There’s nothing quite like seeing a word-of-mouth story blossom for your business.

It is always satisfying when someone buys one of your products or uses your services, has a good experience, then tells a few of their friends. Not only does this validate the effort you have put into the business, but that is a golden referral for you.

With the advent of social media, there is a combination of SEO searchability, public reviews, and word of mouth. Hitting the right notes on all these together can be incredibly powerful, though termed by some in the industry as “lightning in a bottle” since it is also very hard to catch.

But what if there were a way to combine the benefits of word of mouth with the over 100 billion searches that go on Google each month?  Local SEO may be the answer.

Local SEO narrows the focus of people’s search to a specific area or need, which not only improves your ranking in that niche search, but then allows your prospective clients to find the opinions of your happy former ones.

For example, rather than focusing on the keyword “best Indian restaurants” you may look for “best Indian restaurants in East Richmond.” The benefits here are not only being able to align with the searcher intent that your audience may have, but also being able to rank for more specific keywords.

Getting traction with a local audience is one of the major reasons why small business owners favor word of mouth, but it’s very difficult to exactly track the impact that word of mouth has on your sales.

Using local SEO combines the strength of word of mouth while allowing you to track some of its impact. This is especially the case when you realise it’s important to know not only why a customer makes a certain move, but how they did it as well. Local SEO has a variety of different tools that can fulfill this function.

Word of mouth still holds its place, even in the digital world, and even if reviews are sometimes not so favourable, people are more likely to value the input of people inside their personal circle as opposed to your average online reviewer or stranger. Using local SEO to emulate word of mouth provides the best of both – the power of personal referral, and a consistent method of drawing people in.

In order to successfully switch from broad rankings to instead target local SEO, it’s important to make sure that you are starting off on the right track. This is what makes a full website audit essential. From your keywords to your optimization strategy, there may be a lot of ranking support that would be well worth your while to profit from.