Local SEO: Strategic insights into dominating your industry
Rankings. Rankings. Rankings. Each and every day my business interacts with prospective clients who make the same results-driven enquiries, such as ‘how can you improve my keyword search rankings?” or “How long would it take you to secure a number one ranking for me on Google?”. And after years in the industry, I’ve come to realise that by making such queries, people are displaying a basic misunderstanding of what SEO is all about and how it can be used in order to raise sales volumes and business levels.
Some readers will already take issue with my idea of SEO, and in particular local SEO, being far more than a rankings game. After all, surely the term which stands for Search Engine Optimisation is entirely about achieving the best possible rankings for the most profitable keywords?
However, experienced campaigners will be all-too familiar that attaining a top page ranking does not guarantee that your company will get business, and there are a number of other metrics you need to address in order to make sure that your company maximises its use of its hard-earned top page position.
To elaborate, envisage the situation in which you are ranking top for a keyword in the first position of Google’s search engine. However, upon conducting your monthly analytics check, you realise that it has only been attracting 100 new visitors to your site per-month. Clearly in a case such as this, you’d only be making a sufficient amount of money each month if you were converting at 100%, and even so the rewards would not be a reflection of the scale of rewards that you should be enjoying from topping the rankings for profitable keywords. Clearly, the search rankings do not guarantee higher revenue levels, and when it comes to cracking your niche in your local region, your traffic figures are far more important than your ranking positions. This idea is concretised by the fact that if you asked a marketer whether they wanted a number 8 ranking with 2000 visitors a month or a number one ranking with 100, almost all would opt for the former due to its augmented profitability.
Instead, high site traffic levels are the cornerstone to success when it comes to dominating the share of business within your industry in your local area, because visitors from your nearby vicinity are more likely to convert into paying customers than people stumbling upon your page from far away. As such, keyword rankings don’t reflect how much money you stand to make; your site visitors do, making programmes such as Google Analytics essential for optimising your businesses local SEO.
Below are the areas of SEO you should concentrate on rather than the ranking positions for your selected keywords, so you can begin enjoying the majority share of consumers in your local area.
Organic Traffic Levels
A number of lower-end SEO agencies tend to provide their customers with regular reports about their search rankings, but not attach any supplementary data about the causes of their position movements or levels of traffic. As previously discussed, having a top page position is somewhat ironically irrelevant unless it is contributing to pushing higher numbers of potential clients to your site.
As such, it is imperative that you highlight and regularly analyse your organic traffic figures on Google Analytics in order to identify where you are getting the majority of your visitors from, what is attracting them, and you can modify your existing campaign in order to bolster your metric totals in this area.
It is important that you primarily focus on your organic traffic figures, meaning that traffic you have acquired from manually installed attractors, such as social media campaigns, should be looked at separately and with less importance. Your organic figures will provide you with an accurate indication of the number of people visiting your site on the basis of its ranking, relevancy or quality, rather than being induced so.
Organic Search Conversion Rates
Whilst traffic figures are an important part of the process of determining how much revenue you’re in line rake in, they cannot be used alone in order to fulfil your return on investment goals. Instead, you are going to have to use these figures to analyse a more significant metric; your organic search conversion rates. Your conversion rates will provide you with a real insight into the amount of money your local SEO is bringing in, and sets the foundation for improvement and further profiteering in the future.
In particular, you should assess which aspects of your site converting the best, identify why they are doing so, and the rates which you need to achieve in order to meet your return on investment aims. I’d consider asking yourself:
- How much of your organically acquired traffic has been converted?
- Is your traffic directly buying your product online or simply filling in an enquiry form?
- Is your traffic filling in applications to receive your business newsletter?
- Which parts of your site are visitors going to the most, and which pages are converting the most?
It is entirely attainable to introduce a far-reaching conversion tracking programme which provides details about every single conversion you make, and applies a monetary figure next to all of your identified conversions so you can ascertain how much profit you are making from your SEO endeavours.
Unlike search rankings and even traffic figures alone, conversion figures are conclusive and serve to give you a complete indication of the ROI your local SEO campaign is garnering. It is imperative you keep this notion in mind when engaging with an SEO agency, because they could continually send you ranking figures which illustrate that you are ranking top for all your desired keywords, without delivering the service which actually matters: conversions.
Page visit figures on ‘Google My Business’
If your visit your Google-My-Business dashboard on your Google profile, you will be given a rough indication of the quantity of impressions that your Google Business listing has acquired by visiting the insights section. Impressions describe the quantity of occasions your listing was displayed on Google’s local advertising space and as such only provide you with an insight into how much exposure your business is getting to your local audience. Because the exposure is coming locally, these figures usually also convey the number of enquiry phone calls or in-person visits your company is attracting, and as such can be used in order to determine how much it is worth paying to improve your visibility in order to garner more business.
Ranking reports and keyword data is ultimately frivolous unless you look at them in relation to the metrics which really matter; your site traffic levels and conversion rates. These are the metrics which give you a real idea of which parts of your local SEO campaign are profitable, which are stalling and which need to be improved, enabling you to constantly operate on the basis of actions which stand to make you money.