The whole concept behind SEO (search engine optimization) comes down to a few main factors: creating links, increasing keyword rankings, and providing search engines (mostly just Google) with information and content on webpages that will convince the search engine that your business does actually exist.

The confusing part about keyword rankings, in particular, is that they actually depend quite a bit on local search optimization. Local searches allow businesses to appear organically on the first page of a search results list — which is incredibly beneficial, considering that up to 80% of all internet users completely ignore paid ads, about 75% of internet users never click past the first page of results, and local search results pages get about 645 million individual views in one week in the U.S. alone.

Essentially, the concept of local search optimization boils down to organizing and providing relevant information so that Google recognizes the importance of your business. Actually getting to that point is a little tricky, though, so here’s what you need to understand before you get started:

  • The definition of local SEO is probably obvious: it’s a way to make sure that your business appears in search results lists when people near your business search for relevant keywords.
  • The main benefits of SEO focused on local results is that your business will pop up before other organic search results — but not because you’ve paid for the spot — and users can access your basic info (address, phone number, location on a map, etc.) without even clicking through your website.
  • But to get your business listed in one of those top local spots, you still have to pay attention to your website. There are countless factors that influence the ranking of a business in a local SEO list — if it shows up at all — but the best local SEO strategies focus on creating an easy-to-read website (so the search engine can pick up that basic information), and also on updating your website (often through blog posts and customer reviews) to show that you’re still in operation and still valid.

Local search optimization is something that may take a while to produce results, but it’s definitely worth the time and patience. The effectiveness of local SEO is pretty straightforward, and it’s easy to see how a good ranking in this list would increase sales and visibility. Fortunately, many SEO consultants also function as local SEO companies, and the experts here can take care of all the busy work that’s required with local search optimization!