The internet has made it easier for businesses to thrive — no matter the size, market, location, or product.
During a pandemic, offline retailers can increase online revenue by using online shopping carts to move inventory. The internet is a great resource for businesses. It provides a vast market where they can grow and increase their consumer base.
Local SEO helps the local businesses to rank higher in their neighborhood to acquire customers to their full capacity.
Here, we’ll be discussing why Local SEO is so important for local retailers in Malaysia, especially for small and medium businesses.
We’ll look at the opportunities it presents and how it can help local small businesses increase their annual turnovers.
What is local SEO?
Local SEO refers to the process of optimizing a business for a specific locality. It provides an opportunity to rank in local search results and drive more foot traffic.
The process of optimization includes making your business visible online by using local keywords that are naturally searched by the local audience, like “pizza in Mont Kiara”.
For example, a person wants to visit a local restaurant to dine in.
He performed an online search based on his geographical location for a restaurant on the google search engine platform and picked the one ranked at the top of the search list based on its ranking and rating.
Now, think for a second, would you want your restaurant business to be on the list?
There are about 27 million internet users in Malaysia as of January 2021.
However, the search engine landscape had been dominated by Google which accumulates around 98% of those Malaysian users.
For this statistic alone, it would be wise that we focus solely on the Google Search Engine in Malaysia.
To prove the number, what search engine are you using to view this article at this very moment?
Why Target The Local Malaysian Audience?
Local SEO works on a different concept than traditional SEO.
The importance of local SEO has risen to prominence in recent years: local businesses are seeing huge increases in foot traffic and revenue due to their presence on Google Maps, Yelp, and other location-based search engines.
The optimization works on various factors.
Appropriate keyword research will help you rank higher for relevant search terms, while clarity about your business and its services will encourage customers to purchase from your website.
With a higher rank and a better conversion rate, your profits are sure to soar.
Hence, the local business owners should consider investing their capital for local search appearances.
It will attract lots of potential customers through the virtual medium, making it easier to sustain as a business firm.
A Brief Look-Through of Malaysian SEO Landscape
Search engine optimization in Malaysia has changed rapidly over the years.
According to recent studies, more than 84% of Malaysian users do not access the second page of Google, and 36% of them go for top-tier rankings.
As a result, if your business doesn’t rank at the top of search results, you’ll miss out on important traffic.
Google changes its algorithm more than 500 or more times a year, which means that SEO rankings usually shift.
This is because no one can be sure what the Google change means, and what they will do next.
Therefore, it is necessary to revise SEO tactics periodically in order to maintain your ranking in Google.
A solid fundamental on the basic of SEO will surely helps out a lot if you are just starting out.
What Are The Opportunities for Local Businesses to Focus on Local SEO?
Local search engines have proven to be one of the best ways to boost local businesses, especially because they focus on a small geographic area.
It’s best to take advantage of local search engines if you want to gain a boost, as long as you can optimize your business properly. The local SEO has proven to be one of the best techniques in boosting local businesses.
Local SEO can be quite a challenge for small business owners, but it’s worth the effort!
Google itself has been promoting and giving support to local small businesses with their workshop. Join in the free webinar and learn together.
Below are 6 opportunities that local Malaysian businesses should capture if they are venturing into the local SEO path.
- Increase Visitors and Sales
Online marketing strategies can make a huge difference in the success of your business. When used correctly, you can see improved sales and better brand recognition on the web. One of the most effective online marketing strategies is search engine optimization (SEO). With SEO, you can attract traffic, increase your site’s rank, and generate more leads.
- Improves Business Credibility
Search engine optimization is a great way to improve your local search rankings, as well as your site’s reputation. A well-optimized site will help customers reach your business more easily. At the same time, you can encourage positive customer feedback on your business through review sites like Yelp and Google My Business to boost your credibility.
- Better Branding and Visibility
By using a range of SEO strategies and techniques, you can help reduce the costs of your advertising, bring new customers in, and even increase revenue by tapping into new markets. An optimized site for search engine standards will give customers a better experience when they visit your website — one that is more user-friendly, accessible, and easy to navigate. Create awareness of your branding.
- Better Conversion Rate
Effective local SEO requires a keen understanding of the fundamentals of local search, including the architecture of local search engines and the importance of local SEO keywords that are relevant to your business. An experienced SEO professional can help you achieve better sales by identifying local search terms with high search volume and moderate search difficulty. The ranking on the search engine may result in customer conversion.
- Higher Reach and Penetration
Malaysians are more active on their mobile phones than on any other device. Mobile devices are an engaging way to promote your business identity. They’re also a great way for consumers to learn about your brand — especially your local business, which can take advantage of the country’s high levels of internet penetration to connect with a wide audience.
Being transparent with your customers and honest about what you do and do not know is one of the best ways to gain their trust. Your customers should feel that they can ask you questions and receive answers that are complete, transparent, and free of jargon. Transparency makes people feel like you’re human. In turn, this establishes a relationship that fosters brand loyalty.
How to Improve Your Local SEO Effort?
Search engines have become an essential part of business, whether you’re selling online or in a brick and mortar store.
Businesses need to know everything about their customers to recommend them products based on what they like by analyzing the traffic.
There are steps by which you can optimize your online business effectively.
And our local SEO checklist might be your first stepping stone to success. Below are some of the steps that you can take to elevate your local search effort.
- Audit Your Own Website
Finding the best way to optimize your website is easier than it sounds.
There are many different elements and features to your website, but you should perform an audit of all of them to make sure that each one is in its best shape.
It’s important to know what works and what doesn’t; a good audit can help you do just that.
When working with local businesses, it’s important that your customers know everything about your business — what makes you unique, what services you offer, how to contact you.
Every aspect of your business must be presented well on your website.
The name, address, phone number (NAP), nature of business, and other key details should be consistent and easy to be found — don’t confuse and make it difficult for the visitors to find the information they need.
- Spy on Your Competitor
Knowing your rival is as important as knowing your customers. If you are familiar with your competition, you can gain a competitive edge in the industry — and stay ahead of your competitors.
What’s more, by keeping a close eye on the details, you will be able to better address customer needs.
Competitor analysis allows you to not only stay ahead of the competition but also reduce your efforts and time in doing so.
After all, analyzing comes from the root word “to look at” — it takes a quick look at what your competitors are doing and reverse engineering it to find their flaws so that you can improve upon them.
Every man builds his world in his own image. It might be good to take a look at what’s working for others.
He has the power to choose, but no power to escape the necessity of choice – Ayn Rand
- Local Keyword Research
Keywords are important for search engine optimization. When you’re researching keywords, be sure to search for phrases that are relevant to your business.
For example, if you sell running shoes in Kuala Lumpur, it would be best to search for “running shoes KL” rather than “shoes”.
When it comes to local SEO optimization, the main objective is to identify your customer and their intent.
When looking for keywords to target, it’s a good idea to consider how your customers search. Look into the demographics of your customers and search for relevant keywords in your demographic.
- Content Creation
By thorough research, you might have found out about your target audience and the main queries they ask when looking for your industry. Now, you can use this information to answer each of these questions with precise content on your website’s landing page or even a blog post.
When Google gives a search query, it’s expecting an answer. To give that answer, you need to write your content in a way that answers questions and provides helpful information to your readers.
This is what we emphasis in our On-Page optimization guide.
Using headers and hatching to emphasize the importance of important words is a simple thing you can do to improve the readability of your site.
- Traffic Engagement
With search engines responsible for bringing in the majority of traffic to most websites, it’s important to make sure your site is optimized for search.
Search engine optimization (SEO) is the process of making sure your website gets ranked high enough in search results so that visitors will find and click on your site.
So what can you do to increase your SEO ranking?
The answer is content.
The internet has made it easier for companies to reach out to their target markets.
Today, a business can grow its customer base by investing in digital marketing, a cost-effective and measurable form of marketing that involves building websites, creating content, and connecting with potential customers through social media platforms.
So, engage correctly and properly once you are receiving traffic. It’s the key and secret to having a sustainable ranking.
Backlinks are a vote of confidence for search engines to trust your business. They help drive traffic to your website if done correctly.
Link building is an important part of your local SEO strategy — you can reach out to other influencers in your niche and request that they link to your business from their website or social media pages.
You can also run a paid advertising campaign to a specific geographic location, driving targeted traffic to your website.
In this way, you can attract the attention of local search engines and rank for keywords relevant to your business.
Learn about off page optimization if you are interested to wonder more.
Quick Tips: Local citation is a great mention place about your website and businesses. Have your website listed on some of the top Malaysian directories.
Top Malaysia Directories
Strategies, Tools & Type of Content That Helps in Your Local SEO
Getting people to your online store might seem like a herculean task, but you can make it easier for customers to find you with content production.
Adding better, more informative content to your website will help you rank higher in search engine results, which means more potential customers.
If you’re looking to build a local business and improve SEO ranking, producing high-quality content is one of the most effective ways to do so.
We will show you the types of content you can create to have more engagement and bring valuable information to your visitors.
1. Create Landing Pages
Landing pages are crucial for many local businesses. These pages aren’t just about the content — they’re about showcasing the company’s value proposition, unique selling proposition (USP), and overall brand tone of voice.
Here are some of the elements that you should be including into your landing page:
- How long has the business served?
- Your involvement in the local community
- How long have your clients connected with you?
- Customer review for your products
- What marketing strategy do you use?
- Demand for your product services
For fulfilling a city-specific landing page, users review work as social proofs of your services, making people convert into loyal customers
The FAQs are not just another chunk of content on your website — they’re a game-changer. By including frequently asked questions on your site, you’re capitalizing on the fact that people need a quick answer.
Asking simple questions within your content can help you construct relevant content.
As well, providing simple answers to questions within your content can help you rank higher in search engines. Online consumers will connect with you more if you provide helpful answers to their questions
3. Internal Linking
Links within your own website can help drive traffic to other articles on your site — and, with the right links; you can even improve your SEO.
Successful internal linking is an integral part of optimizing a website or blog for search engines. By increasing the number of links between pages on a website, you can help search engines determine the value of each page of your site.
It will also improve navigation flow through your site by making it easier for readers to find related content.
4. Utilize Social Network Platform
A small business should always use location-specific media platform to create content for its local site.
A social network is an effective tool that businesses should never ignore. Whether it’s Twitter, Facebook, Google My Business, Instagram, or another platform, each channel offers a different experience and chance to engage with customers.
Brands can benefit from having social media accounts for all of their platforms — even if they aren’t used extensively — as they give the impression of a well-rounded company.
Using location tags while uploading pictures of stores and products can help businesses reach customers who are near them.
5. Hire Local SEO Management Service
Outsourcing and seeking the help of a professional will be a wiser choice if you had no spare time to manage them on your own.
Dedicate your time and effort in focusing on your core business rather than gaming the SEO and leave the rest to a reputation or local SEO management company.
We’ve listed some reliable and capable local marketing companies for your reference:
- Moz Local
While the above mostly serving their US client, JustRank will be your perfect partner in Malaysia where we had helped a number of small businesses thriving in the Malaysian digital landscape organically.
Best Practices for Local SEO Optimization
Local SEO optimization involves the practice of optimizing Google and other search engines so that they recognize a business’ location in its online searches.
Below, we will be sharing some of the easy wins on how you can optimize your website or content for local SEO searches.
- Optimize Your Meta Data
As experts are quick to point out, page titles and meta descriptions aren’t as important as they used to be for SEO optimization.
But that doesn’t mean they’re not important at all! If you want your site to perform well in Google results and drive more traffic, it’s crucial to have good metadata. It is still relevant to believe that meta-data is still a deciding factor that adds to your SEO optimization.
If you are optimizing for a local area, you should consider adding the city or locality name to your titles.
The meta description of your business should include relevant features of your business and locality. It will help you to gain the attention and relevancy of your visitor.
Meta descriptions are one of the first things that users see when they search for your business. Include relevant, trending tags to grab user attention and increase your click-through rate (CTR). Also, it will help search engines to target certain customers.
Use our SERP snippet preview tool here to gain the upper hand advantage now.
- Have a Clear Navigation & Site Structure
The design of your homepage is the first interaction your customers will have with your brand.
A homepage cluttered with text, images, and social media links is not only hard to navigate, but it can also have a negative impact on how customers perceive your brand — especially if you want to differentiate yourself in a competitive market segment.
Clear navigation will improve your site usability and enable users to find needed information easily. This act alone will reduce the bounce rate and increase the time of the users staying at your website.
- Implement Schema Markup
Schema markup or structured data markup is a way of telling search engines about the content on your website.
It’s a way of giving search engines more information about your content so they can make better decisions about which websites to show to their users.
By using schema markup in your content, you’re helping search engines make sense of your content and provide you with better rankings. Though there are a lot of plugin that can help you with that, we prefer the old school way of implementing them manually .
Some of the tools that help to generate schema markup that we like to use are from Merkle, Schema.org, or Google.
Once you had done implementing, always test and check to see if there’s any error.
Conclusion – What the local SEO means for Malaysian Business
Post pandemic, there is a high demand for online services. There is a need to cope up with the unavailability of goods and services along with economic crises.
With social distancing and isolation, people lack a source of connection and networking without the virtual platform.
People are also choosing local merchandise to fulfill their needs and requirements and has led to growth in SME-related searches.
The internet has become a hub of multiple goods and services but cannot get utilized without people. That is why we emphasis on the optimization for the users or people and the ranking will follow.
To sum up, the topics discussed in this blog will help you to understand various aspects of local SEO optimization in Malaysia to its core. The benefits of each trend need consideration to cover up what you lack in your business.
Malaysia is growing dramatically in the online business and therefore needs better competitors to raise its market. The local market acts as a mediator and can boost the country’s economy by bounds to achieve what is required and what is not.
It’s never too late for your business to gain benefits from SEO.
Put Learning Into Practice
Grab our actionable local SEO checklist (with progress tracking) to gain an upper hand over your competitor now for FREE!