The internet has since made it easier for businesses to prosper—despite the size, market, location, product or service.
The pandemic has forced even offline retailers to accelerate on their digital push by using online shopping carts to drive revenue. This proves that the internet is a great resource for businesses. It provides a vast market for them to grow and widen their consumer base.
Local search engine optimization assists local businesses to rank higher in their neighbourhood to acquire customers to their full capacity.
In this article, we’ll be discussing why Local SEO is important for local retailers in Malaysia, especially small and medium enterprises (SEMs).
We’ll delve into the potential it has and how it can contribute to SEMs’ annual turnovers.
What Exactly is Local Search Engine Optimization in Malaysia?
Local SEO refers to the process of optimising a business for a specific locality. It provides an opportunity for them to rank higher in local search results and drive more foot traffic.
This very process includes improving the search engine visibility of your business by using local keywords that are intuitively searched by the local audience such as “eyebrow embroidery salon in Subang”.
To exemplify, a person wishes to get her eyebrows done by a professional technician.
She performed an online search based on her geographical location for an eyebrow embroidery salon on the Google search engine platform and opted for the one ranked at the top of the search results based on its ranking and rating.
Now, imagine your business is on this list.
There are 29.49 million internet users in Malaysia as of 2022.
With that being said, the search engine landscape has been dominated by Google which makes up to 97.15% of those Malaysian users.
According to this statistic alone, it would be smart that we focus primarily, if not, solely on the Google Search Engine in Malaysia.
To make the number seem more realistic, what search engine are yo currently using to read this article?
Why Target Local Malaysian Audience?
Local SEO works rather differently than traditional SEO.
The importance of Local SEO in Malaysia has come to prominence in recent years: local businesses are noticing huge increases in food traffic and revenue courtesy of their presence of Google Maps, Yelp, and other location-based search engines.
The optimisation functions on various ranking factors.
Performing keyword research correctly will rank your business higher for relevant search terms, while the clarity of your business and its products or services will prompt local customers to purchase from your website.
Alongside a higher rank and a better conversion rate, your profits are sure to ascend.
Subsequently, local retailers should consider investing their capital for local search appearances.
It will garner many potential customers through virtual mediums, making it easier to sustain as a business firm.
The Malaysian SEO Landscape In a Bird’s Eye View
Organic SEO in Malaysia is ever-changing.
The majority of internet users hardly access the second page of Google nor go for low-tier rankings, and do you?
With that, if your business doesn’t rank at the top of search results, chances are you’ll miss out on important traffic.
Google changes its algorithm more than 500 or more times annually, which means that SEO rankings are bound to shift.
This is because no one can tell for sure what the Google change indicates, and what they will do next.
Thus, it’s essential to conduct SEO audit periodically in order to maintain your ranking in Google.
The Difference Between Local SEO and Organic Search engine Optimization
What Can Local Businesses Gain From Local SEO?
Local search engines have lived up to its name for being one of the best ways to boost local businesses, especially because they focus on a small, niche geographic area
It’s wise to harness their advantages if you’re looking for a boost, this is if you know how to optimise your business properly. Though it can be quite a challenge for small business owners, it’s worth the effort!
Find 6 opportunities local Malaysian businesses can benefit from if they venture into the local SEO path.
1. Increased Visitors and Sales
Online marketing strategies can bring a huge difference to your business. When applied correctly, you can see an increase in sales and an improvement in your brand recognition on the internet. Amongst the most effective online marketing strategies is SEO. With organic SEO, you can drive traffic, increase your site’s rank, and attract more leads.
2. Improved Business Credibility
SEO is one way to improve your local search rankings, along with your site’s reputation. A properly optimised website will bring customers to your business easily. Simultaneously, you can encourage positive customer reviews on your business via review sites such as Yelp and Google My Business to enhance your credibility.
3. Ideal Branding and Online Visibility
By utilising a series of SEO strategies and techniques, you get to reduce the costs of advertising, and increase your revenue by penetrating new markets. A well-optimised site with decent search engine standards will provide customers with a better surfing experience—one that’s more user-friendly, easily navigated, and accessible.
4. Higher Conversion Rate
Effective local SEO requires a comprehensive understanding of the basics of local search, this includes the architecture of the search engines and the right keywords that are relevant to your business. An experienced agency with outsource SEO Malaysia can easily help you generate sales by identifying local search terms boasting high search volume and moderate search difficulty. Chances are your search engine ranking will immediately result in customer conversion.
5. Better Reach and Penetration
Malaysians are generally more active on their mobile devices, making them an engaging medium to promote your business identity on. They also make the most convenient way for consumers to learn about your brand—especially in terms of local businesses, which benefits from the country’s high degree of internet penetration to connect with wider audience.
6. Greater Transparency
Being transparent with your customers and straightforward about what you do and don’t know is the best way to gain their trust. Your customers should feel that they can ask your questions and receive answers that are complete, transparent, and easy-to-understand. Transparency brings about engagement, hence a relationship that fosters brand loyalty.
How to Improve Your Local SEO Effort?
In order to find out more about your customers—their likes and dislikes—search engines have become an essential part of your business whether you’re operating fully online or in a brick and mortar store.
Take notes on the steps below and bring your local search effort to another level.
1. Conduct a Local SEO Audit
While there are various elements and features on your website, you should conduct an audit of all of them to ensure that each one is performing at its optimal level. A good audit will tell you what’s working and what isn’t.
When targeting a local audience, it’s important that you convey everything about your business—your unique selling point (USP), what products or services you offer, how to contact you, and other key details alike (name, address, phone number, etc). Otherwise, visitors will find it difficult to find the information they need.
2. Perform a Competitor Analysis
Understanding your rival is just as important as understanding your customers. If you are familiar with your competitors, you can gain a competitive advantage in the industry—and outgrow your competitors.
Better yet, by eyeing your competitors, you’ll be able to address your customers’ needs better.
This analysis allows you to not only stay ahead of the competition but also reduce effort and time in doing so.
At the end of the day, analysing enables you to take a quick look at what your counterparts are doing and reverse engineering it to identify their flaws so that you can do better than them.
3. Carry Out a Local Keyword Research
Keywords are undoubtedly important for organic SEO. When performing keyword research, be sure to look up phrases that are highly relevant to your local business.
For example, if you sell air dried dog treats in Klang Valley, it would be best to search for “air dried dog treats Klang Valley” rather than “air dried dog treats”.
Remember, identifying your customer and their intent is your main objective when it comes to local SEO optimisation.
When looking for keywords to aim for, it’s smart to consider your customers’ search. Delve deep into their demographics and look up for relevant keywords accordingly.
4. Create Quality Content
Through in-depth research, you’ll find out about the main queries of your target audience regarding your industry. Now, you may use this valuable piece of information to answer each of their questions with quality, precise content on your website’s landing pages or even blog posts.
When Google gives a search query, it’s anticipating an answer. To provide an answer, you need to construct your content in such a way that clarifies the queries and offers helpful information to your readers.
Utilising headers and hatching to bring light to important terms is one simple way to improve the readability of your site.
5. Work on Backlinks
Backlinks are a vote of confidence for search engines to count on your business.
Link building is when you reach out to other influencers in your niche and request that they link to your business from their website, social media pages, or any platforms alike.
Alternatively, you can run a paid advertising campaign to a specific geographic area, driving targeted traffic to your website.
This way, you can grab the attention of local search engines and rank for SEO keywords relevant to your business.
Local SEO Tools, Strategies & Content That Help Boost Organic Traffic
Prompting people to your online store might seem pretty far-fetched, but it isn’t impossible with the help of content production.
Create high-quality content on your website that is informative and will help your rank higher in search engine results pages, which translates to more potential customers.
Below are the types of content you can incorporate to your website to increase engagement and bring valuable information to your visitors.
1. Create Landing Pages
Landing pages are crucial for most, if not, all local businesses. These pages aren’t just about the content—they’re about showcasing your business’ value proposition, unique selling proposition, and the overall brand image.
Some elements you should be including into your landing page are:
- How long has the business been in existence?
- Your involvement in and the contribution to the local community
- How long have your clients been connecting with you?
- Customer review for your products or services
- What marketing strategies are you using?
- Demand for your products or services
To fulfil a region-specific landing page, attach reviews, testimonial or portfolio as social proofs of your services, making visitors convert into your loyal customers.
2. Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
The FAQs are not just another chunk of content you display on your website—they’re a game-changer. By including FAQs on your site, you’re emphasising the fact that people seek quick answers.
Asking simple questions within your content can help you construct relevant content which your target audience seeks enlightenment on.
Furthermore, providing simple answers to questions within your content can help you rank higher in search engines, making online consumers more likely to connect with you.
3. Internal Linking
Links within your own website can drive traffic to other articles on your site. With the right links, you can subsequently improve your SEO.
The use of internal links makes an integral part of optimising a website or blog for search engines. By increasing the number of links between pages on your website, you can help search engines determine the value of these pages.
Better yet, it’ll improve your navigation flow through your site by making it easier for readers to locate related content.
4. Use of Social Networking Platforms
Local small businesses should always make use of location-specific media platforms to produce content for its local site. Whether it’s Twitter, Instagram, TikTok, Facebook, Google My Business, or other platforms, each channel offers a unique experience to engage with customers.
Brands can benefit largely from social media marketing—even if they aren’t exploited extensively—as they contribute to the impression of a well-rounded company.
Using location tags while uploading pictures of stores and products can also help local businesses reach customers who are in the neighbourhood.
5. Consider Outsourcing Your Local SEO to an Expert
Outsourcing and seeking help from a professional will be a smarter choice if you have little to no time to spare or minimal experience.
Allocate your time and effort for core business tasks rather than gaming the SEO. We suggest you leave the endeavour to a reputable local SEO company in Malaysia.
Seize These Best Practices for Local SEO Optimisation!
Local SEO optimisation encompasses the practice of optimising Google and other search engines so that they recognise a business’ location in its online searches.
Below we will be sharing some of the easiest ways on how you can elevate your SEO efforts.
1. Optimise Your Metadata
Albeit what experts have pointed out, page titles and meta descriptions still have their roles to play in SEO optimisation. If you want your site to perform well in Google results and generate more traffic, it’s important to have an excellent metadata—we find it a deciding factor that adds to your SEO optimisation effort.
If you’re optimising for a local area, you must incorporate the city or locality name to your titles.
The meta description of your business should cover relevant features of your business and locality. It’ll help you gain the attention and relevancy of your visitors. In fact, it’s one of the first things that users see when they search for your business. Include relevant, trending tags that serve as an attention hook and increase your click-through rate (CTR).
2. Have a Clear Navigation & Site Structure
The design of your homepage is the first interaction your brand will have with your customers.
A homepage overwhelmed with texts, images and social media links is not only hard to navigate, but it can also make you seem like a tryhard.
Clear navigation will enhance your site’s usability and enable users to locate needed information easily. This act alone will reduce the bounce rate and prolong the time of the users staying at your website.
3. Implement a Schema Markup
Also known as structured data markup, schema markup is one way of telling search engines about the content on your website.
It’s one way of providing search engines with information about your content so they can decide whether to present them to their users.
By harnessing schema markup in your content, you’re making your content make sense to search engines who may in return, provide you with better rankings. Despite the variety of plugins, we prefer the conventional way of implementing them manually.
Some of the tools you may use are from Merkle, Schema.org, or Google itself.
Once you have done implementing, be sure to test and check to identify errors if there’s any.
Moving Forward—What Does Local SEO Services Mean for a Local Business in Malaysia?
After the pandemic, the demand for online services has skyrocketed. With that, the internet has now become a hub of multiple goods and services. Optimising your site will result in a higher ranking in search engines and ultimately, higher conversion rates.
In this time and age where digital reigns supreme, if you face challenges knowing where to start with Local SEO Marketing, come and have a chat with us. In fact, it’s never too late for SEO. Marketing Signal Lab aspires to be your guide and provide you with a bespoke local seo strategy and other digital marketing services for the future sustainability of your business.