Building a local search engine presence will significantly increase knowledge around your store. Phone books are virtually nonexistent nowadays and getting foot traffic isn’t as easy as it used to be, especially in big cities with too many stores to count. As a small business, you can boost local SEO to connect with more customers.
Here are five ways to improve local SEO:
1. Create Consistent Listings Using NAP
First and foremost, if you want to create a stellar local SEO experience, your listings need to be consistent across any sites you list your business on.
You never know where a customer might find you be it Facebook, Google, or a niche directory. You want to be sure that your potential visitors receive the correct information.
Consistent local SEO listings take careful planning on your part. Here are some things we suggest:
- Focus on getting your NAP correct: NAP stands for your Name, Address, and Phone Number. These three items need to be consistent across every listing.
- Take note of all the directories you list your business on. You can use a spreadsheet to keep track of all of them, as well as how to change them should you need to.
- If any part of your NAP changes, go back to your spreadsheet to change every listing, so it’s consistent.
You may make the mistake and decide not to fix every listing because Google, Facebook, or some other directory brings you more business. While they may bring you most business, you don’t want to negate the smaller listings that could bring you foot traffic just because changing your listings takes time.
Moz Local is a good tool to check the current status of your NAP.
2. Utilize Google My Business
Let’s focus for a bit on one listing in particular: Google My Business. Getting your local business listed on Google My Business is one of the most important things you can do right now to increase your local search engine presence.
You may find that you are getting some Google traffic to your website or that people found your store on Google already, but you still need to claim your listing on Google My Business.
When you sign up for Google My Business, it gives you more control over how you show up locally. Instead of letting other people talk about your store, you can be the one in control here.
Having a Google My Business listing will allow you to utilize things like:
Sharing Special Hours
Is a holiday coming up where you won’t be open? You can update your listing on Google My Business with this information, so search engine users know your store hours.
Listing Your Favorite Photos
More than just listing your hours, you can share photographs with your potential customers so that they can get a taste of what your store or food looks like before they visit.
You can use Google My Business to communicate with people who review your site on Google. Frequently bad reviews don’t truly reflect a company, so it’s important to address those bad reviews and make changes based on the constructive criticism received in them.
Depending on your business, you may want to book appointments via Google My Business. You can now add a booking button right on your Google My Business listing so that people can see your listing and book right away.
Posts That Encourage Visitors
Stores add new things all the time. Google My Business posts are great because you can list new items, offers, and other helpful bits of information as a post and track how well that content is doing with Google My Business.
Google My Business is always changing and adding more features that will help local businesses increase their revenue and earnings potential.
3. Encourage Reviews Of Your Business
If you want to improve local SEO, you need to encourage reviews of your business. Your customers know you better than anyone, and they can recruit more visitors by writing reviews on sites like Google, Facebook, or Yelp. You may feel that you should hide reviews, but stores and restaurants with no reviews can be suspicious to some internet users. Internet users are usually able to discern between a negative and a false negative review (such as users who leave a negative rating with no comment.)
Let your customers speak their mind, respond where necessary, and work to correct any legitimate concerns negative reviews bring up.
4. Add Keywords To Your Website Correctly
Next, you need to add keywords throughout your website and in your site and page titles. You want these keywords to reflect where you are based locally. Even bigger companies utilize this when they have landing pages for each store they own across the country.
Let’s take the huge company Walmart for example:
For each store Walmart has across the country, they have built a landing page with all that store’s data. They also have Google listings for all of their locations as well. The combination of landing pages and Google listings assures that users can find their local Walmart online every time. Walmart has a local presence in each city as well as a national presence. Your SEO presence may be mostly local, but even huge corporations are using these local SEO techniques.
Go through your website. Are there places where you can add a local search keyword or two? Beef that up throughout your site so that you are more likely to be found locally.
5. Work To Receive Local Press
Last, you want to work to receive local press for your business. News sites and newspapers are great for SEO, and you will get more visitors from the news coverage as well. If you want to increase local press, one of the first things you can do is make it very easy for journalists to contact you. You should add a contact page to your website just in case a local outlet wants to get in contact with you.
Next, you want to reach out directly to local news outlets with relevant stories and press releases. Examine the news outlet. How do they usually spotlight other local businesses? Do they have a spotlight on small businesses or do they fit them in when the company has a heartwarming story or grand opening? With this information in hand, you can reach out to local outlets with stories you know they are likely to run.
Once you have a journalist or reporter at a local press outlet, keep in touch with them. This relationship can prove to be very valuable for a small business! Reach out periodically with relevant stories and invites to events at your store. Make it personal, not too corporate. Remember, you are building a relationship with this person!
Conclusion: Build Up Your Local SEO
Local SEO makes a massive impact on your brand. You should be using the power of search engines to bring in more traffic to your website and store.
Do you need help building up your local search engine presence? Don’t be afraid to send us an email with any questions at firstname.lastname@example.org.