How to Use Local SEO for Lead Generation
Lead generation for local businesses has changed a lot over the years and those who haven't kept up have fallen behind. This is especially true for businesses that need to book appointments for their services. The good news is that getting caught up on the latest local SEO strategies for search engine lead generation is a simple matter, and can have long lasting results for those looking to grow their business.

Why Local SEO is Important

Having a presence online is essentially a requirement for any business these days. However, a business that draws its customers from a very specific location based demographic can make the mistake of marketing to a wider audience than is needed. This can waste both time and money in a variety of ways.

For example, a dentist in Denver who advertises their services online but doesn't target locally may end up getting calls from people outside of their area. They may also get a lot of traffic to their site from people who simply aren't in any position to visit them. This can skew their analytics, and if they have a high bounce rate, it can even harm their on-page SEO efforts.

When local SEO is done right, the search engines like Google know to recommend a business to people who are in their area. This helps people to find the services that they're looking for, and helps business to connect with customers and clients that are actually in a position to hire them.

The Components of Local SEO

Search engine lead generation for local businesses consists of several components. Each component is important in its own way, and most fall under the category of off-page SEO. Taking care of each of these factors helps a business to build a more complete local SEO strategy, and get ranked for local search terms. It also helps Google and the other search engines to know who to recommend their business to.

Business Directories

There are many business directories online and the more directories a business lists itself with, the more traffic it will get. However, the traffic a business gets from the directories is only a small part of this strategy. What's more important is the fact that listing with multiple business directories helps Google and the other search engines to figure out what a business does, and where they operate.

For example, someone may type something like "psychologist near me" into a search engine. Years ago the search engine would probably have had trouble with a search term this vague, but today Google will be able to figure out where the person doing the search is, and recommend psychologists in their area based on a variety of factors including business directory listings.

Google Maps

A business that's serious about local SEO for lead generation should also list themselves with Google Maps. This is because Google Maps listings tend to get pushed in the search results when using Google to search for local businesses. In addition to this, a Google Maps listing can have a link to the website of the business which will give it some powerful link juice to help it rank more highly in the search engine results.

The important thing to remember about a Google Maps listing is to include as much information as possible. Contact information such as email and phone are a must, but things like hours of operation are also important. In any case, listing a business with Google Maps is a big part of off-page local SEO.

Having a Mobile Friendly Site

Over the past decade Internet searches on mobile devices has steadily increased. These days there are more people doing searches on mobile devices than on traditional desktop computers. To account for this, Google has rolled out its Mobile First Indexing program. Basically what this does is it boosts sites that are mobile friendly up the search results while sites that aren't mobile friendly get penalized.

Having a mobile friendly site is one of the most important things that a business can do to improve its SEO online whether it's a local business or not. Any business that doesn't have a mobile friendly site will struggle to get traffic, and should optimize their site for mobile as soon as possible.

Social Media Lead Generation

Social media lead generation for local businesses is much less straightforward but still important for any local SEO strategy. The key here is to use social media for branding, not selling, because a business wants as many people talking about them on social media as possible. While Google doesn't take likes, shares, etc. into account for its rankings, it will recognize that people are talking about the business, and as a result, view that business as having more "authority."

The main strategy behind social media for local SEO is to build a loyal following. A business' followers will then spread the word which will become a boosting factor for the business in the search results. It's a very indirect process, but when done right it can be very powerful.

Local SEO Takes Time

Just like with any other SEO strategy, local SEO isn't about getting results overnight. Instead it's a long term strategy designed to produce consistent results over a long period of time. This means that implementing local SEO will take some time to get going, but once it starts to work it will be a very powerful marketing force for months and years to come.

This being the case, the sooner a business starts implementing local SEO strategies the sooner they will begin seeing results. Putting off local SEO will only handicap a business in the long run, and deprive them of all the targeted leads they could be getting. Like any investment, local SEO tends to pay for itself many times over.
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