Thousands of consumers are using the internet around the clock daily to search for local products and services. Is it your goal to have your business listed at the top of the search results? How crucial is it that you can be found by your customers? How important is it that they click on your website? This makes it extremely important for small business owners to set up a smart local Search Engine Optimization (SEO) strategy.
“How do I strategize when it comes to local SEO,” you might ask. Below are 8 local SEO tips to help your business rank higher in local search results.
Here is a simple step to get started: Make sure you create a local business listing for all three of the major popular search engines. Google, Bing, and Yahoo are highly recommended. A few others to consider are YP.com, Yelp, and foursquare. Also, list your business in as many free local directories as possible to create more local traffic. It is important that you fully complete each profile, staying consistent with your information in all of your local listings.
Setting up a blog on your webpage and posting on a regular basis will help increase your visibility. It will help engage those visiting your website and keep them coming back to read future posts. It is generally recommended that you shoot to post at least 400 words weekly or bi-weekly. At a minimum, this should be done monthly. Your blog content can help target local keywords and search options in relation to your business. This will help drive traffic to your website. Also, share your blog on your social media profiles to help expand exposure for your business.
Positive, informative reviews online can help build trust and credibility for your business. Customers constantly look at reviews as a part of their purchasing decision making process. Offering your customers a list of review websites to share their feedback and thanking them for taking the time (this can be via incentives like discounts, hand-written thank you notes, etc.), will help build your reputation. You may be surprised at how many customers are happy to help write a review. Create a page on your website displaying all of the review options or send out an email to your customers asking for their feedback.
Targeting a local market can make Google local SEO go a long way, especially since high rankings in local search are much less competitive. The more local keywords you use the easier it will be to narrow down the options for the customer searching for your line of business. A good rule of thumb is to shoot to integrate a keyword once for every 50 words of web copy.
Reach out to local organizations, forums, clubs, etc. online that relate to your business. The more people you have relationships with, the better chance you have at word spreading, sending people your direction. You can optimize those relationships online by soliciting guest blog posts from those local organizations, etc., or by blogging about them yourself.
Use Quality Photos and Videos
Customers respond well to quality visual content. Using several photos and video will draw people in, helping them to look at your website longer increasing your chance for a potential sale. Our recommendation is to use a picture of your actual building, both inside and out for your main photo (this way customers will recognize a brick and mortar business). You can also take pictures of your products and logo.
While the consensus about how this actually impacts SEO is unclear, it is commonly thought that video content has a big impact on your Google rankings. Additionally, photos and video create opportunities to insert tags and alt text which will contribute to you rankings.
Furthermore, about 80% of all mobile traffic is currently video (more about mobile below).
Mobile and Tablet Friendly
Sixty-three percent of mobile phone owners use their phones to access the Internet, and 46 percent of shoppers report using their phone to research local products and services. With so many searches taking place on mobile devices, it is extremely important to offer a user friendly experience. If potential customers have a difficult time navigating your site, they will leave and look for another site set up for their device.
Let’s hope they don’t find your competition.
Constantly Test & Optimize
Finally, to stay in front of your local market you need to always be in search of ways to be ahead of the competition. Products and services are ever-changing, so take the time to test and make changes. You may be surprised at how the smallest adjustment can often result in the biggest return for your business.
Are there any other ideas you think would be important to share about setting up strong local SEO?