If you want to run a successful business these days, you need more than the hottest product on the block.
Regardless of whether you’re selling delicious gourmet burgers or offering stellar specialized services like professional housecleaning, it won’t really matter unless your market knows.
So, what does it take to reach your market?
First of All, Put Yourself on the Map
More specifically, find a way to amp up the chances of you getting on your target market’s radar.
While there are plenty of ways to do just that, the most fundamental tactic is getting yourself on Google Maps.
Research shows that 97% of search engine users search online to find a local business. 86% of consumers rely mainly on the internet to find a specific business or service in their local area.
72% of these consumers end up visiting local stores within five miles of their location. This illustrates exactly how powerful it is to have an online presence that shows up well on the SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages).
The metrics don’t lie. But having a website up is not enough.
With so many local businesses out there, it’s important to set your site apart AND to make sure it gets in front of your target audience.
Fortunately, you can achieve this by equipping your website with local search engine optimization, or local SEO.
Read on to discover why local SEO can be the lifeblood of your business, and what you can do to turn those clicks into conversions.
Why Should I Apply Local SEO Strategies?
Global SEO expert David Naylor once said ”My rule of thumb is (to) build websites for users, not spiders.” (Spiders, or crawlers, are the search engines’ scripts that browse the internet to find and index content.)
With good SEO, it’s possible to do both, while delivering results that will show in your business KPIs (Key Performance Indicators, a.k.a. metrics). Effective website optimization shouldn’t feel clunky and cold.
Rather, it should speak in a language that adds value for your consumers, while being of value to Google’s spiders.
If you build world class content, it will help drive both link sand relationships with your customers.
Local SEO specifically takes into account your business, service / product, and its location, relative to the users you are trying to reach.
If you give your website every competitive edge to do so, you will maximize your reach with both new and old customers alike.
Top 5 Steps To Get Your Local SEO Moving
Convinced? Here are 5 small steps to get your business ranking on that coveted first page.
Set Up a Google My Business Profile
So you want to position your website for local SEO benefits. Start with getting your company on Google My Business.
This will allow you to apply for Google’s verification. This in turn can earn you sidebar (Knowledge Graph) space and improved customer exposure in local Google searches.
Once you get this all set up, make sure to do the following to improve its online presence:
- Encourage customers to give their feedback in the form of reviews
- Build relationships with your customers by answering with authenticity
- Give personal and polite responses, especially when faced with a problem
- Keep all business information up to date and change details promptly
- Share your Google My Business Page to your social media channels
Ensure Your Presence in Local and Relevant Online Directories
Are you operating a food business? Ensure you’ve got a presence in Yelp, Zomato, Trip Advisor, Foursquare, and more, depending on what’s applicable to your local area.
Keep the details on your Google My Business profile consistent across these platforms as well. This is an important piece of local SEO.
Unlike with Facebook and your My Business Page, users frequent these directories to check out reviews, menu details, and location without necessarily having direct interaction with you.
However, keeping these consistent will enable Google to verify your information, helping them better serve your business on the SERPs.
Know Thine Enemy
Do your research on industry competitors. Is there another “mom and pop” joint serving crowd favorites just like yours? Or maybe you know of a spiffy service provider just like you?
Whatever your business may be offering, there’s surely someone you’re sharing the pie with in your area.
Take a look at their digital strategies such as their branding, content, tone, and design. Use this as a guide to curate their best practices and fit them out for your business, only better.
Take this chance to review things about your business and its branding. Then, consider changes in branding, content, and design that will set you apart from your competitor and make you more relevant to your target market.
Regularly Put Out Relevant, Quality Content
Invest in content that highlights your brand’s best qualities, while strategically using high-value keywords across your pages and posts.
Optimize your URLs, headers, meta descriptions, and body copy to contain these words, but be sure to craft content that suits the tone of your brand as well. Don’t just write for SEO benefit. Write for readers as well.
Are you a local gourmet gem? Post appetizing photos of your best dishes.
Are you a dependable service? Share your customers’ success stories and satisfied reviews! But be sure to optimize them for your local target market.
You want to be the neighborhood’s first pick and authority on whatever you have to offer. Take part in your neighborhood’s culture and build content around that, too.
Be Sure Your Website is Mobile-Friendly with a Stellar User Experience (UX)
76% of people who search for local businesses nearby on their smartphones will visit a business within a day of the search. 28% of those visits will result in a purchase. Local SEO is perfect for getting in front of these potential visits.
A lot of people don’t have access to a PC at a moment’s notice. In these cases, they will be searching on a phone when a need arises. Be sure your website and Maps entry are front and center when they come looking for what you offer.
Optimize your website for mobile users by making sure your location and phone number are featured in a clickable format and mobile-responsive. This way users can navigate to or call your business at any time you show up on their device.
These are key steps you can take to get your local business on the map for customers in your area. But remember that a business, at its core, can only thrive if its products and service remain consistent.
Employing the services of a good local SEO agency is a great way to get the results you need without compromising the quality your business churns out.
All images provided by the author under his or her own license.
Disclaimer: The views and opinions stated in this post are that of the author, and Return On Now may or may not agree with any or all of the commentary.
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