There were over four and a half billion internet users across the world as of January 2020 and that number is only expected to grow as technology becomes more advanced and more accessible continuously. Of that traffic, organic SEO is the dominant source, accounting for a whopping 53% of trackable internet use.1
Clearly, search engine optimization (SEO) should still be a major factor in your business marketing strategy. But the landscape of SEO is changing, in large part due to a shift in Google’s focus for how they rank internet listings in their search results. Local SEO is monopolizing a larger portion of the top internet search results as Google prioritizes listings differently based on user data.
But what is local SEO exactly, and how does that differ from the regular, everyday SEO strategies we’re used to hearing about? That’s what we’re going to share with you in this article. Should you be focusing more on your local SEO strategy? Let’s find out:
The Changing Landscape of SEO
Google accounts for about 73% of desktop search traffic and almost 93% of mobile searches.1 That’s a huge monopoly on internet usage and represents the impact they have on the evolving landscape of the internet. If Google makes changes, we’re going to feel it. But Google’s shift to focusing more on local SEO and less on generalized, global listings is instigated by the masses – they listen to their users.
Google has begun to focus more on mobile optimization because people are using their phones more than their desktops to search (52% of web traffic worldwide is mobile). Google is focusing more on local SEO because searches starting with “near me” have increased by an incredible 900% over the last few years. In fact, 86% of people actually look up the physical location of a business on Google Maps2 after completing a search.
So, if you’re wondering whether you should be shifting more to a local SEO focus, the answer is clearly YES.
A Brief Explanation of SEO Strategy
When someone wants to find specific information these days, the obvious place to start is with an online search. As a business, SEO will help you be there to meet them with the information they’re looking for. Optimizing your website and other online resources for SEO involves using various on- and off-page strategies to boost your business’s rankings in relevant search results.
The hierarchy of a search will look something like this:
- At the very top of results will be a number of related paid advertisements marked with “Ad” labels.
- Below the ads, may be a number of special interactive results that will provide users with helpful information related to their search without having to click through to a website. These are called SERP features and often include “call-to-actions” such as offering a Map where they can click-through to get driving directions, showcasing contact information with click-to-call phone numbers, offering videos which are watchable in feed, or a drop down list of FAQs, etc.
- Finally, a list of unpaid search results using keywords and phrases relevant to the search will show.
To get your business to the top of these search results and increase the chances that you’ll win a user’s interest, you’ll need to utilize a number of SEO strategies. This may include targeting specific keywords and phrases, creating in-depth content about relevant topics, using backlinks to increase your authority, and taking steps on the back end of your website to increase load speed, simplify navigation, and minimize code.
Ultimately, optimizing your SEO will guide more users to your business and that leads to conversions. Both traditional and local SEO work this way and use similar strategies.
SEO vs Local SEO Part 2 - What’s the difference?
Read on to Part 2 of the SEO vs. Local SEO series to discover what the difference really is between the two and what steps you can take to maximize your SEO potential.
Sources: 1“Search Engine Marketing Statistics 2020” by Joanna Carter for Smart Insights, Feb. 18, 2020; 2” The Ultimate List of Marketing Statistics for 2020” by HubSpot