Is Local SEO Worth It? Understanding Its Benefits For Business

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Is Local SEO Worth It? Understanding Its Critical Value
Micah Marcano
July 19, 2023
Is Local SEO Worth It? Understanding Its Critical Value

As a business dependent on customers from your surrounding neighborhoods and region, you may wonder if focusing time and resources on local search engine optimization is really worth the investment.

The simple answer is yes - embracing local SEO delivers significant benefits that make it a smart business move.

In this article, we’ll explore what local SEO is, why it should be a priority, and its key benefits - without getting into tactical how-tos. You’ll gain a clearer understanding of why local SEO is valuable for location-based brands.

Let’s get started!

What is Local SEO Exactly?

Local SEO refers to optimizing your online presence - website, listings, citations, mentions - to rank higher in searches for local businesses and services.

For example, it helps you rank higher when customers search for things like:

  • Tampa dog grooming
  • Italian restaurant nearby
  • Plumber in Portland

The goal is to be found in searches where consumers are actively looking for businesses like yours in your specific metro area, city, or neighborhood.

Local SEO is all about visibility and discoverability in geography-specific searches. By ranking well for searches that matter most to your business, you can more easily be found by high-intent potential customers in your region.

Related Article: What Is SEO? A Beginners Guide To Better Rankings

What Are The Benefits of Local SEO

Local SEO benefits

Implementing an effective local SEO strategy provides significant advantages that make it a smart investment for location-based businesses. Especially over some other marketing methods:

  • Increased website traffic from local search engine queries - Higher rankings result in more qualified visitors.
  • Stronger local authority and trust signals - Ranking well for local keywords and listings establishes you as a leading area provider.
  • Competitive edge - Local SEO gives you an advantage against national competitors targeting your service areas.
  • More sales from website, phone, and foot traffic - Higher local rankings drive more calls, walk-ins, and conversions from nearby searchers.
  • Brand awareness and visibility in your community - Local SEO strengthens your presence and reinforces your brand locally.

In short, robust local SEO strengthens your digital presence in the areas you serve. For any business relying on customers nearby, honing your local SEO strategy is essential for growing your reputation and reach.

Did you know that over 90% of online experiences begin with a search engine, and over 70% never look past the first page?!

Core Elements of an Impactful Strategy

While we won’t go into too many specifics here, there are several key things to focus on in order to achieve effective local SEO results:

First, you need to optimize your website content for local keyword searches. This includes researching relevant terms and naturally integrating them into your site's pages and blogs.

Second, build robust local signals like positive reviews, directory citations, and mentions on local media and community sites. The more your business name, location, and reputation are reinforced locally, the better.

Additionally, ensuring your NAP (name, address, phone number) listings are consistent and complete across directories is critical. Inaccuracies will undermine your local authority.

You also want to earn high-quality backlinks from trusted, locally-focused sites related to your industry. These links signal you are a valued, reputable business in the community.

Finally, make sure your website's performance is working smoothly and fast. Issues like slow loading, dead links, broken images, and other technicals that are not working correctly will be counterproductive to ranking higher.

When factors like optimizing for local keywords, earning local links and citations, cleaning up listings, and making sure your website is a well-oiled machine, you gain a real advantage in local SEO and visibility.

What’s a Realistic Timeline for Local SEO Results?

I wish I could say that ranking in the top 3 for your keywords could happen in a month, but it's important to manage expectations. Similar to overall SEO, building local search visibility and authority happens gradually over an extended period. It requires diligence and patience to see significant results.

While competitive keywords and top rankings will take time, you can expect to see incremental progress if you stick to a consistent local SEO approach. Generally speaking, a reasonable timeline is as follows:

  • 1-3 months to see initial local rankings improvements
  • 6+ months to gain strong organic local search traction
  • 9-12+ months to start being very competitive and dominating locally

The specific timeframe will vary based on the competitiveness of your industry, the authority of your competitors, and the level of effort invested. But keeping expectations realistic is key.

The long-term rewards of increased brand visibility, website traffic, phone calls, and new local customers make the diligent, ongoing commitment to local SEO very worthwhile for location-based businesses.

Should You Concentrate on Local SEO or Paid Ads?

When it comes to improving local visibility and driving traffic, businesses often wonder whether to prioritize investment in SEO or paid advertising. Take into consideration some of the following pros and cons of both approaches:

Local SEO Pros:

  • Builds authority and trust in organic search results over time
  • Provides qualified visitors ready to convert
  • Delivers targeted traffic 24/7 without ongoing advertising costs
  • Rankings and traffic improve gradually as efforts compound

Local SEO Cons:

  • It takes significant time and effort to build rankings and traffic
  • It doesn’t allow precise control over rankings position

Paid Ads Pros:

  • Allows advertisers to instantly target #1 rankings for valuable keywords
  • Provides additional traffic to new content and campaigns needing a short-term boost

Paid Ads Cons:

  • Traffic stops as soon as advertising stops
  • No long-term value and requires an ongoing budget
  • Doesn’t build authority in organic search results

Generally, long-term SEO should be the bigger focus, supplemented by paid advertising where helpful. But a thoughtful combination of both organic and paid local search efforts can be an effective approach.

What Types of Businesses Benefit Most from Local SEO?

Local SEO industries

Virtually any business that serves a local geographic area can gain tremendous value from optimizing for local search. Top examples include:

  • Restaurants, cafes, bakeries
  • Retail stores and boutiques
  • Professional services like lawyers, dentists, accountants
  • Repair and home services like electricians, plumbers, landscaping
  • Healthcare providers and clinics
  • Hotels and other hospitality
  • Fitness, gyms, yoga studios, med spas

If your customers come from your metro area, optimizing your local SEO presence is crucial.

Related Article: Google Business Profile: Powerful Benefits for Local SEO

What Are the Risks of Not Prioritizing Local SEO?

Though we highly advise prioritizing local SEO, there are risks to not focusing on it that you should be aware of. These downsides include:

  • Losing website traffic as competitors outrank you locally
  • Declining brand visibility and authority within your region
  • Missing opportunities to connect with a high amount of potential nearby customers
  • Allowing national companies to own the local market

Most importantly, ignoring local search engine optimization means giving your competitors an advantage. Don’t let that happen!

Is Local SEO Worth It? Absolutely

As you can see, dialing in your local SEO delivers real impact for location-based businesses. We hope this overview clearly outlines what local SEO is and why it is worth it to pursue.

If you need support improving your local search presence, please reach out to our team. Our Tampa SEO agency specializes in driving results for regional brands through search visibility and traffic. Let’s talk about dominating rankings in your service areas!