Singapore has been positioning itself as a leading business and financial hub in Southeast Asia for years. With the country’s strategic governance and fast-paced economic growth, lagging behind in marketing techniques means losing business opportunities for any entrepreneur.
Some small business owners in Singapore may be wondering: “Why isn’t my new website getting any visitors?” While the reason for that dry spell in website traffic could lie in a number of technical factors, having poor local SEO practices is bound to be on the list of things they’d need to fix to improve their visibility and the consequent inflow of new clients and sales generation.
But what is local SEO?
Search Engine Optimization or SEO is the process of improving a website, and a site’s online content, to rank better in search engines. Local Search Engine Optimization refers to the work done to help websites rank on local searches. The ultimate goal for both is to make your landing pages (and by extension, your business) easier for potential customers to find online.
Websites are indexed and appear on Search Engine Results Pages or SERPs in order of relevance based on how high they ranked in that search engine’s search algorithm. And, while it’s old news that general SEO techniques can boost your online presence, the effects of geo-targeting or location-based SEO is less common knowledge.
Why does location-based SEO Matter?
Let’s say someone who lives in Singapore wants to hire a food catering service for a party they want to throw. So they pull out their phone and type “food catering services” into Google’s search engine to get results similar to the example below.
Society has gone mobile. With access to information right at their fingertips, tech-savvy users could just search for what they need online on their laptops and phones. What some business owners don’t realize is that most of these searches are bound to be location-based.
Recent updates to search algorithms and innovations like Google’s local 3-pack system rewards location-targeted content. Readers using Google’s search engine on their mobile devices are thus likely to get results based on their location data.
While the exact factors that determine these rankings are a closely guarded secret by search engine developers, things like your business address, website domain and keywords in your web content have been proven to affect local SEO.
The results returned by a generic keyword search query are different on global SERPs and local SERPs. For any brick-and-mortar store or homegrown business, this means focusing your marketing to account for your target location can significantly improve your website’s search rankings and your local sales revenue.
Benefits of location-based SEO
1. Beat the competition- For small business owners, better local SEO means better placements for your website on local SERPs. That means better visibility for your business and the services compared to others in your neighbourhood. Remember that example we gave earlier?
The average online reader won’t go beyond the first 3-5 pages of listings. They probably wouldn’t even get to the bottom of the first page if they find what they want in the first few results. Your food stall or catering service is just one of many in Singapore. And there are a lot more O’s in Gooooogle.
2. Capture the local market- Just getting your landing pages in front of as many eyes as possible isn’t always as efficient as specifically targeting your ideal market segment. By using local SEO techniques to broadcast your business to the right people (in this case, to a Singaporean audience) you are more likely to attract potential customers in your area.
3. Build a reputation- Aside from boosting your online presence and gaining new business leads, effective local SEO can also influence the buying behaviour of local consumers. It’s simple marketing; the more people who know about and trust your business, the more potential customers you have.
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