Take a moment and think about the last time that you needed to look up a business. Maybe you needed a plumber, or perhaps you needed an electrician – or maybe you just wanted to see what restaurants were around your area. Did you pick up a phonebook and search for what you needed? Or did you use Google instead? If you’re like most people, then you didn’t even bother with the phonebook. In the digital age, no one needs phonebooks – a simple Google search is more than enough.
Given this, improving your local search presence is vital to your business. If you don’t want new customers to say things like “I didn’t know you were even here”, then you need to improve your local SEO.
Hello? Are you there?
Go ahead and open up Google in another “tab” within your browser. Don’t leave this page, work with us here. Do you have Google open in another tab? Great – now search for a keyword related to your business along with your zip code. For the sake of argument, let’s say that you own a restaurant in downtown Worcester, MA. You would type something like, “restaurant 01601”, and then search. Go ahead and play around with Google and see if you can find your business easily. If you can’t find your business quickly, then you need to work on your local SEO.
Search engines like Google rely on crawling data that is area specific. This data will include local content, links, social media profiles, citations, and addresses. You’ll want to make sure that you set up the appropriate foundation for the search engines to find you, and then once you do, you’ll want to keep it updated with fresh content. All businesses need to have an online presence in today’s digital world, there’s really no such thing as a “brick and mortar” business anymore.
DIY Local SEO
There are a few things that you can do immediately to put yourself on the map. You want to dominate the local search engine listings so that when a prospective customer searches for a business similar to yours, in your general vicinity, they’ll find you first. Here is what you should consider doing to improve your local SEO, if you haven’t already.
Name, Address, and Phone
You have to set up your name, address, and phone number on your website so that the Google bots can index your website. Make sure that you use your full address and phone number with an area code. Also, you’ll want to include an HTML text file on your site that contains this data. Do not use images to do this, because search engine crawlers can’t read images. The best place to put this is on the header or footer of your website.
You’ll want to add your business to Google’s database. You can add a listing for your local business on Google, which should only take a few minutes. Make sure that your listing is as complete as possible and as accurate as possible.
After doing that, you will want to create and verify a Google Plus Local page for your business. If you have multiple locations, set up a page for each one. Again, fill out your page with as much information as possible; invest time into crafting a beautiful page that your customers will marvel at. Google also allows you to declare your type of business by category. Be sure to add about 2 categories that are broad, and another 2 that are more specific.
Start getting some reviews on your Google Plus page. You can ask your current customers to help with the first few reviews. After that, you can ask new customers to add your business page to their own Google profiles, and ask for reviews.
Publish Content Online
Most of your competition won’t even make it as far as you have with local SEO. You don’t want to stop there – become the local authority in your industry. Set up a blog on your website if you don’t have one already. More importantly, produce locally relevant content and publish it regularly. Promote local industry news, events, employees, and other informative content on your blog. Consider adding a YouTube channel into your mix and post videos too. They don’t have to be long or complicated, but you do want to keep all the content locally relevant. This way, the search engines see that there’s a business in little ole’ Smalltown, USA that’s making a big splash. As a result, all of Smalltown is going to know about this business.
Remember to make sure that all of your contact information is completely accurate. 73% of customers lose trust in a local business due to inaccurate business listings. Apart from making sure your information is accurate, make sure it is consistent. If your address is something like 276 Turnpike Road, make sure that you use the exact address all of the time. Do not abbreviate the address with something like 276 Trunpike Rd. – do not misspell it either. Also consider adding your business to a directory such as Factual or Express Update.
When customers need to find a local business, they use Google, and this article is intended to show you that your local SEO efforts are much more important that just listing yourself in the local phonebook. You can do some of the easier tasks yourself, but there’s a lot more that can be done with Local SEO. Local SEO is one of our specialties at New Perspective, and we would be delighted to tell you more about improving your visibility within the search engines; just give us a call. Find out more about how we can help you with your local search optimization.