Welcome back to our Beginner’s Guide blog series where we help you wrap your head around some of the most easily misunderstood marketing concepts.
Today we’ll tackle Local SEO: how it can help your business and how you can get started right away!
Perhaps you live in a big city and are the owner of a local business.
You have a great website, offer fantastic customer service, and always get the job done—BUT so do your competitors.
Now, how do you get customers to choose you over them? The answer is simple: with Local SEO!
If you’ve never done or heard of Local SEO before, don’t fret—everything will be explained right here.
Local SEO is just another branch of Search Engine Optimization (SEO), and the main purpose of applying it is so you can rank your business higher than the competition on a search engine (ex: Google) in a specific neighbourhood, city, or region.
It’s as simple as that!
And we can help you get started right away with these five simple steps:
STEP ONE: Set Up Your Google My Business Page!
This profile allows you to register your business on Google where you can display information such as:
- Business Name
- Business Category
- Telephone Number
- Photos of your business and location
- Social posts to announce news, deals, and offers
Besides the features mentioned above, your business can also be displayed on Google Maps once it becomes verified.
The verification process is quite simple (you are sent a postcard with a code you’ll then submit).
This process typically takes 2-3 weeks, but with the current Covid-19 conditions, it may take a couple of weeks longer.
STEP TWO: Optimize Your Google My Business Page!
The second step to ranking your business locally is to fully (100%, no exceptions) optimize your Google My Business profile.
You are given a lot of opportunities to display and share information with current and prospective customers so this should be an advantage, as it can help your business become more visible.
To stand out even more, try making regular weekly posts.
This is a nice way to grab some attention by sharing tips and tricks, detailed information, or sales.
STEP THREE: Focus on Your Google My Business Reviews!
This step is often overlooked by many business owners using Google My Business, but it’s too important to skip!
Simply use the “Asking for a review” function to get customer feedback, and watch your business grow!
Here’s why getting reviews is incredibly important:
- If a great review is posted, it builds trust with new customers by letting them know your business is reputable and offers good quality services or products.
- If a negative review is posted, it immediately lets you know as a business owner what is not working well, so you can implement changes right away. Also, by responding to a negative review right away you can offer a solution to the customer.
- Having many strong reviews can also help to improve your Click Through Rate (CTR). When a potential customer sees a business with 2 positive reviews versus one with dozens or hundreds of positive reviews, which one do you think they’ll choose? A strong online reputation will bring in more visitors.
Here’s an example of how to respond to a POSITIVE Google Review:
Here’s an example of how to respond to a NEGATIVE Google Review:
STEP FOUR: Add Citation Links!
Now that your business profile is completely filled out with reviews pouring in and weekly posts going out, you can start to add some citations for your business.
What is a Citation, you ask?
Simply put, a citation is very similar to a backlink (where a link from another website points back to yours), but they’re obtained by using local and national directories.
For example, if you google “Pizza Hut” (Flinnwest’s #1 pizza of choice) you’d see some of their ads, their website, and below that you’ll see websites like Yellow Pages, Yelp, Zomato, and Facebook displaying Pizza Hut’s information. These are citations.
When adding citations, there are a few important things to take note of:
• Always use the same Business Name, Address, and Phone Number.
You should be using the exact same information as you did on your Google My Business page.
When Google does a scan of internet pages and some of the details on the citations are incorrect, they may not associate those particular citations with your business.
Below are some citations that can be used to kickstart your Local SEO campaign.
- Your “local” Chamber of Commerce or Business Directory (ex: our Flinnwest Solutions is with the White Rock Business Directory).
- Yellow Pages
- Hot Frog
Only sign up for citations that are relevant for your business (ex: if you run a construction business, only sign up for citations that are relevant to the construction industry.
Adding your business to directories related to electronics or restaurants will not help your business and can do more harm than good).
Extra Tip: When you’re ready to begin your citation building, you should first create a spreadsheet to store all of your information (logins, passwords, NAP, and links for social media accounts). This will make it much easier to copy and paste your information over.
STEP FIVE: Create Content For Your Website & Social Media!
This is our last step and is for you to focus on producing pieces of content that can be posted on websites local to your business area.
By doing this you can potentially get backlinks from other local businesses, as well as rank for keywords that are relevant to your business and location.
This content can be about jobs you’ve completed, companies you’ve partnered with in the past, or any new services your company offers and how they can help your city.
If you found this blog helpful, keep an eye out for more of our Beginner’s Guide blog series (like this one about CRM software: what it is and how it can help your business expand and prosper)!