For a long time, all a small business needed to do was put a listing in the Yellow Pages, deliver great services and they would thrive. Needless to say, things have changed. The “good old days” of the Yellow Pages are dead and gone forever. Today, when a consumer has a need, they pick up their smartphone and search the internet for a solution. The question is, if someone in your local area searches for the products and services you provide, does your business show up?
Business listings are the foundation of a solid local SEO strategy. Many small and local businesses are missing out on attracting new customers simply because their Google Business Profile listings are either non-existent or incorrect. While the world of online marketing and SEO can seem intimidating, there are actually some very simple and practical steps you can take to help get your business noticed. Below is an infographic with seven simple steps you can take to improve your business’s visibility online.
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1. Optimize for Google Business Profile
Your GBP, formerly Google My Business, is an integral part of any effective local search strategy. It’s a powerful tool that allows businesses to connect with consumers on Google and establish their presence within the local search environment. Having a well-optimized Google Business Profile can help you stand out among your online peers and drive more traffic to your website.
The best optimization practices include creating and verifying a Google My Business page, actively engaging with customers through posts and reviews, providing accurate and up-to-date business information, including phone numbers, opening hours, and locations, as well as keeping social media profiles connected to GBP.
Additionally, focusing on building relationships with local customers and reputation management by highlighting skilled reviews from satisfied customers to increase trust in your brand is beneficial too. When people read positive reviews and see you engage with customers, they’re more likely to consider trying your business.
2. Ensure NAP Consistency
A NAP citation is an important piece of information for any business to have listed online. Your full business name, address, and phone number appear in many different locations such as your website, business directories, social media profiles, and other sites that may link to the company’s website. Consistency is key so you don’t confuse customers!
3. Optimize For Voice Search & Mobile
Mobile search and voice search technology are rapidly becoming more and more popular, and it is essential for businesses to keep up with this trend if they want to stay competitive. Optimizing content for voice search involves tailoring the SEO strategy to the more natural language used when speaking into a device. This involves creating content that uses conversational words, as well as taking into consideration user intent—the specific information that a customer needs.
As part of this process, businesses should take advantage of the traditional question starters (who, what, when, where, why and how) in order to create content that accurately addresses the needs of voice searchers. Additionally, they should focus on long-tail keywords in order to accurately match users with relevant results. Overall, optimizing for voice search can provide great benefits if done properly, and effective implementation can help bring an organization one step closer to an omnichannel digital marketing strategy.
When it comes to voice search, ranking factors are vital because the top results are the only ones that are “spoken” by the AI. This means if you’re searching for “business near me,” it’s important to be connected to Google Maps and have an active GBP.
4. Write Content With Local Keywords
Local SEO is becoming increasingly important for businesses looking to reach their target customer base. Taking the time to perform targeted keyword research and optimize your content for your local performance allows your business to stand out amongst the competition. Utilizing a keyword tool is an excellent way to see which keywords are more relevant to your business, their estimated value, and how much competition exists when it comes to ranking for them.
Once the relevant keywords have been identified, there are some steps that need to be taken in order to properly incorporate them into the content. It’s all about narrowing the focus and creating a more localized keyword plan. Integrating these locally relevant keywords into website metadata, body text, as well as URLs will increase visibility on local search engine results pages. This will also ensure that you’re delivering content that is tailored specifically toward local customers and keeping up with any competitors operating in the same region as you. Overall, if done correctly, local keyword research and optimization of content will become an integral part of a successful Local SEO strategy.
5. Use Location Pages or a Location-Specific “About Us” Page
Location pages are a great way for businesses to make themselves more accessible and visible in areas where they have several locations. Each of these pages should contain the store hours, address, and phone number. They also should include an individualized description about each location to give potential customers a better idea of what services are offered at that particular store. Additionally, customer testimonials can provide further insight and allow interested customers to feel more confident about their decision to buy from you.
Businesses who take advantage of location-specific “About Us” pages often notice greater customer engagement, as people feel more comfortable with brands that they know something about. People also tell their friends when they find good service or product at a certain store, which is why it’s so important for your business to invest in engaging content for each of its location-specific pages – otherwise you’ll be losing out on valuable leads and sales opportunities. Not only will providing important information on the page benefit your existing clients, but it could help bring new ones in too!
6. Build Citations for Local SEO
Citations are a primary component of local SEO, as they serve to affirm the existence and details of your business. They are mentions of your business’s name, address, phone number, or website (NAP+W) on the web, whether there is a link to your website or not. It is up to you to ensure that all of your citations have accurate information and are consistent with all other references on the web. If you own multiple physical locations, it is important that each location has its own unique set of citations that contain identical information regarding said locations.
In order for citations to be useful for local SEO visibility, it is essential that tangible locations be represented in them rather than P.O. boxes or virtual offices. This helps bolster the relevancy of searches related to those specific physical spaces, giving them an edge in local search engine rankings. As such, a thorough strategy when it comes to generating business citations should involve having up-to-date information points across all channels. Doing this will provide consistent results, which leads to trust from potential patrons and higher visibility online through organic search efforts.
Online business directories are a great way to increase your website domain authority. However, it’s vital to choose directories that are relevant to your company category and list the correct business hours, location, and website.
7: Build a Social Media Presence
Social media is a powerful tool to build your online presence and attract more customers. With the wide range of platforms available, it’s easy to customize your approach to fit your business goals. When you have the right strategy in place, it can help to drive traffic to your site while improving visibility for local SEO efforts.
Syncing your website to your social media platforms will increase your search ranking for targeted keywords. As a business owner, social media is a perfect platform for your happy customers to share content and provide positive reviews.
When you optimize your social page, you will show up in searches for companies in a similar business category. This ensures your target audience finds you whether they search social or a browser.
Facebook is a great platform for building a social presence due to its size – millions of users around the world are active on Facebook daily. With features including check-in functions, a virtual store window, a custom page, and advertisement capabilities, it’s one of the most comprehensive tools out there. You can reach out to wider audiences with geolocalized posts and attract potential leads from within their network of friends. It’s an effective way to make sure your products or events are seen by as many people as possible.
While the local SEO process works, it does take a lot of time. If you’re interested in learning about search engine optimization strategies to increase your digital visibility, download our Local SEO Website Checklist.