Your customers are bombarded with piles and piles of useless digital information. Every single day, they scroll past and dig through adverts that aren’t targeted towards them. Businesses that aren’t relevant are shouting at them to listen. But why would they listen, if they don’t care?
Every local business wants to connect with customers that are seeking out their service. That’s how sales are made. Don’t waste your time by marketing to the wrong demographic. Instead, tailor your SEO strategies and ensure that every customer is a match made in heaven for your local business.
What is Local SEO?
It’s 2017 and the internet is an overcrowded marketplace. It’s crammed full of information, products, services, memes and cat videos. Not all of it is going to be relevant to you, or to your customers. When your customers conduct a search on their smartphone, laptop or PC, they want to be able to scrape past the mess and hone in on the information they’re looking for.
You can help them do that. In the process, you can guide them directly to your local business. By making careful tweaks to your marketing strategy, your company can show up in the local search directories of potential customers. And because of targeted local SEO strategies, you’ll be exactly what your customer is looking for! This perfect match is likely to lead to a conversion of some kind, so everyone’s happy.
In short, local SEO is an effective way for small and local businesses to market themselves online. Businesses can market their products or services to the customers that are looking for them, at the exact time they need them.
The right local SEO company can show you how to increase your chances of being found by all the right people. With 50% of local mobile searches leading to store visits within that same day, can you afford to let your competitors take the lead on this marketing strategy?
Local SEO Strategies to Optimise your Local Business
Most local businesses are aching to achieve that common goal: to make their way onto the first page of search engine sites. You can get there before that competing business down the road, with effective local search engine optimisation services.
There are some strategies that uses local SEO services, so your business can make it into the spotlight of the customers that are looking for you. Here are the ways to promote your business locally for optimum results.
Appear on Local Search Directories
Lots of customers use their devices to search for local businesses in an instant. It sure beats trawling through thick and heavy paper directories like we used to do! Google knows what its users are doing, and it gives a higher ranking to the right businesses. So, if you can prove that your business is local and relevant, you’ll get a boost.
Local SEO makes full use of online search directories. Local listing sites like Yellow Pages, True Local and Yelp want to feature businesses that target the right geolocation and keywords. This way, they bring the best results to searchers, who can then compare the displayed businesses and make their purchasing decision. With any luck (and effective SEO) that will lead them to you.
Take Advantage of Social Media
Whether you’re running an established business or a brand new startup, you’ll be left in the dark ages without a proper social media strategy. For your small and local business, consider making an account on Google Plus, LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest. Depending on the industry you’re in, different platforms will be more lucrative than others.
When you’re targeting local attention, the best approach is to provide content on interesting, relevant topics that are specific to the area. Search engines will pick up when local customers are sharing the content, and use it to create suitable search results for people in that area.
Already have social media accounts and a local online community? There are ways to make the most out of the following you’ve already built. For example, think of one thing that every customer loves. A deal! People are regularly searching for local deals, discounts and coupons they can take advantage of. Offering localised coupons on your social media pages will alert search engines to pass these savings onto nearby bargain-hunters.
Other small details that shouldn’t be overlooked include getting your profile just right. Include information like your exact location, opening hours and an attractive company description. It’s the little things that local customers notice, and it allows them to visit your business at their own convenience.
Advertise with Local Reviews
Online reviews take the power out of your hands, and into the hands of your customers. Sounds scary, but don’t fear! Online reviews can impact your local SEO in ways that other strategies can’t. That’s because customers believe other customers more than the company! In fact, 74% of consumers have agreed that positive reviews help them to trust a local business.
You should encourage your customers to leave a review, and 7 out of 10 will be happy to. As a business owner, it’s your responsibility to make sure these reviews help your business, instead of hinder it. Ensuring your staff are well-versed in customer service is a great way to guarantee positive consumer experiences.
Online reviews impact your place in local search directories, and they help consumers decide which search result they should click on. Take advantage of the power of social proof and ensure you’re getting reviewed. Businesses, such as restaurants, will appear higher in the SERPs of local searches if they’ve got a good review score.
Make Citations the Core of your Local SEO Strategy
What is a citation? A citation is basically the mention of your company’s name somewhere on the wide web, other than your own website. Why should it be the core of your local SEO strategy? Because 47% of consumers use their smartphones to find immediate information on local businesses. Have you ever searched for something like “best op shops Melbourne”? Exactly, and your customers are doing that, too.
Customers would be overwhelmed by the sheer results if they had to sort through them manually. Search engines make life easier by crawling the web to see which relevant and local companies are the most highly cited. They sort these results by both the best-reviewed options and by geography.
The more regularly your local business is listed across trusted sites, the more likely it is to get the “thumbs up” from Google.
Keep your Business Listing Updated
If you want to qualify for a space in local search directories, let alone a top space, there is some information that is non-negotiable. In search results, this information is displayed in the “Local Pack”. (The local search results that are grouped together at the top of a page.
You must include your business’ name, but you already knew that! To target specific consumers, let your audience know that they’re in the right place at the right time. You should have a local phone number that can be recognised in your location. It also helps to have a physical street address. That way, searchers can easily click on your address, be taken to their maps and discover how close you are to them.
This is guaranteed to raise the chances of a conversion, with 71% of people saying that they choose to confirm the physical location of a business before going to it. At the very least, you’ll probably get the opportunity to meet with more customers face-to-face.
Localise your Website
Your website is your digital storefront. A well-thought out site adds credibility to your business, and makes consumers more likely to get in touch. Make your content appealing and convincing. It should answer any questions that visitors might have. Where are you based? What services do you offer? What times are you open?
Over 50% of searches are carried out on a mobile device, so make sure your website is mobile-friendly. This keeps Google on your side, too.
You can get creative with content in order to localise your website. By this, we mean using the right keywords to target the right customers. To get the most out of your local SEO efforts, sprinkle your location throughout the content. Include your suburb as well as your city to make sure you’re landing a spot on those local search directories.
How a Local Business can Attract New Customers
A targeted online marketing approach is the most efficient way of getting your business seen by potential customers. The customers that are interested in your products or services, that is. In the infographic here, we’ve gathered a selection of statistics about the importance of a local SEO strategy.
With more local customers turning to their smartphones to satisfy their needs and wants on-the-go, you need to let them know how easy it is to reach you. A couple of simple clicks can take them on the journey from initial search, to Google maps, to physically walking or driving to your location.
Most local searches start with the aim of finding an easily accessible local business in a timely manner. Never lose a potential customer by being unavailable when they really need you.
If you’re not getting your local business listed in the quality local search directories, we want to know why! Local directories usually dominate page 1 of all search results, with the most relevant information for consumers near you. Listing your business on these directories is likely to lead to much more conversions compared to other traditional advertising options. Do you want to convert around half of your leads into actual customers? We thought so.
Avoid the Pitfalls by Hiring a Local SEO Company
Like every marketing strategy out there, there are pitfalls waiting for you to fall into them. The SEO world is forever changing, black hat SEO techniques are always emerging and it can be difficult to stay on top of your digital marketing.
Here are just a few ways that your local SEO can fall far down the black hole. Avoid the pitfalls at all costs if you want your business to succeed! Always remember that you’re not alone, and there are experienced SEO companies that can give you a leg-up on your local SEO services.
- Choosing a name that sets you back. New businesses in particular should opt for a distinct company name. For example, if you name your pizza shop “Pizza Shop”, it’s going to show up alongside a whole load of pizza shops in search results. There will be too much competition and local customers won’t be able to pick you out of the lineup.
- Location, location, location. It always pays to have a physical location. A PO box isn’t attractive to customers, and is usually ineligible on local search directories. Also, try locating your business with distance to others in the industry. When customers search for your location, few other results will show up.
- Be realistic. Many of your competitors will already have an established SEO strategy, not just you. It takes time to build up your credibility as a local business, so be prepared to wait for the results you want.
- Having a bad website. A bad website can mean anything from being old, difficult to interact with and not mobile-friendly. Limited technology will hinder customers that are trying to find information, especially if they’re on a mobile device. Which, as we know, they probably are.
- Taking risky shortcuts. We know that citations and backlinks are key to your local SEO success. That doesn’t mean you should cut corners to try to boost visibility. Buying links, or ending up as a link on a poor website, will result in a nasty penalty from Google.
- Letting bad photos slip through. Good photos on the Google business directory or other search listings increase clicks-to-website by 35%. Keep an eye on your listing to be sure that bad quality photos haven’t slipped through the net. If nothing else, it makes your business look unprofessional.
- Badly-trained staff. Your staff are the face of your business. They can drive glowing reviews, and can likewise cause negative ones. With the high importance placed on reviews, don’t risk poor employee behaviour or customer service.
With the right strategies, you can significantly cut the risk of falling into a poor local SEO trap. It may seem like there are a lot of plates to spin at once, but your small or local business can benefit hugely from following the right steps.
Gone are the days of posting unwanted leaflets through every letterbox in the neighbourhood. Now, we can take advantage of simple marketing tactics like local SEO to get our business before the eyes of the customers that need us most. An added bonus is that there’s no risk of the family rottweiler chewing up our advertising materials!
If you’re looking for a local SEO company that can become the driving force behind your local search engine optimisation services, try One Stop Media. We’re a professional SEO company in Melbourne and we’re the place to head for SEO marketing, web development and design.
Make the right choices, avoid the pitfalls and localise your business to catch the eye of all the perfect customers.