Tips to Improve Your Local Search Presence
Local search is everything for the local, small business. Let’s face it. Not all of us can be Amazon or eBay. We can’t all rely on general search terms to being in customers. A lot of the time, our customers live and work within our own communities. But because we are small, and perhaps relatively new, or have been around so long newer residents don’t know we exist and the older ones have nearly forgotten, we have to make ourselves stand out from the crowds.
Local search marketing can do just that – get your name and info in front of the right people – your neighbors – for your business. Here are a few tips to help you improve your local search presence and help them discover you again.
Don’t try and list your business with every Tom, Dick and Harry directory on the web. Most aren’t very good quality and many are spammy. There are a few good ones, however, and the best ones are free or low cost.
– Google My Business – why not list with Big G?
Don’t they rule the search world anyway?
– Yelp – good for good businesses
– FourSquare – hip, hot and allows for social check ins, too
– Professional directories – help those looking for your product or service, but not necessarily looking for you
– Yellow Pages – many businesses and communities pull their info from online yellow pages. I don’t recommend paying for a listing, but free offers should be used to your advantage
The everyman’s backyard eBay is the perfect place to place a free ad for your business. People visit Craigslist every day, and with your ad in front of them, they may soon be visiting you (and/or your website) every day, too.
Google+ pages and profiles receive preferential treatment in Google searches. That alone should be enough to convince you of their worth in local search. If that’s not enough, consider this: linking your Google+ profile, your website and Google maps will also give your home site a boost in the rankings.
Google pulls customer reviews from Google+, and Yahoo and Bing pull theirs from Yelp. So, if you want to get noticed by the three biggest search engines on the web, encourage your customers to write reviews on the relevant sites. Customer reviews will not only help your local search results, but will also help your reputation among the general public. Nothing sells your goods and services better than word-of-mouth recommendations from trusted friends and neighbors.
Build relationships with your fellow local business folks. Got a great customer in the local accounting firm? Mention them in a blog post or social media posting. Love the pastries from the corner bakery? Give them a shout out on your Google+ page. Letting them know you value them will typically result in reciprocating love from them. Those inbound links from their sites can boost your rankings, and your business. Again, the word of mouth issue comes into play here.
Friends and neighbors trust their friends and neighbors not to steer them wrong.
Local search can be a boon for your business. Don’t miss out simply because you don’t know what to do, or how to go about it. Get serious about local search in 2015, hire some help and watch your profits grow.
Great article! Thanks!
No problem Nayyan! Glad you liked it!
Thanks for the post, Chris. Local SEO is key for the reasons you state. Interestingly, I think Pew has some research showing that “word of mouth” is being supplanted not inconsequentially by search that, by and large, has a local intent. (If you want a plumber, do you ask all your friends or do you first go to Google and search for local plumbers?)
I always recommend, too, using a consistent NAP (name, address and phone) everywhere on the web. The search engines want to understand that you are you (and not someone else, or that someone else is not you), so always be very clear and consistent about contact information.
Thank you for the comment Cliff!
ComScore also released some useful information on mobile searches where they showed that 56% of mobile searches have local intent. We always recommend that at a minimum businesses have a mobile-responsive website and are optimizing their website for local search. Why? Because 78% of local-mobile searches resulted in an offline purchase.