Without a doubt, businesses throughout the world all have one thing in common, and that is to bring in more customers to their establishments. No matter how big or small the business is, it is really important for the owner to be able to draw in more people to do business with. Otherwise, they’ll end up having to close the business since there is no way for them to sustain it. One suitable way a company can gain new business is to make sure it targets the right people in his specific geographic location; especially if the business is new. Thankfully, the internet has now given these business owners various ways they can let their prospect customers find them.
But when it comes to utilizing these tools to attract customers, it is important to use them properly. Otherwise, the tool won’t be used to its full potential and it would not lead to good results for the business owner. If you are a business owner, it is important that you know how you can properly target customers to your location. The good news is that you can optimize your online visibility to your local search engine optimization (SEO).
And with the success of this tool, there’s no surprise why search engines seem to be updating itself with new trends every now and then. Because of these changes, companies have been able to place a better local footprint on the results page of search engines. This gives them a tremendous amount of opportunity to be more visible locally and get better exposure of their business and brand to the audience they truly target. In a way, this gives them an edge as it helps make their strategy work for their benefit. Of course, the success of their local SEO search efforts is translated into sales.
The problem is, optimizing local SEO can be very tricky. It doesn’t only end with learning about customary SEO terms and practices, you will also need to continuously do your research on what works in SEO. In this time and age, your visibility online can make or break your brand. Considering the fact that SEO practices continually change, it’s important that you know how things work every time. So how are you to make sure that local SEO works to your advantage? Here are 5 things you need to know about local SEO as a small business owner:
Accurate and Consistent Online Listing
As a business, you want customers to be able to find you and your vital information: your NAP. This stands for the Name, Address and Phone Number. In some cases, it could even be NAP+W (W= Website). Every local optimizer knows how important all these information is. The problem however, is that the accuracy and consistency of these data can be a problem.
A number of users have become discouraged to discover that the business they are looking for online does not update these information whenever they change something. And in truth, there is a large number of businesses who know their NAP+W is no longer updated yet they know that many of their customers rely on the internet for such information. Despite this, many businesses believe they do not have the time to update the information anymore.
As a business owner, you have to remember that these inaccuracies can kill your local SEO. No matter how serious you are with your business, it will be questioned by those who are unable to find updated information of your NAP. This is why you really have to be vigilant and be careful of updating your NAP.
Maximize Directory Listings
Nowadays, there are so many websites that offer directory listings of various companies in their vicinity. So in reality, it’s very easy for your brand to be listed on such websites. The only question is how you will be able to make use of the local directory website to its full potential. It might be very tedious and time-consuming work for you to create a local listing, but in the end, it can be beneficial for your business if you want it to rank on local SEO search. As much as possible, you should fill up the required information on the directory so you can let it work for your advantage.
Researchers have discovered that when a customer looks for a listing, he will want to see the following:
• Phone number
• General proximity to location
• Hours of operation
• Company name
• General product or service info
• Ratings or reviews
• Compare features, services, other info.
• Forms of payment accepted
As much as you can, try to complete each of these items as every added citation adds to your local SEO uptick. The more complete your online listing is, the better it will be for potential customers to trust your business and patronize it.
Optimize Social Media
Social media has played an important role in everyone’s lives. To this extent, businesses can thrive on local SEO even if they don’t have their own website. As long as they are active on social media, customers can still find them easily. Once a business does not have its own website, its traffic gets redirected to another local listing or a page. This is why it is recommended that you make your business active on websites such as Facebook, TripAdvisor, Yelp, or Urbanspoon. On websites such as these, they can see a star rating or a review left behind by other customers of the business.
With the new Google My Business platform rollout, experts in the field of local SEO insist that it’s very important for business owners to fill out all their needed information as accurately and completely as possible. Thanks to this tool, your customers will be able to find you easily.
Don’t Beg for Reviews
Online, the best way you can get people to trust your business is through the reviews you received from other people who have already used your services. Unfortunately, this is something you cannot force or beg other people to do. As a business owner, you can’t force people to leave a five-star review of you on social media. Instead, you can encourage users to leave a review about your business by giving them a freebie or a discount.
The main reason why you need reviews is because it can help with your local SEO. The more reviews you have, the more Google will deliver your establishment in local searches.
Never Stop Learning
As Google continues to expand its horizon and target more hyperlocal businesses, your brand should also do the same. It is best that you work with a professional company that knows the latest trends and tools Google uses to make sure that your information stays relevant and on the top results of a page. Only then will you be sure of how you can drive users to your business.