What Are the Pros & Cons of Local SEO?

Search engines are witnessing an exponential growth of local-intent searches every year. Consumers readily switch to Google to research a local business or find its location.
And so, local SEO is most likely to offer you promising results in the long run. However, it requests consistent, long-term efforts too! And, you cannot ignore the daunting competition on the first page of Google.
So, let's find out what are the pros & cons of local SEO.

The Pros of Local SEO

1. Local SEO Sources In-store Customers

If you are leading a local business, local SEO becomes a promising marketing strategy for you.
Today, customers suffice their business research online. And as per a survey, 80% of US consumers perform research online even before an offline purchase.
Moreover, over 34% of the US consumers perform "near me" or local business research every day.
That said, local business is a significant source of in-store traffic for brick & mortar shops/stores. And you can leverage it by ranking for relevant local intent search queries on Google.
You must optimize for the local intent keywords.

  • Do service-specific keyword research using Google Keyword Planner.
  • Take keyword inspiration directly from your local competitors using Ahrefs and SEMRush.
  • Create location-specific keyword combinations (Keyword + [location] Eg. "Best Italian Restaurant in Texas")
  • Map keywords in the Title tag, Meta Description, subheadings, and body content

You can also use Google’s autofill feature in its search tool to find what users commonly search for locally:

2. Local SEO Draws Qualified Leads & Site Traffic

Local intent searches are flourishing more than ever. Google accounts as the first node of the online experience for 68% of consumers. And it powers over 97 billion local intent searches every month.
A survey reveals that 90% of consumers have reported using Google to search a local business.
So, local SEO can help you rank for these searches and attract significant traffic and inquiries.
Start with updating and capitalizing on your Google My Business profile

  • Update a consistent name, address, and phone number, across your site, GMB, and other listings
  • Highlight your main services and also the specialty or sub-services in GMB
  • Use the 750 character description field to highlight your business's services, USPs, experience, and team strength.
  • Mark your business location and use 'Service area business' if you serve on the customer's location.
  • Add your business hours and your service hours (in the case of local services)
  • Earn abounding Google reviews and encourage customers to add reviews on GMB
  • Use the GMB page as your digital brochure and add images of your business, products, staff, etc.

Here’s an example of a business that has a well-optimized Google My Business profile:

3. Local SEO Results Usually Display High CTR

Let's not forget that consumers have become tech-savvy and are familiar with search engine formats.
They understand the difference between paid and organic results. And they trust Google for sorting the organic rankings based on relevancy and value.
Thus, 70 to 80% of consumers are highly likely to walk past the paid results to check the organic results.
So, you must leverage local SEO to rank for the Local 3-Pack results on Google.
The Local 3-Pack results show up for about 93% of local-intent searches. Moreover, these results score 100% higher CTR than other results on the page.
Here is how the local 3-pack results look:
It shows the site link, contact info, location, ratings, and service hours. This is a valuable amount of information and draws you qualified inquiries.
Your local SEO efforts, GMB reviews, and GMB profile optimization help you rank for the local 3-pack results.

4. Local SEO Can Contribute to a Significant Part of Your Revenue

Google witnesses over 46% local intent search among the total search queries. And there was a 200% increase in the "near me" and "where to buy" searches between 2017 and 2019.
This data states that local SEO presence sources relevant inquiries for local businesses.
Businesses reported a 61% increase in call inquiries from GMB in 2020 (Jan to July).
So, you must keep your GMB listing updated at all times. This will make your business more visible for location-based searches. And the customers are more likely to connect with you directly through the GMB listing.
Google considers your GMB page information and reviews crucial when defining local search rankings.
Moreover, leads earned from SEO display an average conversion rate of 14.6%. This is around eight times higher than the conversion rate of outbound leads (1.7%).
Here’s what the Google My Business console looks like:

5. Local SEO Helps Establish Eminent Social Proof

Today, both online and offline buyers need validation for their purchases. And they trust social proof.
On average, consumers read a minimum of 10 reviews for making a purchase decision. And so, you need local SEO to establish eminent social proof for your offerings and brand.
What's more interesting is that Google considers social proof while deciding local rankings.
And businesses ranking in the top positions on Google display solid social proof. Consumers also showcase a higher trust in businesses ranking in the top ranks in SERPs.
That is yet another reason to invest in local SEO. Some tips to improve social proof through local SEO include:

  • Implement a feedback generation process to attract reviews on your GMB page.
  • Attract text and video testimonials on your product/service pages
  • List your business and encourage positive ratings on Yelp, Foursquare, Expertise, and other local listing sites.

You can use tools like SurveyMonkey and CustomerSure to make feedback generation easier.
Next, leverage Google Alerts to receive emails whenever someone mentions your brand or product online. You can check the social sentiment around the mention and also gain backlinks. Mention is another tool to scrutinize these mentions.
Here’s an example of text testimonials on a software development services page:

6. Local SEO Allows You to Cater to the Mobile Users

If you leverage SEO, you might be aware of the increasing mobile internet penetration. Today, mobile platform powers over 54.8% of the total online traffic.
Moreover, this percentage becomes more significant for the local-intent searches. A survey in 2019 reported mobile devices to source 64% of the total searches for HVAC businesses.
So, an important SEO practice is optimizing mobile search traffic.
First, you need to make your site compatible with mobile-first indexing as Google values the same.
You can check your site's mobile-friendliness by leveraging Google's Mobile-friendly Test Tool.
The tool will highlight the relevant errors that your web developer can fix for you.
Moreover, you must also optimize your site's content structure for mobile users.
Some relevant stats include: 76% of consumers leveraging a mobile device to search a local business visit it within 24 hours. And, 28% of these local-intent searches convert into a purchase.
Here’s an example of a website that passed the mobile-friendly test by Google:

7. Local SEO Grows Your Brand Exposure and Online Presence

Your local SEO efforts help you expand your brand's visibility across the web. Several relevant local SEO efforts include:

  • Creating and updating your business's location-specific presence through the GMB page
  • Optimizing visibility to appear in the Local 3-Pack results
  • Listing across several local business directories, classified submissions, and niche listing sites
  • Building a prominent social presence and encouraging engagement
  • Attracting brand mentions through PR collaborations and influencer marketing
  • Building backlinks by guest posting, blogger outreach, and social media sharing

These efforts source a high brand awareness, organic & referral traffic, and social signals. Thus, you can expect more inquiries, leads, and customers for your local business.
Listing your business on Yelp strengthens local SEO:

8. Search Engines Do Not Charge You Anything for Local SEO

Unlike paid advertising, you do not pay Google a single penny for your organic rankings. Instead, you invest efforts in SEO best practices to earn top rankings in the search.
However, you might need to pay the SEO expert to help you lead through the daunting competition.
Meanwhile, PPC can be expensive for highly competitive markets and keywords.
And organic rankings are not volatile. If you achieve top ranks, these positions are most likely to stay longer. And you can make ongoing efforts to adhere harder to these ranks.
So, local SEO can offer you consistent traffic and leads for a longer time at a lower investment.
Some on-page SEO practices you must leverage:

  • Craft a contextual and keyword-specific page URL. E.g., "" indicates the page's context.
  • Create a crisp and engaging Meta Title and enrich it with the page's focus keyword
  • Create an informative Meta Description to encourage high CTR
  • Add snackable subheadings and highly readable content that displays trust and authority.
  • Optimize image size and add contextual Alt Texts
  • Add Schema Markups and allow Google to use your content for quick queries.

You can generate schema markups here:

9. Local SEO Results are Evident and Measurable

SEO offers you more insightful data to measure your efforts and results than offline channels.
Google allows you to leverage Google Analytics and Google Search Console free of cost. And there are valuable paid tools like Ahrefs, SEMRush, Moz, etc., to allow deeper analytics.
You can track your several local SEO metrics like:

  • The ranking keywords and the webpages ranking on top positions
  • The pages drawing the highest traffic to your site
  • Total site traffic and date-wise traffic
  • User metrics like the bounce rate on several pages
  • Average session time on pages and pages per session
  • Your overall link profile, the referring domains, and your outbound links
  • Any manual or automatic penalty from Google
  • Total referral traffic from your listings and off-page efforts

Using these metrics, you can shape your SEO efforts.
Moreover, you can check the same metrics for your competitors using paid SEO tools. This will help you gain some crucial insights from your local competitors. And you wouldn't have to plant a new tree. Instead, you can directly pluck the fruits.
Some valuable data includes competitor keywords, referring domains, content, etc.
Here’s a screenshot of Google Analytics displaying various insights of a website:

The Cons of Local SEO

1. Local SEO Doesn't Bring You Instant Results

Local SEO isn't a shortcut to marketing success. Instead, it is the long but promising route.
And you would not want to opt for local SEO if you want instant traffic and leads. Moreover, you might witness hundreds of businesses fighting for the same location-specific keywords.
And so, ranking for local-intent searches may take several weeks to several months. The time depends upon your site authority, visibility, competition, and SEO practices.
Meanwhile, you can expect long-term results and significant growth in leads with local SEO.
The best possible alternative to local SEO is PPC. But, it is expensive, and the rankings are volatile.
Instead, you can use some local SEO best practices to accelerate the results:

  • Make your GMB profile comprehensive and up-to-date
  • Encourage abounding positive reviews on your GMB page, listings, and website
  • Push up on your link building efforts to gain high authority backlinks
  • Nail the site optimization and technical SEO
  • Boost local media presence, brand mentions, and social engagement

Featuring your business on comprehensive articles like this provides high-quality backlinks to your website:

2. It is an Ongoing Optimization Process

Though SEO results are more sustainable, they cannot adhere to the top positions forever. Thousands of businesses and millions of pages are fighting for the top spots on Google.
And wouldn't want to give your competitors a chance to dethrone you from your ranks. So, it is better to stay committed to your SEO regime.
Moreover, most searchers do not scroll past the top 7 results for local-intent searches. And so, it is crucial to hold the top rankings.
Some ongoing SEO efforts you must make to hold onto your rankings:

  • Regularly build relevant and authoritative links to your top-ranking pages
  • Keep updating your site with highly valuable content
  • Regularly attract positive reviews for your business on GMB, your site, and other listings
  • Keep measuring your SEO metrics, bounce rate, and site speed. Ensure that these parameters are in their ideal state.

You must also leverage Mention or Google Alerts to check your brand mentions. This allows you to check any negative reviews or negative SEO threats. Further, it unveils any easy backlink opportunities.
Here’s a screenshot of how Google Alerts lets you monitor mentions about your brand online:

Final Words

Local SEO procures you an extensive list of benefits for your local business. You can expect significant growth in online visibility, site traffic, store visits, and conversions.
Here is how you can optimize for stellar local SEO results:

  • Claim your GMB profile and add your site link, services, location, business hours, description, and images.
  • Employ a feedback generation strategy. And encourage customers to rate your services/products on your GMB, site, and listings.
  • Create and map location-specific and brand/product-specific keywords in your content.
  • Optimize Title Tag, Meta Tags, content & subheadings, images, etc., on your site.
  • Submit updated sitemap and add schema markups for better SEO
  • Build backlinks through blogger outreach, guest posting, and social sharing
  • Improve brand awareness through local PR outreach and influencer marketing
  • Measure your rankings, organic & referral traffic, link profile, bounce rate, etc.
  • Optimize your local SEO strategy per your SEO metrics

Rank Your Website

Joseph Schneider

He has spent more than 12 Years strategizing and executing SEO campaigns. He is interested in writing Digital-marketing, PPC, and Social Media Marketing related topics.


Joseph Schneider

He has spent more than 12 Years strategizing and executing SEO campaigns. He is interested in writing Digital-marketing, PPC, and Social Media Marketing related topics.