Most businesses, especially small businesses, need revenue from their target local customers to be successful. In the not so distant past, these same businesses spent most of their precious marketing dollars on advertising – newspaper ads, flyers, and coupons. While some of these traditional local marketing ideas still have some value, it’s best to use the pull of the internet to grab customers, using your website and SEO – especially local SEO.
Here are 7 local SEO strategies you can do right now to make sure you are telling search engines where you sit, what you sell and who your target customers are.
1. Set up a Google+ page.
Google+ and Google Places have merged, so you only need to a Google+ page. And it doesn’t have to be a business account for g+. It can be personal one whose owner will be the manager for the page. By listing your business with Google+/Google Places, your company will not only rank more highly in search results pages but the search results page will also show a map and contact details and it can even include other information like photos and customer reviews.
2. Get listed in relevant and regionalised directories.
You can start by exploring those available through local associations, industry associations and your chamber’s website. You can also look here: http://www.web-directories.ws/ and find free directories, niche directories, regional directories, US directories, Canadian directories and directories in the UK.
3. Optimize your website and your Google+/Google Places listings for localized, relevant and highly searched words & phrases.
How do you describe your business? How do competitors describe their business? What pops us first when you google your product? What words define your city or local area? Okay – – use those words.
4. Optimize the content on your website for mobile.
Bottom line – if you’re not making it easy for mobile users to call you, you’re losing business. Studies show that more than two-thirds of smartphone users say using “click to call” is a hugely important part of any purchase process and that they use the “call” button in Google search results. So make sure your potential – and current – customers can reach you quickly via their mobile. Because if they can’t, they will jump right to your competitor.
5. Select the right categories for Google+/Google Places.
Google has been around for awhile and they have over 10 years of data gathered from searchers. This data tells them what kind of queries are most connected to what kind of products or services. It is critical that you use the right categories in your Google+ listing. To give an example, when a person is searching for a spa, they are probably looking for a long list of services that you can get at a spa. So make sure you think about all the ways people may be looking for you. And if you choose wisely in Google Places, your business will be among those qualified to get a spot in the local pack of organic results.
6. Check into to “Google My Business”.
Just this past few week, Google launched “Google My Business”. It is a new free tool available at google.com/business. The name says what it is – a way for small business to reach out to and connect with their customers. The tool puts all Google services of use to businesses in one area.
Here’s what Google says you can do with the tool:
“Update your business info on Search, Maps, and Google+ to make it easy for customers to get in touch.”
“Add beautiful photos of your business and a virtual tour of your business interior to help customers see what makes your business unique.”
“Connect directly with your fans and customers by sharing news, events, and other important updates from your Google+ page.”
“Stay on top of reviews from across the Web, and respond to Google reviews.”
“Understand how people find and interact with your business using custom insights and integration with AdWords Express.”
7. Encourage customers to review your business through Google+/Google Places – and get citations.
Consumers put a whole lot of faith in online reviews of businesses. In fact, over two-thirds of them say that they put as much stock in an online review as they do a personal recommendation. But keep your reviews short and current.
Here is the 411 on citations, from BloggingPro – “Citations are where your company name, address and telephone number appear on a website, and you will want to get as many of these as possible. Make sure that the information that appears on other websites is exactly the same as the information on your Google Places and Google+ Business pages, and these will help in the optimisation process.”
One final suggestion for SEO success – Reach out to us here at Steelsmith Group. We have deep search engine ranking expertise and a proven track record of producing outstanding results for our San Diego clients. We know exactly how the Google algorithm works and we only use the SEO strategies and techniques that get Google’s heart palpitating. Plus we can help you with CRM and all aspects of online marketing strategy and implementation.