Brick-and-mortar businesses need to have an online presence if they want to remain relevant and competitive in today’s market. It’s estimated that four out of five customers find the information they need online first before making a purchase. If you don’t appear in their online search, you are missing out on potential sale opportunities. To build an online presence, especially in the local community, you need to master local SEO (Search Engine Optimization).
Local SEO is the act of optimizing your business listing so as to improve its rankings when a user enters a location-specific query related to your business. For example, if you have a beauty spa in Houston and a user enters the phrase “top Houston spas”, yours should appear in one of the top positions if your local SEO is done right. Many times, the user doesn’t even need to enter the location name to get local results. Google automatically tracks their IP address so it will display local results matching the user’s location.
Local Map Pack
A typical local search result page consists of two parts: a local map pack and the usual organic results. It’s the local map pack that local businesses want to target. In this part, Google will display a list of local businesses matching the query, together with pinpoints on the map showing where those businesses are located. This will improve user experience, since the user can find what they are looking for right at the top without having to look through the rest of the results. Your problem as a local business is how to appear in this local pack.
Google My Business
Google My Business has become the creme de la creme when it comes to local search optimization. It’s your way of proving to Google that your business is legit and really is based in the location you claim it to be. It’s completely free to set up a Google My Business profile, and you can do it in less than 15 minutes. Make sure to fill out as much relevant information as possible about your establishment. Google uses this information to determine if your listing is relevant to a user’s search intent or not.
One of the best parts of Google My Business is that it lets users leave reviews. The number of reviews you receive has a direct impact on your organic rankings. That’s why most stores take every possible chance to request a review from happy customers. What if you get a negative review? Ignoring them may create the wrong impression that you don’t care about your customers. The most appropriate approach is to reply to those negative reviews and try to resolve the problem. This way, you may turn an angry customer into a happy one while maintaining a good online public image.
If you are a big brand planning to tackle a foreign market or a small business trying to dominate your city, website localization is the very first step that may determine your chance of success. For global brands, each culture and country has its own peculiar use of language, dialect, and cultural context that a brand has to adapt to in order to connect with the local audience. By building a site that truly speaks the local language, you have already achieved a major milestone in your marketing goal. Local small businesses should aim to include references and images of your target city. For example including references to local awards such as the “Voted Best Caterer in Lodi” or utilizing phrases such as “Tracy’s Premier Chiropractor”.
Local SEO is not a set-and-forget thing. It requires constant monitoring and optimization to make sure you keep up with the competition. The reward that comes once you have reached your local SEO goal is enormous, and for some small businesses, local SEO is the only way they can compete with bigger brands.
To learn more about how to use SEO to maximize your revenue or for a free website audit, call us at (209) 965-7678 or click below.