As a small business, most of your customers will be coming to you from the surrounding area. How can you make sure potential buyers in your area are finding you? One of the best ways to connect with the local community is online via local search. A 2013 comScore study showed that more than 86 percent of smartphone owners use local search on their devices.
To see how local search works, just visit your favorite search engine and type in “restaurants” or “lawyers.” The results that come up first are typically the businesses closest to you. These results are determined through local SEO. Check out these 4 tips for implementing a local SEO strategy on your site:
1. Contact Information
Sometimes businesses forget to include their contact information on their websites. Make sure a business address and phone number is listed. You’ll also want to include the operating hours. This information should be listed on your company Facebook page, too. When researching your business, customers may turn to the social networking site and you’ll want those users to be able to contact you, too.
2. Keyword Strategy
If you’re a baker, you probably already have the word “bakery” on your site. But do you have the word “Houston” too? Include your location as part of your keyword strategy. Using a combination of city and an additional keyword will alert Google– making you appear in those local search results. If you’re close to any attractions, add those words, too. If I need a bakery near the state museum, yours will likely come up first.
3. Directory Listings and Google+ Local
Business directories are a popular way for consumers to find information on local businesses. You’ll want to make sure you’re listed on as many of these directories as possible. Some popular ones include Yelp and Google+ Local. Make sure you list accurate contact information and your company website on these entries.
You’ll also want to claim your Google+ Local page so that you can upload photos and update information. By using your Google+ Local page, you’ll show up in Google Maps results. Check to make sure Google shows your business in the correct location. (Sometimes Google Maps is a little off.) If it’s unclear, you might add more accurate location information in a description.
Many customers will check out reviews before they call you or come to your business. Customers can leave reviews on most directory sites including Google+ Local. Positive reviews from regular customers are a major boost to local SEO. You can even offer a small incentive to your customers for leaving reviews. Responding to reviews will encourage other customers to leave reviews as well because your guests will enjoy the interaction.
By implementing a local SEO strategy, you’ll ensure your best customers can find you easily. Make sure you have your contact information accurately displayed on the Internet, make sure you’re using localized keywords, check that your business is listed on directories and you’re accumulating reviews. If you live in an especially competitive area, you may consider consulting an SEO expert to help you with other local strategies.