Local Search Optimization Can Help Your Business
Local search is important. It drives business. I’m sure we can all agree it’s nice to have the phone ringing. People finding your location and walking through the door isn’t a bad thing either, is it? Are you doing everything you can to make this happen? Marketing is about adapting to the times, and if your sales have been sluggish lately it’s time to shake it up and try something different. It’s called local search optimization.
We’ve talked about how social media can add value to your business. There we covered that nearly all consumers turn to the internet to research local products and services. Whether you own a carpet cleaning business or run a catering service you need to have your business show up in search results under keywords that match your products or services. When someone types in “carpet cleaning (your city)” the businesses that show up on the first page are usually the ones getting the sale. How many times do you look beyond the first page? Yep. I thought so.
Local search optimization is an SEO strategy that focuses on positioning your business to show up in Google under keywords that are relevant to your products and services. Search engine optimization can get pretty technical, but there are a few quick things you can implement yourself to start increasing your search visibility and local ranking.
Use Google Places, Yelp and Facebook to Boost Your Local SEO Efforts
Google, Facebook, Yelp… they all help increase your local visibility. It’s just a matter of taking action. They all have unique benefits. Google Places, when verified with your website, places you right above regular search results. Facebook has tremendous reach and a large mobile following. People trust Yelp. Are you ready to leverage the power of all three? Then it’s time to give your business’ local search ranking a kick in the ass.
Leveraging Google+ for Local Search Visibility
Let’s start with Google – since it’s the largest search engine in existence it kinda goes without saying you should have a presence here. They also hold the key to Google Maps. Need I say more? If you want people in your community to find your business, you have to start here.
You’re probably already familiar with the little gray map icons that appear in Google search results. If you have no idea what I am talking about, take a look below:
As you can see, local search results appear above the standard results – and they even stick out a little more. You’ll need to create a Google+ page. Afterwards, you’ll link your Google+ page to your website and add your business to Google Places. There are a few steps to the process. Here’s how to do it:
- #1 Log in to your Google+ account.
- #2 Find your business or create a Google+ Page.
- #3 Add the snippet to your homepage and verify the code through Google.
Bonus Tip: Encourage your customers to submit reviews to your Google Places page. This will help increase your local score. This is a score that ranges from 0 – 30 and is calculated based on reviews submitted by customers.
Using Facebook Check-ins to Boost Local Visibility
Facebook has been the most popular social network for a long time. It has grown so large it now has 1 billion users. Most of us regularly use Facebook as a way to connect with family and friends, so we all understand the power the site has. When people ‘check-in’ to your business it announces to their friends where they’re at. Think of it like a little endorsement. You’re getting your business name in front of more eyes and the information is coming from someone they know. This is an incredible marketing tool!
Facebook recommendations are similarly a good method of using Facebook for digital ‘word of mouth’ marketing. The interactions that occur between you and your customers are there for the entire community to see. It can even be reasoned that Facebook check-ins and recommendations have more impact than traditional word of mouth marketing because these endorsements stay online forever. Just make sure your page is categorized as a local business.
Bonus Tip: You can easily promote and encourage Facebook check-ins by offering customers a discount or incentive for checking in and leaving recommendations.
Get People on Yelp Singing Your Praise
Yelp is an incredibly powerful voice for people in your local area. It allows people to rate and review local businesses – and share these insights with others in the community. For small business, this can be a godsend or a curse. If you are making your customers happy you don’t have to worry. Good reviews on Yelp helps elevate your business and makes you stand out from the competition.
Every small business should claim their listing on Yelp. It’s also important to encourage your customers to leave glowing reviews. Like most things, an incentive usually helps get the ball rolling, but simply asking your most loyal customers usually does the trick. All you have to do after that is keep up the stellar work.