As a small brick and mortar business, there’s nothing more important than dominating local SEO. Your traffic is much more targeted than online retailers with national customers. It can’t be stressed enough the importance of focusing your SEO strategy on keywords and phrases that involve cities you serve. If you’re not convinced that dominating local SEO should be a part of your online marketing strategy, read on.
Why Focus on Dominating Local SEO?
How about some stats to give you a little perspective:
- 51% of consumers look for local businesses on their smartphones/tablets (while on the go)
- 40% of consumers prefer to purchase at a store versus online (if they knew where a local store was)
- 50% of consumers use their smartphone to search for local businesses
- 80% of consumers use search engines to find local info
- Around 3 billion search queries per month consist of local key phrases
- 70% of consumers use local search to find brick and mortar businesses
- 30% of Google searches are for local info
This says a whole lot about local search and it should get you excited about taking a piece of this gigantic pie. Now, let’s see the different ways you can do just that.
5 Ways to Boost Local Traffic
Optimizing for local search can increase your online and offline traffic tremendously, if you play your cards right. Here are the steps to take:
- Classify Your Business as a Local Business
People won’t know that you’re a local business if you don’t let them know. In search engines that have indexed your business, you want to ensure that you are categorized as a local business. First, you need to claim your Google My Business page and then classify your biz as a local one.
You should then optimize the page by including all the info needed for your profile, including a description of your business. Also input your address and local phone number. You’ll have to choose relevant categories related to your business. Avoid spamming your page because Google frowns upon this and won’t hesitate to penalize you.
- Maintain Consistency with Your Online Presence
If you have different listings around the Web, you want to make sure that they all have the same information. This will make your small business seem more reliable and trustworthy. Check all of your listings to make sure they contain the same phone number, address and descriptions. If you’ve recently moved locations or switched phone numbers, update these as soon as possible. The feel of your listings should also resemble one another, so that it helps to establish you as a brand and gain you recognition for it. Google doesn’t like to showcase profiles of businesses that are closed or have indications of a changed owner or data discrepancies.
Remember, this is about drawing in traffic, as well as building your online image. The more listings you have pointing back to your Web site, the better your rankings will be — and ultimately, your traffic and conversion rates.
- Search and Claim All of Your Online Listings
The business listings you create online aren’t going to be the only ones that you have to worry about. Other databases will pick up your listings and you’ll have to find these to make sure that the information contained on those listings are up-to-date. You’ll first have to claim that the business is yours and then you’ll be able to make adjustments to the listing.
You can get this started by adding your business listing to the top five local directors, which include Google My Business, Yelp, Yahoo Local Listing, Bing Places for Business and Manta. Then list in directories that are industry-specific. Take time to build up your listings on a regular basis and search for those you have yet to claim. The larger your network of listings, the better your search engine ranking will be for related keywords — allowing you to dominate the local market.
- Use Keywords to Optimize Your Social Listings
The business listings you have on search engines and social media will need to be optimized with relevant keywords. Simply having your listings all over the place isn’t going to suffice — not if you want to dominate local SEO for your market. Choosing the right keywords can be confusing, but can be done with a bit of research.
If you haven’t already, you should implement Google Analytics, so you can have a bird’s eye view of how your customers are finding your Web site. You will see the search terms they’re using, which can then be used for your listings. You can also try thinking of what people are likely typing into search engines to find what your business offers. A bit of brainstorming and A/B testing can go a long way.
Just make sure that the keywords you choose aren’t too competitive. Check out the key phrases you plan to use using Google Keyword Planner before making your decisions. The longer your key phrases are, the less competitive they will be. This is why local SEO isn’t too difficult to dominate. Simply add different city names to key terms that are already specific and you have yourself a longtail keyword.
A great example is “Plumber”, which is too generic compared to “affordable plumber in Brooklyn NYC” or “24 hour plumber in Brooklyn NYC”. It’s much easier to rank in the local 7 pack, as compared to regular organic search results. Here is an example:
- Keep Your Content Fresh
If there’s anything search engines hate, its stale content. After you’ve taken the above steps, you will have to keep your local business relevant to search engines and people by updating your content. You don’t have to do this yourself — if your budget allows, you can invest in a copywriter to do this for you.
Your content needs to be high quality and regularly posted. An excellent way to do this is with the use of a blog. The content should also be fresh and engaging, so that people will want to read and share it on social media. This not only keeps up your ranking on search engines, but will also help to spread the word about your local business. Here are the other benefits of using content to dominate local SEO:
- It helps to position you as a thought leader in your local niche.
- It tells Google that you’re in a specific niche, so keep your topics niche-specific, and you’ll rank higher for your niche keywords.
- High quality content will get you more organic inbound links, which further improves your local position in search engines.
Your Local Business Has a Chance to Compete
If you thought that your small business couldn’t compete with the giants, think again. Local SEO is one of the sure ways you can attempt to become recognized as a leading provider of your service or product in your locale.