Internet searching is undoubtedly the dominant force in finding reliable businesses and, vice versa, loyal clientele. When you type “best coffee” into Google search, you’re likely inundated by a local pack of business listings tagged to your area ordered by ranking, review, and proximity—the deliciousness of coffee is hopefully guaranteed. A few simple keywords play a heavy hand in boosting a business’s name to the top of a search list, but behind the curtain, pulling the algorithmic strings is the now-mainstream system of local SEO.
Local SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is the practice of optimizing Google to populate queries with brick-and-mortar businesses, elevating their revenue and local market presence above strictly web-based listings. If you’ve ever plugged “[insert region here] hardware store” or “24-hour take-out near me” into Google, you’ve benefitted from local SEO. What goes into making this possible is implementing specific keywords that help pin businesses to Google maps. This can be a cocktail of reviewed searches (scoping out what people are searching in relation to an industry), managing customer reviews, or using location citations on the business website.
A well-structured web presence that includes these competitive keywords and geo-targeted information like addresses and phone numbers, local services, and hours of operation can make or break just how many people walk through the door. Google My Business is a must-have resource for local businesses, which readily organizes this information into a compact profile, complete with mentions and reviews and opportunities for link building.
Another item that contributes to SEO is social media. Just as important as having a dedicated website for your business, apps like Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook offer crucial engagement platforms for business-client relationships. In an age where market culture depends on audience communication and ethical consumption, potential customers have developed an eagle eye for places that stand out in their services and brand manifestos. Having added transparency on social media paired with a website will amplify any keywords related to your business tenfold. The more a business posts about offers, the greater chance of attracting influencers to signal to boost the establishment (or really well-made TikToks with hit songs). In a roundabout way, social media relevancy changes how many people are looking up directions to a storefront.
In all that technical jargon, the message is that the right placement of keywords and the manipulation of Google’s many complex algorithms can solidify any business as a top locale. By considering the importance of local SEO, physical establishments can dominate the mainstream or become a neighborhood gems; it’s all in picking the right words and finding how search engines can benefit you.