About 46% of searches performed on Google are looking for information about nearby businesses and the services they may offer. Three quarters of these searchers visit local businesses to find products / services that they find online on the same day. Ultimately, 28 percent of visitors will typically buy from this store. This is an opportunity you don’t want to miss out on if your business relies on walk-in traffic or local online inquiries in any way. So take the time to read some local SEO tips to improve your online visibility.
Polish your business listings
Does your company already have online directory listings? You need to establish your presence on all major portals if you haven’t already. A recent study showed that online listings had the greatest impact on local search rankings. In particular, a well-optimized Google My Business entry can capture almost as much traffic as a top organic ranking.
For your information, setting up a Google My Business listing isn’t nearly as laborious as the latter. Google likely created a company profile using information from other sources. All you have to do is claim it by setting up a Google My Business account and going through the verification process.
Once you have been verified, the next step is to fill the list with all the important details (products / services offered, opening times, location, contact details, etc.). Note that Yahoo, Bing, and other search engines have corporate directories too – make sure you are there too. Also consider the secondary directories like Apple & Yelp.
NAP consistency is key
Building a wide online presence is only half the battle. It is very important that your NAP (name, address and phone number) is consistent across all channels. from your website to your social channels and directory listings.
With NAP consistency, you need to stick to a standard format wherever your data is displayed. For example, if you refer to yourself as Marshall & Scofield Technical Solutions on your website, make sure you use this on all other platforms. Avoid misspellings and discrepancies like MS technical solutions. Likewise, an address like 3456 County St. must look exactly the same everywhere – as must phone numbers.
By maintaining this consistency, search engines can ensure that the information they have about you is correct. It also makes the public a credible, legitimate entity.
Prioritize local content
We could talk about how posting great content drives brand awareness and so on. However, you need to remember that as a local business, the vast majority of your conversions will come from audiences that are in your immediate area. It only makes sense to channel the lion’s share of your efforts here.
What does a good local content marketing strategy look like? Jason at Evolve Digital recommends keeping the following key ingredients in mind:
– Trademark: In order to attract locals to your blog, you need to create an image or logo that they can refer to. Take a look at the design of your website and see what you can do to make them feel more comfortable and committed to your business.
– Interest: As a rule of thumb for content, you should identify your target audience and post material that is relevant to their interests. However, with local content you have to be over-specific. You want to create content that actually meets the needs of the locals and speak in a voice they love to hear. Talk about how your company fits into the local community.
– Keywords: Do your homework and find the most appropriate keyword phrases for your content. Make sure you also use location-specific keywords. And just like with “normal” content, you’ll want to tweak your URLs, title tags, headers, and everything else.
– Trends and events: Taking advantage of local trends and events is one of the best ways to generate interest in your content. In the same breath, you can create an endless stream of relevant content by keeping an eye on and participating in local events.
Ultimately, a solid local content strategy will bring you closer to the audience segment that is closest to your business. And once you start getting more site visits from the local people, search engines are sure to take notice.
Ask for reviews
Social signals are an important factor in local search rankings. Google and other search engines link the feedback from your customers to your company profile. The more reviews you get, the clearer your presence will be on the results page.
Some experts believe that reviews posted on industry-specific websites are more important. However, search engines usually track reviews from multiple platforms. Therefore, it is important to regularly ask your customers to post their feedback online.
Of course, ratings are not just a numbers game. You want your customers to recommend your company to others – and therefore search engines – instead of painting a red flag. Before you can seek feedback, you should make some effort to improve your customer experience and make sure that you are left with only positive reviews.
Optimize for mobile devices
It’s easy to forget that mobile devices now make up the bulk of online traffic. However, having a mobile-friendly website is especially important if you want to outperform your local competition. A good number of people who visit your website will be looking for contact information and directions to your location. If they are not easy to find their way around, you will have a high bounce rate and search engines will penalize you as a result. Avoid this risk by making sure your website is cell phone friendly.
Local search engine optimization isn’t just a means of attracting your local audience. A suitable optimization campaign will help you to build trust and authority in the region. And thanks to the higher ranking, you no longer have to rely on paid ads as much as you do now. Overall, local search is a worthwhile investment for almost any company.
Tina Johnson helped bring The Marketing Folks from a weekly newsletter to a full-fledged news site by creating a new website and branding. It also helps keep the website responsive and well organized for readers. As a contributor to The Marketing Folks, Tara mainly covers new industries.