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January 1, 2021
Here are six ways to make sure people find your business when they do a local search online for a service or products in their area.
You might assume that SEO (search engine optimization) really only matters to big businesses or franchise businesses. However, local SEO is becoming increasingly powerful for any business—especially local businesses, regardless of size. It’s what you can work on to make sure people find your business when they search.
In a world where just about every answer can be found at your fingertips, nearly 97% of consumers are going straight to a Google search to find a business in their immediate area. The large majority of those searches happen in their hands, on a mobile device.
Today, it’s important that any business, from a mom-and-pop shop to a locally owned franchise, understands how to optimize their local SEO so they can be found in maps and search results online. Here are six ways you can get started:
You may think you’ve got the online space covered by having a website. But that’s not entirely true. Just because you have a website doesn’t mean it will show up in search results. The most powerful search engine has its own platform for verifying businesses and you need to make sure you’re on it.
Google My Business is where you need to start. Your GMB profile is one of the biggest considerations Google uses to rank your business to others in online searches.
If you don’t have one yet, you can set one up yourself. You’ll need basic business information such as your name, physical address, phone number, website, etc. To really make your profile stand out, you can include photos, add service categories, and business hours. You can go on to create regular posts in your GMB profile and several other things that Google really likes to see. One of the most important aspects is making sure it is 100% complete with information Google asks for.
Beyond GMB there are thousands of online directories. Many will have a profile on your business already, even if you didn't know about it. And if you didn't know about it, you can guarantee that some if not most of the info is incorrect. You want to start going after these directories with existing profiles and claiming them as the owner.
You’ll want to make sure that all of your information is exactly the same—we can’t stress this enough—across every online platform. Make sure there aren’t any typos, secondary phone numbers, or incorrect zip codes listed. Consistency tells Google that you’re legitimate and trustworthy. It also eliminates the chances of customer confusion when they do find you online.
Customer reviews carry the most weight with other consumers. Having your GMB profile padded with positive reviews is the best way to turn online searchers into actual, through-the-door foot traffic.
These reviews go a long way in assuring someone searching for a local business that you’re the best result. Customer reviews are the golden social proof any business needs to establish trustworthiness with potential new visitors.
Make sure your GMB profile has them, and don’t be shy about asking your current customers to leave a review, too!
We said earlier that 97% of people go straight to a search engine to find a local business. What’s even more important is that 82% of those individuals are searching for you on their mobile device.
That means the mobile friendliness of your website is imperative. If your website isn’t easy to use outside of a desktop, it can hurt the chances of attracting those searchers to your business.
Not only does it make your business look out of date, but it makes it more difficult for visitors to find basic information they need to answer their questions. And Google does not like that. They will actually penalize you in most cases by promoting other similar businesses instead of yours.
Make sure you include links on your website to local, authority-building websites such as the local chamber of commerce or educational sites. Also, make work on getting websites that are credible to link back to your site.
Just as link building is important in SEO, local links matter with local SEO. Mention guest posts, local partnerships, or highlights from third party community establishments to build these local links.
Lastly, keep improving your business to meet your customers’ needs. Whether it’s word of mouth or a Google review, leverage each opportunity to improve as a reason to update your GMB profile. Make a post and tell people about how you are working to make their experience better. That can be a great way to get someone’s attention.
We know profile creation and everything that comes with it can seem like daunting tasks—especially if you don’t consider yourself tech savvy. If you don’t want to spend your time poking around unfamiliar territory, let us do the work instead. Our experts know exactly what to do, how to do it, and what matters most for your business.
Connect with us and let’s get started!