Local searches are becoming more and more important to businesses of all sizes. People are less likely to make snap purchasing decisions. Nowadays, they often research things online first, so this is often the way customers will find your company. This means local search is becoming more competitive, so you need to stay ahead of other people who provide the same products and services. Here are some quick ways you can optimize your site to get it noticed by Google and other search engines.
Look at your SEO strategy
Before you focus on local SEO, have a think about your general SEO strategy. It’s important that your pages are keyword optimized, and that when people land on your page, they can see exactly what it is that you do. Your business name should be included on every page, and don’t just look at the general page content, update your meta tags and descriptions to ensure they’re appealing and interesting.
Register on Directories
Google My Business is a listing service that appears on search and maps, so it’s important to ensure you’re registered with them. It’s likely that your business is already on here, especially if you have a brick and mortar presence, so you should log-in to ‘claim’ your listing, which will allow you to make changes.
You should take a few minutes to ensure that your opening times, contact details, and other information is correct and up to date. Photos are great too, as they can help draw more attention to your listing.
There are also other online directories where you can register, which won’t necessarily be high up in the search results but can boost your SEO overall, for example, Yelp, Yellow Pages, the Better Business Bureau, and Foursquare. People rarely use these sites to search for businesses anymore, they’re much more likely to Google, but they can be an excellent way to get backlinks. If you work with a local SEO service, they’ll be able to get all these tasks done for you and find the most effective directory sites.
Ask customers to leave reviews
If you’ve ever used Google to look for a certain type of business, say a hairdresser or grocery store, it’s likely you will have been drawn towards businesses with good reviews. In the digital world, online reviews are more important than word of mouth, and even having mixed reviews is better than having no reviews at all. In fact, people are often suspicious of businesses that only have glowing 5-star reviews. Ask all customers to leave feedback, whether you request it through a follow-up e-mail or on their receipt. You could offer an incentive such as a small discount for those who take the time to leave feedback.
Use social media
Being active on social media can boost your SEO ranking, and if you’re a small, local business, then it’s important to be involved in your community. Spending just a few minutes a day on your social media platform of choice will help boost your profile, and also keep your company in people’s minds, so they know where to go when they need your services.
Learn more about voice search
Voice search is important for local businesses, as people often use this kind of search when they’re driving around looking for restaurants and stores within a short distance. The popularity of smart speakers such as the Amazon Echo has also contributed to the one billion voice searches that are carried out each month. It’s estimated in 2020 that over half of searches will be done by voice, so there are a few things you’ll need to do to ensure your website will be picked up:
- Ensure your business listings are accurate and clear
- Ensure your websites are optimized for mobile with well-written, clear content, as this will make it easier for smart speakers to understand
- Focus your content around the common questions that people will ask in search and use long-tailed keywords
- Regularly check your Google My Business account and ensure any questions are answered
These are simple steps that you can take, but overall, it’s important to look at a voice search strategy and work with experts who can keep you ahead of the competition.
Local marketing has always been important, but nowadays, it’s moved on from advertising in local papers or putting up flyers around town. Your business needs to be at the top of local search results and build an excellent reputation online, so that when people are looking for your products and services, they know exactly how to find you.