Imagine you own an amazing and highly aesthetic bookstore. People love your place; the ambiance, the range of books available but you get limited customers like no one apart from the local populace knows about you. Only those few highly familiar faces frequent your bookstore, sit reading books, and sipping coffee. Frustrating, right?
Having a business with great potential for growth but stagnated by low outreach needs more digital visibility. Business owners can begin with baby steps towards building a wider audience through Local SEO. This not only helps your business profile rank better than your competitors but also ensures a wide base of reliable customers who constantly push you towards improvement.
How to Optimize your Google My Business (GMB) profile?
Here is the Local SEO guide for all your digital business needs.
We have all had bad experiences trying to find authentic contact details for a business. Don’t let your business be one.
1. The first step to a great local presence is to build a GMB profile with clear details about your business for potential customers. The name of your business, your location, contact number, and your website if you have one are vital details for increasing the on-page engagement of viewers. Besides, you should also add the primary and secondary categories that your business falls into.
By putting as much relevant information about your business; services, offers, rates, etc. on your GMB profile, you increase the chances of getting customers who have already made up their minds to choose your services.
You can add the following details which can prove helpful to you and your customers, who will always appreciate it when information is readily available and accessible.
● Add your business hours
● Business attributes like Payment methods
● Products and services
● High-quality interior & exterior photos
● Track questions and answers
Keep your profile up-to-date
Pro Tip: Don’t risk disappointing your customers by closing your business early and wasting their time just because you didn’t send out a notice about the timing change. Remember, a disappointed customer hardly walks in again.
2. Publish relevant posts consistently.
GMB is not a boring ‘About Us’ page that stays the same. It’s all about posting updates about your business. Offering new services or products? Let your customers know. Started that tempting season sale? Why hesitate to put it up?
The old times are gone and so are the chances to expand by putting up banners in shop windows. In the age of the Internet boom, what is online has a greater chance of being seen.
3. Encourage customer reviews (And don’t forget to respond).
Remember to gently inquire if your customers are pleased with your service and if there is anything you could do to improve. Subtly request them to leave reviews on your GMB profile. Make the process easier for them by sending links as reminders or putting up QR codes all-around your place.
Do not pester your customers. The sure-shot way to get reviews (good ones) is by serving well and not being too persistent.
“As much as personal recommendations, 90% of consumers trust online reviews.”
P.S.: It doesn’t end here. Remember to reply to the reviews you get. Say thank you to the ones you like and apologize to the customers who weren’t as happy as you wanted. Success begins with acknowledging one’s loopholes and promising to work on them.
4. Build citations in local directories-
Mentions of your Name, Email, Phone No. (NAP) in various business directories, websites, and social media pages are citations. Yes, you need lots of them, but authentic ones.
Citations impact your rankings and help Google validate your contact info. They provide backlinks which are a great way to generate more traffic.
You can get more authentic citations by performing a citation audit to help you know your citation pool and build more. Filter out inauthentic, inconsistent, or duplicate ones by using powerful tools like Moz Local. Build citations manually by submitting your info on several directories.
5. Phone numbers that don’t work are a great turn-off for the customers. Keep updating.
Use Social Media-
All local businesses need a sensational online presence. Build a great audience pool and they will turn in to your customers in no time. Business updates on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn help build your brand name and image and gain popularity.
FYI- Social media pages are breeding grounds for NAP citations too.
1. Research Local Keywords-
● Make a list of local keywords that are working for people and use them extensively. Keep an eye on your competitors and take hints.
● What you need to keep in mind is to use keywords with local relevance.
● Narrowing down the search results for your local SEO will do your business better rather than the general keywords.
2. On-Page SEO Optimization-
Once your list of keywords is ready, you need to optimize your business by-
Creating Landing Pages
Landing pages help your website rank higher on Google. Create landing pages like:
● Location Landing Pages- For every location, you operate your business, it’s important to have a separate landing page to help customers sift through easily and find information about the business location most accessible to them.
● Services Landing Pages- For all the various services you offer, create a separate page. Having a ‘Contact capture’/ Contact Button for every service page is even better.
● About Page- Introduce your company to new customers but make it brief and interesting.
● Contact Page- Whether you leave your email id or Phone No. or want your customers to leave their contact information, this is the place to do that. Longer contact time is a potential factor for losing customers.
3. Building (Local) Backlinks-
Take steps to ensure some other pages create links to your site. This will improve your rank and also increase the traffic on your page. Talk to other businesses for ‘blog’ collaboration, become a podcast guest and find websites that link to your competitors so that you can partner with them as well.
Backlinks are a great way to make your page rank better and widen your audience.
4. Ensuring Your Page is Fast & Mobile Friendly-
Make sure your website runs on mobile as well. Not having this function can seriously hamper your business as you will be missing out on a lot of traffic and business. Another important factor is to have a website that performs well on mobile, here are some tips:
● Make sure it’s fast and responsive.
● Keep things simple so that people know what you are offering.
● Periodically test the mobile version
Things to do while your Local SEO kicks in.
It takes time for the Local SEO to kick in, depending on the level of online competition in your area. While you wait for the results try short-term ways to drive traffic instantly to your profile/website. Use Local Ads on keywords and ‘Google Maps’.
Businesses need to be popularized along with quality work and great services. SEO is not a one-time task and it’s important to keep modifying and restructuring constantly. You never know when Google will introduce new features on its SERPs for local searches but you can count on these changes coming and stay on the top of local SEO.
Maximizing your digital presence and visibility is a long process but even the journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. Take that step today. SEO your business and reach the heights you have always dreamt of.