First things first: if you do not have a brick and mortar store, your target audience / client is not local to your business, and / or you do all of your business online and it doesn’t matter where your clients are located, then you don’t really need to read this article.
But if any of the above scenarios apply to your business, then you should be very interested in how you can attract LOCAL SEARCH to help drive traffic to your website.
In this quick article, I’m going to show you five things you can do right now to help increase your business’ local search traffic
(1) Sign Up For ‘Google My Business’
This used to be called many names – Google Places, Google Plus For Business, Google Business Page. I know…I wish they’d make up their minds too. But let’s be frank for a moment. Google is the grand poobah of search engines. You want to make certain you are known to them. And if you’re a local business (a business who’s customers are at least in part from your local area) then you literally want to get on the map (Google maps that is.)
Signing up for Google My Business makes it possible for your business to appear in local searches, on Google maps and in Google Plus. When someone local to you is out and about on their mobile device or does a search on their home computer, registering your business with Google My Business will help your business be found.
(2) Make Your Online Presence Consistent EVERYWHERE
Having a Google Plus page for your business and landing on Google Maps is awesome. But it’s not enough. Google will determine how reputable your business is based on how consistent your information is across the entire web. It’s extremely important that your business name, address, telephone number, website address, contact email ,etc. is the EXACT SAME on every website, social media account, and local search directory.
(3) Speaking of Local Search Directories – Claim Your Business
In order to make certain your contact / meta information is correct and consistent across the local search directories, you’ll need to claim your business on each of these sites. And that’s a very good thing. Anyone can go into Yelp and write a review for your business. You don’t need to create a page in order for that to happen. Anyone can do that. If you want to manage your online reputation, you need to claim and monitor your business on each of these websites and apps (Yelp, Local.com, FourSquare, Yahoo Local, City Search, Yellow Pages, Angie’s List, etc.)
Manage your business’ profile on each of these websites so not only your customers and potential customers can find you, but Google will review this information and know your business is reputable and authentic because the information on these sites is consistent and accurate.
(4) Manage Your Online Reputation
Want to appear higher in search engine results for local searches? Get good, high-quality reviews from your customers. Ask your customers to write reviews on the sites mentioned above. Don’t forget to have them write a review on your Google Plus page as well.
If you receive a negative review, don’t ignore it and don’t try to get it deleted. Nothing says “smarmy used car salesman” and shading dealing than trying to get your negative reviews deleted. Instead…DEAL with them. Respond to the negative reviewer’s comments. Apologize sincerely. Contact the reviewer to see if you can make things right.
In order to keep on top of what customers are writing about your business online, set-up a Google Alerts for your business and you’ll receive email updates about any content published online that pertains to your query.
(5) Go Local / GeoTarget Your SEO
Last but absolutely not least…make certain your SEO keywords are geotargeted. Include the area(s) your business serves in the important content of your site – for example in blog titles and page titles, in header tags of articles (h1, h2, h3, etc.) in meta descriptions, and in the actual content of your site. Please don’t be a jerk about this and cram your targeted location into every sentence of a blog post. Google doesn’t like this. It’s called keyword stuffing and you’ll be penalized for it.
Just write like a natural human being and make certain that a couple of times in the article, you’ve mentioned where your business is located.
So that’s it! Doing these 5 things can go a LONG way to helping your business be found by customers and potential customers in your area. But you have to actually implement the steps and then MANAGE the content consistently across all sites and platforms. It’s not hard…but it can prove to be quite fruitful!