Could Local SEO Transform Your User Experience?

January 22, 2024

Adoption of local search is exploding in 2023. As the hypercompetitive search landscape heats up, the battle is on for startups and small-to-medium businesses (SMBs) to achieve a high search-engine results page (SERP) status. Did you know that a whopping four out of five consumers use local search, with a staggering 88% of them operating a smartphone device?

Instead of focusing on high-difficulty keywords and pitching your Web site against brand giants, optimizing for local search could actually be your strategy for success as competition to improve the search user experience continues to develop.

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“When it comes to local SEO, Google ranking is everything. You could have the most beautiful Web site and the best products or services, but if you’re not on the first page of Google, chances are you’re not going to get much traffic.”—Jim Reynolds, CEO of Sofia Marketing

With this in mind, let’s delve into the benefits of local search. I’ll reveal some of the newest local-search tactics just waiting for you to use them to improve your UX success. How can you win in the hypercompetitive local-search landscape? Read on.

What Is Local SEO?

Local SEO (search-engine optimization) is the process of optimizing your content for local searches. For a smaller business or local online startup, one of the easiest ways to score leads is to target those closest to home. Research shows that 46% of Google searches have local intent, so it’s no surprise that local SEO ranks as one of the highest return-on-investment (ROI) strategies. According to the experts at Milestone Inc.:

“Organic and Local Search together is the best combination for driving Web-site traffic with 69% session share and 73% page view share. But given the data, they turn out to be the most reliable, resilient, and high-performing channels. Local gives the best ROI with the highest page views per session compared to other channels.”

Let’s have a look at some of the other benefits of optimizing your user experience for local search:

  • targeted Web traffic—If you’re designing your content for a local audience, you’ll be more likely to draw in targeted leads for subscriptions and signups.
  • improved online visibility—Local SEO strategies such as internal link building, page localization, and niche keywords make discovering your site easier for local customers.
  • greater consumer loyalty—Consumers are twice as likely to trust a local business and even more likely to make another purchase if they are happy with their experience.
  • improved CRO—If you’re looking to boost conversions, optimizing your site for local search is more likely to drive leads and engagement to achieve a conversion rate–optimization (CRO) peak.

5 Ways to Incorporate Local SEO into Your UX Strategy

If you’re looking for ways to improve your chances of appealing to a local audience, you’ve come to the right place. Next, I’ll discuss five different ways of changing up your site design and your SEO to improve the user experience of local leads.

1. Audit your current SEO.

Before you embark on a local SEO journey, audit the content that’s already on your Web site. This is a great idea for those wanting to make just a few tweaks and changes without refreshing their entire content strategy.

Here are some of the ways in which you can audit your current Web site for local optimization:

  • on-page SEO audit—Review your SEO writing, linking structure, and guides to location services. Are these optimized for local search?
  • competitor analysis—Are you competing against other local brands? How does your site match up? Take note of the links and keywords that are performing well on their sites and replicate them on your site.
  • Web-site UX—How accessible is your Web site? Test your page-loading speeds, content structure, and multidevice optimization to ensure that your Web site ranks well when Google crawls it.
  • consulting an SEO agency—If you’re an SEO beginner working on your Web-site optimization, it’s a great idea to partner with an SEO company. They can find the best keywords for local-ranking potential and assist you with your upcoming campaigns.

Once you’ve optimized your current content, it’s time to start building on this for local targeting.

2. Go beyond optimizing your on-site user experience.

While many business leaders focus solely on Web-site optimization to rank for local search, you must go beyond your site’s design and structure to achieve success.

One way to do this is to create a Google My Business account. This is the crème de la crème of local search. Because Google owns this tool, it’s no surprise that Google My Business content constantly gets shared in search results and is favored by search-engine algorithms. Registering your Web site with Google My Business helps Google verify your company as an authentic player within its industry. In fact, since the 2020 ecommerce boom, Google My Business listings have grown by 29%.

3. Don’t forget your location pages.

If you have a brick-and-mortar store as well as an ecommerce site, it’s important to let your customers know about it. Not only does this boost user trust, but it could influence shoppers to visit your physical location, too. Figure 1 shows an example.

Figure 1—A location page
A location page

Image source: HubSpot

Your location page should state your address, opening hours, parking information, and anything else that is relevant to your physical business. You can even add a Google map to your page to ensure customers can easily find you.

If you optimize your on-site location page, your business will be much more likely to appear in near-me searches—such as that for Italian restaurants shown in Figure 1.

4. Ask customers for reviews.

“One of the most important ranking factors on Google is customer reviews. The more positive reviews you have, the higher your Google ranking will be.”—Jim Reynolds, CEO of Sofia Marketing

Not only do reviews improve brand reputation but you’re more likely to appear in a local search if local customers have already written positive reviews.

Did you know that, when businesses ask their customers, two-thirds are happy to review a local business? The key here is to send out email offers in exchange for a review or even discounts for loyal customers who leave a good word on your site. Just a few positive reviews could make the difference between a conversion and a bounce.

Ensure that you scatter these reviews throughout your design template, so customers can view them on important pages, as well as under particular products and services.

5. Prioritize your mobile user experience.

Last but not least, make sure that you’re prioritizing your mobile consumers. As Figure 2 shows, a whopping 76% of those who conduct local searches on their mobile device visit a physical store within less than a day.

Figure 2—Conversions for local searches
Conversions for local searches

Image source: BizcaBoom

Most local searches happen when people are on the go. For example, if someone is in a new city and searching for a place to eat, the chances are they’ll whip out their phone and type in restaurants near me.

“With the increasing use of mobile devices for local searches, ensuring that your service area Web pages are mobile friendly is crucial. Mobile optimization enhances user experience, improves page load speed, and positively impacts your search engine rankings. Use responsive design and optimize images for quick loading to provide a seamless browsing experience across devices.”—Don Dodds, Founder at M16 Marketing.

Optimizing your mobile user experience is essential in our current era of smartphone domination and even more crucial for businesses who want to rank locally.

Could Localized Tactics Power the UX Strategies of Tomorrow?

Users’ demands for a positive user experience are constantly rising. Not only do UX designers need to be on top of their mobile user experience, hyperpersonalization, and accessibility, they must also ensure that their content is fit for multiple target audiences.

Local searchers drive a large number of leads, making them some of the most important people to remember when crafting your online strategy. Target your content toward locals, especially if you run a bricks-and-mortar business, too. Then optimize this content to ensure that your business is visible to the right people at the right time.

The question now is: just how big an impact will local SEO have on the UX design community going forward? Only time will tell. 

Marketing Executive at Solvid Digital

London, UK

Rebecca Barnatt-SmithRebecca is an experienced marketing executive with a passion for UX design, data-driven outcomes, and digital creativity. She has worked on all aspects of marketing, from UX design and creative copywriting to search-engine optimization (SEO) and pay-per-click (PPC) advertising. She is interested in all things digital and can’t wait to see how the future of technology shapes the corporate world.  Read More

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