Building an online presence is crucial for small businesses to draw new customers and build brand awareness. According to a digital marketing report from Visual Objects, 76% of consumers look for a company’s online presence before visiting the business in person. Small businesses that optimize their content with local SEO strategies can rank better in search results, getting seen by more potential customers. In fact, 45% of consumers are likely to visit a company’s physical location based on a solid online presence through searches.
In a previous post on optimizing your WordPress website, one of our key pieces of advice is to have a good SEO plugin to boost your website’s performance. This includes optimizing your business’s online content and boosting your visibility. A good SEO plugin (such as The SEO Framework or Rank Math SEO) can also help fine-tune your local SEO strategy. In this post, we’ll examine how local SEO can help your small business in today’s digital landscape.
Importance of targeting local keywords
Optimizing your SEO strategy to target local keywords can help improve online engagement and create a more laser-focused approach to your organization’s digital marketing strategy. Inc’s feature on optimizing your localized PPC campaign explains how investing in local campaigns instead of larger, national campaigns can help you spot and avoid inefficiencies more easily.
Another advantage to targeting local keywords is that you are more likely to drive sales and business growth by building a solid local online presence. 30% of searches for products or services in a set location result in a purchase, and over 93% of Americans search online to find a local business that is near and accessible to them. With that said, what are some strategies you can implement to improve your local SEO?
The Role of Google My Business
Google My Business (GMB) is a free online business feature that lets users quickly find your company on the local map for relevant information and product listings. An article on GMB from Women Love Tech explains how the GMB platform offers useful features to use SEO and keyword-friendly content, ask questions and get quick replies, and post business reviews.
One of the ways you can optimize your GMB profile is by relying on visual information for your customers to see. Rich, visual content can help convey basic knowledge to visitors and keep them interested. Creative images, valuable infographics, stats, tutorials, and “How To”s can encourage potential customers to keep engaging with your business' online content and move through your site.
When setting up your GMB, keep in mind that you’ll need to abide by Google’s rules in order to stay on their good side. For instance, your place of business typically needs to be a physical location dedicated to your business. It cannot be a coworking space or a shared business address used by multiple business owners. If you work from home, you can use your home address and then set up your account so your home address doesn’t display. Complying with Google’s rules ensures your business constantly qualifies for the GMB feature. This is essential because, as explained above, GMB can help potential customers find your business more easily.
Building Local Citations
Outside of pay-per-click (PPC) campaigns and using the GMB platform, you’ll also want to market your business locally by building local citations on other websites. This includes presenting or mentioning your business name, address, and phone number so that potential customers know where and how to find your business — or find out more about it. Building local citations also means getting your business listed on local directories.
Most online directories are completely free, so this shouldn’t be a problem. GMB counts as an online directory as it can your business to customers searching locally using Google Maps. Other online directories include Yelp, Yellow Pages, Foursquare, and Manta.
Local Link-Building Strategies
Like the general practice of link building, localized link building means building contextually and locally relevant links to your business website. For example, if you are a clothing store in San Antonio, Texas, part of your local link-building strategy would be to have your store mentioned in online articles listing the best clothing stores in San Antonio. This means that people in San Antonio looking for new clothing stores may see your business and consider visiting your shop.
However, when building links locally, be sure to avoid fake advertising. Insights on fake advertising by SEO firm Ayima warn against using fake advertisements, such as “clickbait” to drive users to a site they weren’t expecting. Avoid using misleading images and claims about your products and services — unless you can back them up! — and do your best to present your business with transparency and honesty.
The Importance of Online Reviews
Lastly, once you’ve done everything you can to attract local customers to your business through an authentic and engaging digital presence, it’s up to your customers to do the rest. A feature on customer behavior from Entrepreneur highlights that over 89% of consumers are more likely to use a business that responds to online reviews. Fortunately, 92% of respondents in a different survey said they write reviews if they are satisfied with a company’s service or products.
When potential customers see your business after searching locally, they are more likely to think positively of you when they see that other customers in the area have tried your business’s products or services and were satisfied. This is why your business’s aftersales support is crucial. Not only does it help establish a positive relationship with your customers, but it’s also a good way to get them to engage with your business by providing feedback or reviews for future improvements to your business.
Also keep in mind that each generation has different shopping habits. While “Baby Boomers” are more likely to shop in stores, “Millenials” are more likely to shop online. In fact, if given a choice, 37% of Millennials would rather shop online rather than in-store.
After delivering your product or service to your customer, this is the perfect time to ask them to leave a review. In most cases, customers will not leave a review if you don’t ask them to, which is why a call to action is important. Assuming they are on your email list after they have received your product or service, you could email them to let them know that you appreciate their business and then ask if they would kindly leave a 5-star review. Don’t forget to link to your GMB listing where they can do so. One of the best ways to encourage customers to leave feedback or reviews is by offering incentives such as vouchers or discounts for the next purchase.
This article was written by Alicia Warren and submitted exclusively for Powerful Digital Solutions.
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