Search engine optimization (SEO) is a set of strategies designed to improve a brand’s visibility online and make the company more discoverable by online searchers. This helps drive traffic to the brand’s website and, consequently, boosts sales. Local SEO has the same goal, but it focuses on local consumers patronizing local businesses. With the right strategies of local SEO during COVID-19, a brand can gain a competitive edge that makes it stand out from similar businesses in the same geographical area.

Why is local SEO important?

A significant percentage of the people who walk through your door every day first found your business online. Not all that long ago, people used the Yellow Pages to find the local businesses they needed. Now, those searches are conducted online. If your business doesn’t have a visible presence online, you’re missing out on a lot of foot traffic. That equals lost revenue opportunities. If you’re still not convinced of the importance of local SEO during COVID-19, just consider the following:
  • 60% of adults in the U.S. search for local services and products on their smartphones and tablets.
  • 50% of consumers who perform a local search on their mobile device visit a physical store that same day.
  • 34% of consumers who perform a local search on their PC will also visit a physical store on the same day.
  • 78% of mobile searches for local services or products result in an offline purchase.
  • 71% of consumers check out a business online before making the first visit there.
In addition, one out of every three smartphone searches for local products and services is conducted just before the consumer arrives at the brick and mortar store.
Also read: Comprehensive guide on Local SEO and how it works.

Which types of businesses can benefit from local SEO during COVID-19?

Most small to mid-size businesses can benefit from local SEO during COVID-19, no matter what their industry or niche is—and no matter how that industry has been affected by the pandemic. To determine whether your business should prioritize local SEO initiatives, ask yourself these questions:
  • Does my business have a physical location where customers may purchase products?
  • Does my company see clients at a brick and mortar location?
  • Does my business provide services within a specific geographical area?
If the answer to any of those questions is “Yes,” then you can most definitely increase your customer base and boost revenue by focusing your marketing efforts on local SEO. Nearly any business can benefit from this strategy, from plumbers and dentists to clothing stores and sports equipment retailers. The only type of business that wouldn’t benefit from local SEO is a global e-commerce website with no physical presence, such as Amazon.

Okay, but what about the pandemic? Is it still wise to invest in local SEO?

There is no question that the COVID-19 pandemic has had far-reaching effects on all areas of life, including how people do business and what they are spending their money on. Understandably, many business owners have reacted by cutting their marketing budgets. However, this is the opposite of what you should be doing to ensure your company survives these tumultuous times. Research stemming back to the Great Depression reveals that the companies that invest more in marketing during economic downturns are the ones that thrive and stand the test of time. As an example, just take a look at your breakfast cereal. During the Great Depression, Post slashed its marketing budget, whereas Kellogg boosted theirs and introduced new products (namely, Rice Krispies). As a result, Kellogg enjoyed a major rise in profits during a time when making a profit seemed nearly impossible. Nearly one hundred years later, Kellogg is still the dominant brand in breakfast foods. It’s crucial to focus on maintaining your competitive edge during times of economic uncertainty, and local SEO can help you accomplish exactly that. People are spending more time at home these days, and they often occupy themselves by conducting online searches. Many of those online searches are for local services and products—and your brand could be front and center.

How can I adapt my local SEO strategies during the pandemic?

In normal times, a cornerstone of local SEO is optimizing your website’s onsite and blog content with geographical key phrases. As an example, let’s say you own a pizzeria in downtown Tucson. Some key phrases to work in might include “pizza in Tucson” and “Italian restaurants near Tucson.” You might also optimize for “take-out food near Tucson.” During the coronavirus pandemic, people are slightly adjusting the way they shop for local goods and services. Specifically, they are primarily concerned about how they will obtain those products. Is curbside pickup available? What about contact-free delivery? It can be helpful to update your SEO strategies to include these new search terms. For example, you might optimize for “contact-free pizza delivery near Tucson” or “pizza curbside pickup in Tucson.”

What are some other ways to attract local traffic despite the pandemic?

It’s never been more important to focus on using a full arsenal of local SEO tactics to draw in as much traffic as possible to keep your business thriving. One primary characteristic of the pandemic is how quickly things change daily. It’s important to keep your customers updated about how these changes affect your business. There are a few ways you can accomplish this:
  • Google My Business (GMB): GMB is one of the most important tools for a brand’s local SEO. Since the majority of consumers use Google to find products and services, brands that have an active GMB profile will have greater visibility. Keep your GMB profile updated with new hours and COVID-related requirements. You can also use GMB to advertise current promotions. Also, check out 7 GMB Secrets to boost your business.
  • Social media marketing: New and current customers will rely on your social media profiles to stay informed about what’s going on with your business during the pandemic. Keep your social media platforms up to date and filled with reassuring posts about how you’re helping your customers get through these difficult times. Read the benefits of Social Media Marketing during the COVID 19 Pandemic.
  • Brand website: Your business website is likely to get a lot of traffic as customers try to figure out if your store is open or if your services are available. Make it easy for your customers to get the info they need by prominently posting a COVID-19 Updates link on the main page. Be sure to change the information on this page as needed.
GSM Marketing Agency is your source for results-oriented local SEO solutions for SMBs in all types of industries. Our team of SEO veterans understands the nuances of local SEO and how to make a business stand out from its competitors. And as the best local SEO company in Tucson, we go the extra mile for each of our clients. It’s our business to make your business look good, so get in touch today to request a complimentary website and web presence analysis.