How Local SEO is Changing & What Businesses Can Do About It
Local search engine results and search engine ranking factors are now one of the biggest and most important puzzles of local SEO.
And the real catch is that local SEO is changing – and improving to an extent – all the time. Recently, there have been a few notable changes that we believe will determine the future of local SEO.
In this post, we are going to discuss one of such changes that had a reasonably big impact on local SEO and local search engines.
Country-Specific Versions of Google
Do you remember searching something on Google and being redirected to your country-specific version of the search engine?
For example, when you searched for “furniture shops”, Google used to redirect you to your country-specific version of Google. So if you were in the UK, Google would redirect you to Google.co.uk, instead of using Google.com (the global version).
But why does Google redirect?
It is because of a number of different reasons:
1. Country specific results are believed to be more targeted and valuable for the searchers. If we once again use the above example of “furniture shops”, would someone living in the UK be interested in finding furniture shops in the US? This is one of the reasons why local SEO is so important.
2. Apart from the user experience, localised search results also make it easier for online businesses to sponsor targeted ads to their local customers.
3. By redirecting to country specific versions of search engines, Google stays clear of many legal problems it would have to face otherwise.
It is Now Harder to Reach Google.com
As of now, it is a little harder to reach Google.com than it used to be.
Earlier, a link to Google.com always used to be at the bottom of the country specific versions of Google. But now, it only appears the very first time someone is being redirected to the country specific version. After that, the Google.com link just disappears.
The bottom line?
Google wants you to stay on and use the country specific versions of their search engine. This is why they are constantly trying to make it harder to search via their global search engine version.
What Should You, as an Online Business, Do About It?
You don’t have much control over what Google does or doesn’t change. The only thing you can do is to cope up with it so your business doesn’t take a nosedive.
The good news is that the above-mentioned change doesn’t damage the earning potential of local businesses. As a matter of fact, it helps businesses like yours. However, you will have to be in a position to take advantage of it.
There are several things that you, as an online business, can do about it to make sure you are getting the most amount of traffic – targeted traffic – and revenue from your website.
Here are a few steps you can take to ensure long-term success in the local SEO market.
i. Define Your Target Audience
Make sure you clearly specify your target audience when creating the content of your website.
Since it is going to be your local market most often visiting your website – after being redirected to their country-specific version of search engine – your website content should be perfectly optimized for them.
ii. Specify Where You Are
In the local business market, the location of your business is of paramount importance. The best practice is to clearly mention where your business is located. Moreover, you can always use widgets like Google Maps’ to make it easier for your potential customers to find you.
iii. Connect With Your Local Target Audience
Your goal shouldn’t only be to woo new potential customers. That can come later.
Ideally, you should have a proper marketing strategy, and connecting with your local target audience is an important part of it.
Share local community news, display your business’s opinions on a certain cause, take part in sponsorships and charities, review local businesses or interview local figures.
In short, be a part of that community that you are trying to connect with as a preferred business outlet.
Local SEO is a good thing. In fact, it can have a great ROI (return on investment) if you play it right.
Google is now making every effort to make local SEO as important as it possibly can. This is because it not only gives a better user-experience to internet searchers, but it also paves way for more money in terms of targeted local ads.
So you are going to see a lot more of it in the near-future. It is best, therefore, to play along and optimise your website for your country specific local search engine. After all, most of your local audience are going to be redirected to that.