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Why Local SEO Is Important for Attracting Student Customers

by | February 8, 2023

Search engine optimization is key to helping local consumers find your business. Find out why local SEO is important in marketing your brand.
Illustration: Why local SEO is important.

Estimated reading time: 8 minutes

We’ve all been to a late practice session. Suddenly, everyone’s starving and their focus falters. Today’s students are likely to whip out their phones, searching for nearby food spots open late. Turns out there’s more to being local than just your location. Local search engine optimization, also known as local SEO, helps you reach nearby customers whether you have a brick-and-mortar location or are building an online storefront. But that’s not the only reason local SEO is important.

Good local SEO means you show up in local search results. It allows nearby customers to see your products or services when they use search terms like “restaurants near me” or search on Google Maps. It’s just like regular SEO, methods that improve your Google search rankings, but without the location details. Your company shows up at the moment someone needs your kind of service, an aspect of digital channels that traditional marketing just can’t deliver.

With 81% of consumers turning to Google search to find local businesses, you need to have strong local SEO game. Around 74% of college students spend their free time online and more than half use more than one device at a time. Local SEO helps drive that traffic toward your business. 

Why Is Local SEO Important for My Business?

Local search illustration

Organic search results are what rise to the top of Google searches when someone types in a certain combination of words. They’re solid gold for any business, especially companies that compete for local rankings. Some benefits of local SEO include:

  • Create targeted online traffic. Local SEO helps drive your community’s student consumers to your website and social media accounts. More organic traffic means better engagement and conversion rates. 
  • Better visibility online. Local SEO helps strengthen your brand’s profile online. Better visibility means more customers will find you in person and online. This is especially helpful for smaller businesses without national brand recognition. Think about how someone might learn about a local pizza spot versus Pizza Hut. 
  • The Mobile Advantage. People tend to search for local businesses on their cell phones. Your future customer is moments away from choosing a place to spend their money. You need to be high on those mobile search results.
  • More outreach from customers. Google Business Profile, previously known as Google My Business, is one of the main tools for local SEO. An established business profile means more students can find your business. This leads to more customer outreach and higher sales rates. 

Interested in developing a local SEO strategy? There are several digital tools to build an effective online presence. 

Let’s Get Ranking

Two dancers doing the tango

Before we explore successful SEO strategy, let’s talk rankings and why they’re important. Search engines like Google populate results with websites or video content that a secret algorithm ranks highest based on how relevant that content seems to be.

The higher your website or social media platforms are ranked, the more student consumers will see them. If a student searches for “tango classes near me,” they’re using local search results to find dance classes nearby. A local SEO strategy helps ensure your dance studio’s website always shows up first. 

Rankings are created in all types of ways. Content marketers use keyword research, internal and external linking, and trending audio. Rankings also include more technical factors like the quality of your website. Quite literally, does it load when people click on it?

An established Google Business Profile takes SEO a step further by providing consumers with the basic information they need about your business, such as location, business hours, or a phone number. 

Google Business Profile and Schema Markups 

A rich search result generated by schema tags.

It may sound like technobabble, but trust us. Google Business Profile and Schema markups are actually pretty simple ways to increase your online business presence. These tools go a step further than traditional SEO. They use specific data rather than content-driven results to boost SEO.


These hidden content tags use microdata to improve rankings and Google searchability. Despite the advantages of schema, only 10 million users have entered their info onto A Schema markup allows your website and content to appear in rich search results. Organic search results include your business name and the metadata underneath. 

For example, Two to Tango Dance and the tagline, “Do more than learn to dance, learn to move.” Rich search results go a step further to include business data like the studio’s location and hours, such as “Tuesday Tango Class from 6:30-7:30” or “Plan the perfect wedding reception dance at Two to Tango.” 

Google Business Profile (formerly Google My Business)

This free, online business listing is designed for businesses with in-person customer contact. Online businesses are encouraged to refer to Google Analytics and Google Ads for similar benefits. 

For brick-and-mortar businesses, setting up a Google Business Profile is free and significantly improves your online visibility on all Google platforms. Having an established Google Business Profile allows college consumers to find your business through a simple Google search. 

The profile includes information for Google Maps and shows customers how to get there, translating web traffic into actual foot traffic. It’s a key tool for creating local SEO that connects consumers directly to your business.

In a nutshell: Google Business Profile and Schema use the basic data about your business, like when it’s open, where it’s located, and what services it provides, so your websites and social media appear at the top of the list when a local consumer searches for your brand’s services online.

Five Components of a Local SEO Strategy

A young woman holds a chalkboard that reads "Buy Local!"

Building a target audience is one of the first steps to developing an effective digital marketing strategy. When it comes to local SEO, that step is easy. Your target audience is customers in the area. If you’re in a college setting, you’re trying to make it easy for nearby student consumers to search for your business online.

Using the dance studio example from above, let’s run through your five best moves:

1. Set up a Google Business Profile and a Schema markup

Since both are free, it’s a no-brainer. Make sure to include basic information about your business so it’s easy for college customers to visit in person. This includes location, phone number, and business hours. 

For schema, you want to build rich results beyond these basics. Consider linking your social media accounts, links to book an appointment, or links to other pages on your website. 

Remember, the majority of Google searches happen on a mobile device. When choosing what information to provide to these profiles, consider what customers want to see when they’re searching from their phone. What time are dance classes? Which types of dancing do you teach? Perhaps a link to sign up for a class?

2. Use Local SEO keywords

Just like in traditional SEO, keywords are important for local SEO, but with a small twist. You want to include words specific to your local area. Rather than just “tango classes” use “tango classes in Los Angeles.” Get even better results by getting more specific. “Tango classes near UCLA” or “tango classes near Westwood” help draw in college consumers near the studio.  

3. Encourage Customer Reviews

College consumers rely heavily on the recommendations of their peers. Positive online reviews can boost local SEO when they show up in your search results. Even a few negative reviews likely won’t hurt your algorithm results. 

Google data shows consumers are more likely to “believe” reviews when not all of them are positive. Visible reviews help consumers decide which business to patronize after their search results appear.

4. Use Local SEO Tactics in Your Social Videos

Google now allows video content to appear in search results. Since dance is such a visual art, it’s important to consider using local SEO in your video content as well. Keywords, location information, even how to book a class can enhance a TikTok video of a tango class in session. Most college consumers are digital natives who expect video content to accompany their Google searches.

5. Update Your Local SEO Regularly

Business profiles and customer reviews are less useful if they’re not updated. Make sure changes in hours or phone numbers are reflected online. Interact with reviews, whether positive or negative, to show consumers you’re engaged. Local SEO puts your business at the top of the Google rankings. Not sure how to set up a Google Business Profile or best use local SEO tools?

We Know Local SEO

College Marketing Group has years of experience marketing to college students. With our expertise, we’ll boost your search visibility and have your business booming.

The Tub Thumper


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