The landscape for search engine rankings is brutally competitive where geographically relevant searches are concerned. And, increasingly, the landscape is becoming pricier and less penetrable.
As a result, local SEO has become much more important to businesses across the board.
Around 80 percent of consumers look to search engines to find local information. By leveraging customer reviews and producing keyword-rich content pertaining to geographic location, relevance and the targeted audience, businesses can achieve more visibility without breaking the bank.
Businesses stand to benefit a lot from local SEO while adding value to their community. Let’s talk about four industries that should be making search engine optimization an integral part of their marketing operations.
1. Plumbing and electric
Local SEO has a lot of advantages for workers in the trades because it's rare to see plumbers or electricians travel far out of their local areas for work.
Also, the people demanding these services typically need them as soon as possible: If you come home to burst pipes and your house is flooding, you're going to be desperate to get a plumber in as soon as possible.
Should that happen to you -- and hopefully it won't -- you won't likely be using the traditional print Yellow Pages, because, let's face it, no one uses that resource anymore. Instead, Google is the present and future. That said, customers searching for these services will be using search terms like “plumbers in [name of city]” or “electricians near me.”
One of the biggest advantages of effective local SEO is that it drives users to company websites without costing them a dime. So, you'll be wise to be ready for those users, through elements on your site, like reviews and testimonials; these are effective ways to market your trade within a certain area.
You can increase that impact if you put in the time to develop a local SEO strategy. Your competition may not actually be doing that because, generally speaking, a good deal of the specialists in these fields are not sinking efforts into digital marketing.
At this point, it's still a widely untapped resource and companies should take advantage of that fact.
So, if you're working on SEO, consider that Google loves quality content that adds value to the user. A great way trade workers can put themselves on the map is to leverage their knowledge and provide information about their trade -- without directly selling themselves.
For example, Bill Howe is a plumber based out of San Diego. His website is full of awesome information and little tricks of the trade that empower viewers without making a transaction. Viewers appreciate this -- no surprise that Howe shows up on the first page in any Google search.
2. Legal services
Lawyers and other professional service providers have perhaps the most to gain from local SEO. First off, they typically remain constant in terms of geographic location. Second, they have a very specialized set of skills that are extremely important to clientele. Finding a good local attorney or dentist is a priority for people living in that region.
What's important is that lawyers' skills remain in high demand. So, the opportunities to improve local SEO rankings through creating original, targeted content are practically endless.
Eskew Law LLC in Indianapolis, for example, maintains a blog on its website that talks about issues specific to its location and what the firm provides. “We create blog posts that we feel pertain directly the community we aim to serve," Christopher Eskew, founding attorney, told me.
"We were advised by our marketing agency to research local keywords to include in our web content, and it has really paid off by getting us the exposure we need.”
This type of insight-rich content that uses niche keywords does a lot to boost local rankings. As a result, Eskew shows up at the top of Google’s “map pack” when you search for lawyers in Indianapolis.
Local SEO is becoming very important, then, for professionals seeking customers nearby. Lawyers and other professionals can boost their rankings by leveraging their name, address and contact information and verifying their business on internet yellow pages sites, local search directories and niche portals.
3. Repair shops
Like trade outlets, repair shops are typically searched most during emergencies. That's why these businesses have everything to gain from being present in local searches.
From car repairs to computer fixes, repair shops of all backgrounds will gain an advantage in rankings through a local SEO campaign fo on guides and step-by-step tutorials that help consumers.
One of the biggest challenges repair shops face for local SEO is gaining customer reviews. These shops are unlike local restaurants, in that they don't have a high volume of customers every day. Therefore, they really need to go above and beyond, to provide great service and to garner testimonials and reviews to increase their local rankings.
4. Bars and restaurants
There are few surprises here: Because bars and restaurants are service-based, their success is heavily influenced by reviews -- especially on Yelp, other local restaurant directories and social media. With this in mind, local SEO campaigns can give these businesses everything they need to gain exposure online.
Additionally, bars and restaurants operate primarily on a local basis and serve a very geographically targeted audience. Gaining good reviews should be a very big priority here. Have you ever been offered a coupon or discount for writing a good Yelp review? Such offers are ploys to boost local rankings (so don't take them!).
How do restaurant ratings work? The best-rated restaurants located close to a customer will show up first in his or her results. This just goes to show how important local SEO is to bars and restaurants.
Almost every business can benefit from local SEO beyond just the industries I’ve mentioned. The ones that aren’t keeping up have a lot to lose.
Luckily, though, businesses will find local SEO cheaper, easier to manage and likely to yield better results than nationwide SEO and other forms of marketing. Even if you don’t plan on diving in deep, investing what you can into local SEO should do wonders to give your company more exposure.