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As the owner of a small business, you already know the challenges that come with competing against chain stores in your industry, both for your part of the market share and for online presence. It may seem impossible to tackle larger stores in both areas, but with a proper strategy it is not. Studies have shown that users searching for local results are near their point of purchase, so being the website they find is vital. Unfortunately, local SEO is somewhat of a confusing topic for many. It’s tough to know where to even begin. Ensure that your website is ranking and being seen by your potential customers by following a few pointers:
Create and Optimize a Local Places Page
Of course, the first step is making sure that you have a local business page for Google. All you will need to do is fill out your business information such as location and phone number, and then you’ll be all set with an account. Recently, Google added information, like store hours, displayed right on the Search Engine Results Page (SERP). Make sure the information is accurate so searchers looking for your store won’t be given incorrect information.
Once you have created and authorized your page, it’s time to optimize it. Detail your services offered and chose appropriate categories that your company falls into. You will not rank well if you have no categories, or the wrong categories.
Ensure Accurate Business Citations
You need to make sure all of your information is filled out and you have consistent NAP (Name, Address, Phone) data for your company across all listings, which are also referred to as a citation. Pay special attention to local registries and industry-focused registries and blogs. It is possible that your business is already listed somewhere by someone else with a slightly wrong spelling or the street address next door, but don’t panic! You need to claim any and all listings by verifying that you are the owner of your business either by email, phone, or possibly traditional mail. There are services available that can speed up this process.
Collect Online Reviews
According to at least one study published on Search Engine Land, Google looks at reviews as an important factor for ranking after one of their recent updates. More than anything, however, your reviews are for searchers who see your company on a SERP and are considering becoming a customer. Seeing reviews like “ Great service!” or “ I’ll never go back!” are quick and easy ways for consumers to decide which website they want to click and visit. These reviews will naturally come, but you may also want to consider blatantly asking for them by placing a sign in your store reminding people to leave a review if they’re happy with their experience.
Upload Quality Photos
It’s helpful when searchers are deciding on which local business to spend their money at if they have photos to help them. Google Local allows you to have ten photos, and your goal should be to have that many. Take photos of your actual building, both inside and out, and be sure to have pictures of your products as well. Your smiling face and logo design doesn’t help someone decide to buy your desserts over your competition, but a photo of your award-winning maple bacon cupcakes will.
Optimize Your Website
All of the effort you can manage into your Google Local page won’t help if your actual website isn’t optimized as well. Make sure you have your contact information, your exact address and phone number, several places on your website. It’s also important to try and include city or regional keywords wherever possible and implement content that target these keywords. Also, try to obtain a relationship and get back links from local newspapers or review sites.
SEO isn’t an option for your small business. Your competitors are already doing it, and if you aren’t- you’re getting left further and further behind. Don’t let a lack of understanding stop your company from being found by people looking for your services.
Have you tried, and failed, to get your website found by more local searches? Or maybe, you’re too overwhelmed to even get started. Let Impulse Creative help! Download our free eBook The Beginner’s Guide to Inbound Marketing for experts tips on gaining new visitors to your website organically.