Creating a local SEO strategy for your business is challenging. Many times you are competing with large corporations who have well-established strategies for ranking high in search results. The key is to success is to tap into your most valuable resource: your customer!
Why Should My Local/Small Business Try to Optimize Our SEO?
1. Resistance is futile: Search Engines, though continuously changing (See information about Google’s new Hummingbird Algorithm), are here to stay. 2. Control your online profile. Not having corrected information, location, reviews could be detrimental to your business. 3. Your customers are checking online reviews. Reports say that 80-90% of all customers are checking reviews before deciding on a purchase. 4. It is cheaper than other types of marketing. Having an SEO optimized website is cheaper than investing in Pay Per Click (PPC) Advertising or Print Ads. 5. Your competitor is doing it.
Jump start your local SEO with these tips:
1. Optimize your website. You need professional images, logos and branding so potential customers will respect your product. I suggest performing a preliminary SEO Audit to determine how your site is functioning.
2. Make a local business page for all major web search engines including Yahoo, Bing and Google. Add consistent, quality information to each of pages. You’ll notice that each search engine will require you to categorize your company–again, be consistent (see image insert below left). Each have their own criteria. Make sure to fill out as much information as possible! Be consistent with regards to hours of operation, phone numbers and address. Small discrepancies can hurt you in the long run, especially for local SEO. Confirming you are the owner of a business can take up to 2 weeks in most cases.
3. Claim your local listing. Go to services like Localeze to update local listings. If you have existing listing information that it is accurate. Again, hours of operation, phone numbers and your address (often referred to as business citations) are crucial to all the information. Search Engines will sometimes not display businesses that have conflicting or missing information. This step will be a continual process — good local SEO practices perform searches on a routine basis. Use Moz’s local business search to keep up with your process.
4. Ask your customers to leave reviews. As noted previously, 80-90% of all customers are checking reviews before deciding on a purchase. Creating or managing a Yelp or similar review infrastructure can really improve your business and your local SEO. Instead of asking your customers to review your services directly, try adding a “call to action” button on your website. Or, you could also provide a URL on print materials or receipts asking for a review as well. Track your reviews and adapt to negative comments. Consider posting a “comments” board somewhere in your facility to address concerns or comments.
Want to know more about getting your local business on the front page of major search engines? Contact DesignLoud for one-on-one help.