are a great fit for what they are looking for.
And businesses can get matched with customers that would most benefit from their services. Plus, you’ll be less likely to draw in customers that cannot use your services, such as out-of-state searchers looking for a store within driving distance.
8. You can identify website errors
Traffic brought to your website by local SEO can help you monitor your online presence in terms of search relevance. This can help you identify “leaks” and errors in the way that your website is presented to the public so that you can improve the overall experience for site visitors.
For example, you’ll be able to see if your site is connected to certain keywords that are not actually related to your service offering—or if your website content is missing some key terms that would help potential customers find your business.
9. Local SEO offers a higher referral rate
With so many competitors out there, it might seem like you’re carving out your marketplace niche all on your own—but, the reality is, our world is a collaborative society. You’re not going to get far without solid professional relationships.
Since local SEO relies on local backlink strategies as well, using it will help you make deeper connections with neighboring businesses and explore the kinds of services and products they are offering. This, in turn, leads to higher referral rates and cross-promotion of products between you and the other business—and enhances both of your online presences. I’d call that a win-win.
10. You'll get more reviews
As you show up in more search results, including online review sites, this helps encourage past and current customers to leave feedback on their experience.
These reviews can be featured on your website and social media platforms to help you gain more trust and demonstrate social proof that your business is legitimate, reliable, and worthwhile. In fact, according to a 2022 Consumer Survey by BrightLocal, 77% of consumers consider online reviews while vetting a business before purchasing.
In addition, this same survey found that 89% of viewers are “fairly likely” to utilize a service or company if that company responds to their reviews. So, definitely keep that in mind as your customer feedback starts to build up.
11. It helps you keep up-to-date on trends
All those tools you’re using to help you optimize your online presence? They have other uses too. For one thing, since you’ll be getting insights about what search terms are connected to your business, you’ll get a better idea of what terms are most popular. This will give you a unique understanding of what your potential customers are looking for and help you provide better service overall.
12. You will identify flaws in your business
Similar to point #8, local SEO efforts can help you identify flaws in your business’ online presence. For example, if your potential customers are searching for certain services or products that your business could provide, but doesn’t, you’ll be able to use that information to help improve your business offering and get them more of what they need.
13. You'll get better offline marketing
Driving direction insights, service area data, and even phone number area codes (or call zone location data) can help give you insights about where your customers are coming from.
You can use this info to create better offline marketing strategies. For example, you can target your ads, brochures, and TV spots to certain areas; invest more in ad frequency for specific parts of your neighborhood; or even modify your brand approach to appeal to certain communities or demographics.
As you grow, this information will also help you decide on where to expand, since you’ll have specific information on the areas that have the potential to bring your more customers.
14. Ads are going to be cheaper
Just like we mentioned in point #11, all of this local SEO data can improve your business approach in more than one way. For instance, because you are learning so much about the right keywords and phrases your customers are searching for, you won’t be wasting money on irrelevant ads. In a way, it’s basically free research.
Summarizing The Benefits for Local SEO
As you can see, local SEO can have numerous benefits for your small business—including improved search ranking, enhanced credibility with customers, and stronger professional connections with other local businesses.
This strategy can also help you save money on paid ad campaigns, improve your service offerings, and help potential customers find what they need, faster. Better yet, all of these local SEO benefits have a long-term effect on your online presence, so you can keep scaling your business to greater success.
Have you invested in local search engine optimization? What was your experience like? Feel free to leave your questions and comments below; let’s keep this conversation going!
Be sure to download my Local SEO Bible for more in-depth strategies.