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Why Local SEO Is Important for Small Businesses

Aaron Levenstadt CEO & Founder at Pedestal Search

Aaron Levenstadt CEO & Founder

January 3, 2021 | 5 Min Read

Article updated on April 2, 2022

Local SEO is an important tactic almost all SMBs should consider when building out their marketing strategy. Here’s a few statistics showcasing why::

  • 97% of Google users have searched online for a local business.

  • 54% of Google users search for a local business at least once a month.

  • 12% of Google users search for a local business on a daily basis.

If you’re interested in learning more about why local SEO is important for small businesses, read on.

What is Local SEO?

Local SEO is optimizing a business’s website to target customers by geographic location.

By nature, local SEO is about helping potential customers to find trusted brick and mortar locations that offer local products or services..

In Google’s own words, local SEO helps “Google to provide relevant information to local users.”

Which Businesses Benefit from Local SEO?

Localized service providers (electricians, plumbers, etc) and businesses with physical locations can benefit from local SEO.

Back in 2014, Google rolled out what is known as the Pigeon Update. This update better adapted Google to mobile users and began valuing their geographic location when choosing what web pages to rank in SERPs.

As a result, local businesses suddenly had a leg up against international behemoths like Walmart.

This is not to say Walmart can’t participate in local SEO—they can and do. However, local SEO leveled the playing field for search queries like ‘electrician near me’ or ‘best electricians in Toronto’.

For a deeper dive into local SEO specifically for clinics, read our recent article, Local SEO for Doctors & Dentists: A Step-by-Step Guide.

Why Small Businesses Need SEO

Improving your local search can help your business break through the clutter.

Local SEO makes small businesses more competitive by switching the focus from worldwide to local.

In fact, 88% of localized searches result in a call or store visit within 24 hours. And, 28% of localized searches result in a purchase!

Mobile Local SEO

In 2019, Google began rolling out mobile-first indexing.

Essentially, this means Google will put more value on your mobile site when deciding how to rank your pages and blog posts in SERPs. At least at first.

The move towards mobile-first indexing lines up with North American user behavior. According to CNBC, it’s now estimated that 72.6% of users will access the internet via smartphone or mobile device.

As the trend of mobile dominance continues to grow, the value of local search will only increase. Voice search, smart watches and wearable technology are all pushing this trend further. Making the location a crucial factor in search and engagement.

The value of local SEO comes down to visibility and target audience relevance. The geographic focus of local SEO makes you more visible in the places your consumers are already looking.

Local SEO Ranking Factors

  Local Ranking Factors

Among the highest-ranking factors for SERPs from Google’s latest upgrade include GMB (Google My Business), physical address, citations from local domains, and proximity to point of search. The focus on link building is reduced, with more emphasis placed on location, consistency, local reviews and relevance.


Another important factor is maintaining consistent NAP (Name, Address, Phone) across all platforms. Anywhere you list your name, address, and phone number, they must always be the same format. This will maximize their SERP impact.

Social Media & Local Directories

Social media & local directories are great tools to build your SMB’s presence and search ranking. They are free and/or affordable ways to greatly extend your reach.

Here are a few of the most common directories:

Google My Business is an online integrated business interface. What makes it most valuable, is that Google gives GMB preference. So it improves your page ranking on Google and takes location into consideration. Bonus: GMB is directly linked to Google Maps.

Bing Places is Bing’s equivalent to GMB. While Bing isn’t nearly as popular as Google, it’s still worthwhile getting your business profiles listed there.

Yelp allows for companies to receive genuine reviews from customers. It ranks highly on search engines and is an excellent opportunity for building links from a locally dominant domain.

Review sites and forums that cater directly to a location or a category are great for reaching a niche target. A good example of this would be a restaurant having reviews on Tripadvisor.

Local business directories are another great opportunity for building your local relevance. They provide another platform for your business to be found by those searching locally. As well as building links with a locally dominant domain. Both of these factors will have a direct influence on your SERP.

Optimize Content and Links for Local Relevance

Optimize content and links for local relevance. To do so, add the name of the city or region as well as local keyword data into landing pages, titles, and links.

Community Involvement

Getting involved in online and offline communities creates opportunities for local SEO.

Attending, running, or sponsoring relevant community events can positively impact an SMB’s local SEO performance. For example, hosting a MeetUp may result in localized backlinks from community papers and blogs.

Involvement in your community gives more opportunity for press coverage. Request interviews with local news or relevant online bloggers and social influencers. This creates an affordable and effective way to build your online presence and increase your reach.

SMB Digital Marketing Strategy

A local SEO strategy is one of the most powerful tactics a localized SMB can leverage to grow their revenue. However, local SEO takes time, effort, and knowledge. In many instances, partnering with an SEO agency is your best shot at success.

An experienced SEO agency has the skills and experience to leverage all possible avenues to grow your business.

SEO specialists take a deep dive into your business, creating an SEO program aligned with your business objectives. Local SEO attracts traffic to your website and drives consumers to your brick and mortar location. Leading to an increase in both sales and ROI.

Aaron Levenstadt CEO & Founder at Pedestal Search

Aaron Levenstadt

CEO & Founder

Aaron Levenstadt completed his degree in Statistical & Data Science at Stanford University. That focus has given him an unparalleled data-driven approach to search engine digital marketing. Prior to founding Pedestal Search, Aaron worked at Google at the company’s headquarters in Mountain View California. At Google he worked on the Organic Search, Paid Search and Google Analytics products, which equipped him with extensive knowledge of the mechanisms driving Google’s algorithm and other internet search engines.