Nowadays, many people believe that businesses that primarily operate online are winning over businesses that operate locally. However, just because online shopping has become more common and more convenient, it doesn’t mean that the local brick and mortar shops are losing any momentum. As a matter of fact, people are more willing to trust a local business they can visit each day, rather than some unknown business that operates online only. Still, that doesn’t mean that local businesses don’t require online exposure and presence.
That being said, online visibility is now more important than ever for any business, no matter where they operate. The main reason is that consumers rely on online research to find what they’re looking for. That’s why it’s important for local businesses to leverage search engine optimization (SEO), in order to make themselves more visible and available for online customers. What’s more, appearing on top of the search results means your business is more likely to be contacted, especially since you’re in the customer’s vicinity. Here are a few most effective SEO tactics for local businesses.
List your business on Google My Business
Google allows local businesses to build their own presence and improve their SEO efforts. With Google My Business (GMB) feature, businesses can provide detailed information about their whereabouts, company information, contact information and other. That way, your business will become more visible to whoever searches for local businesses online. In addition, you can even create your own website through this feature, that is if you haven’t got one in place already. Moreover, you can add visual content and user reviews to improve your credibility and customer engagement.
However, Google provides means to promote your business and make it more visible, but it’s up to you to ensure that your website is SEO-friendly and properly indexed. That way, you’ll ensure good rankings on search engines. For instance, GMB also allows you to create content and post it on Google, in order to update your audience and keep them engaged. That’s why you need to optimize your titles and meta descriptions, so that your business descriptions and posts are clearly defined in search results.
List on other business directories
Google is a great place to build your visibility, but you must also be where your customers are, in order to further boost that visibility. That’s why it’s important to list your local business on other listing directories as well. Customers that do online search, may check multiple resources before they make a decision. The more places you market your business the better, especially if the local market is oversaturated like Hong Kong for example. In such cases, handling too much competition may be difficult. Aaron Weller from Hong Kong’s Elevate Digital explains that directories as an SEO tactic “require a lot of focus and labour, but it certainly pays off. The only thing you really need to be concerned about is the credibility of sites you are thinking about approaching. You don’t really want to connect your brand with notorious, spammy domains.“
Furthermore, listing your business on other directories, such as Bing, Yahoo, Yelp, Yellow Pages and so on, will give you more exposure. However, it’s important to ensure that information you provide on various listings, such as location, phone number, website address etc. is synchronized on all directories. That way, you’ll avoid confusions and inconveniences that may lead to bad customer experience.
Add quality content to your website
Even local business need to market themselves online, in order to attract customers and grow their business. In the marketing world, content is king and content marketing can be extremely beneficial for local businesses in both engaging customers and improving rankings. In fact, quality content is at the top of the list of most important ranking factors for Google.
That’s why it’s important to develop highly relevant and interesting content for your audience. Not only will you be able to drive more engagement from your audience, but you’ll also gain favor from search engines, such as Google. Just make sure that the content on your website is optimized properly. In addition, ensure that your content includes the keywords you’re ranking for. That way, it will be indexed the in accordance with the search engine demands and made available in search results.
Manage on-site SEO
There are many on-site SEO aspects that are also ranking signals for search engines. Not only that, but on-site SEO contributes to improving customer experience and satisfaction, as well as your website’s SEO friendliness. In short, on-site SEO helps users and search engines have better understanding of what your web pages are all about and their relevancy to related keywords. What you can do is include keywords into your title tags and ensure your URL’s are SEO friendly.
Moreover, website speed and mobile friendliness are ranking factors for search engines. Therefore, make sure your website is fast with a responsive design, so that your pages and content can be properly viewed on various devices. Furthermore, you can enrich your content with multimedia, such as images, videos, infographics and so on, to boost engagement. In addition, you should use outbound links to boost your website’s credibility and help search engines understand the topics of your pages. Simply put, on-site SEO helps improve both user experience and search engine rankings.
Add user reviews and testimonials
Customer experience is crucial to business success and their reviews can be a powerful marketing tool. Using customer reviews and testimonials can boost engagement and improve your rankings. In addition, responding to reviews help you build trust and more personal relationships with online consumers. Furthermore, online reviews can be used to build your business as a credible and trustworthy source, as well as to build your online reputation.
As a matter of fact, 91% of people read online reviews, while 84% of online consumers trust reviews as much as personal recommendations. What’s more, search engines take these reviews into consideration when determining your ranking. The quantity of reviews, their velocity and diversity influence your rankings. The main reason search engines prefer online reviews is that they play a major role in influencing purchasing decisions. That’s why having as much positive reviews and testimonials as possible, can greatly improve your business reputation and your search rankings.
Local SEO helps business improve their visibility and online presence, in order to make themselves more accessible and relevant to customers who browse the Web. With the right SEO tactics, local businesses can greatly expand their reach and improve their overall exposure. After all, just because you have a local shop, it doesn’t mean you can’t utilize the potential of online marketing to your advantage.
Emma is a digital marketer and blogger from Sydney. After getting a marketing degree she started working with Australian startups on business and marketing development. Emma writes for many relevant, industry related online publications and does a job of an Executive Editor at Bizzmark blog and a guest lecturer at Melbourne University. Interested in marketing, startups and latest business trends.