Keeping a strong and updated local search presence is essential for good SEO, especially in the case of small businesses. Getting to the forefront of the local search results in your area means that you are a trusted expert to those looking for a service, product, or information, but it isn’t as easy as it sounds. What exactly can you do to develop that kind of relationship with your customers and how do you optimize your local search presence?
Start with the Basics
The first thing you need to do when taking the local search results is setup your Google My Business profile. Google My Business gives you an amazingly easy platform to deliver all the necessary NAP information your customers could ever need, while giving them the perfect place to reach out with reviews or questions. A GMB profile also allows you to qualify for local map packs on search results pages, one of the most important places to be in the local search landscape.
Another simple step is to build some online citations or listings for your business. Start with more general areas like Yellow Pages, the BBB, and even Facebook (yes, your business’ Facebook page counts!) Then start to build out more niche listings for your industry and city. These can provide better ways for your business to appear in more local-based searches, along the line of “landscaping in Houston” or “plumbing in New York”. Ultimately, all these business listing services will give customers even more opportunities to find your contact information in search results, and hopefully leading to your next lead.
Review, review, review
A huge factor in the buying process is research, and customers will more often than not look at the reviews for your business before even picking up the phone. This is where your GMB profile and other listings like Facebook and Yelp come into play. Beyond providing up-to-date contact information and business descriptions, you should strive to respond to reviews and criticism with open arms. This will give you a great opportunity to showcase your customer service in responding to negative or neutral reviews with help, and shine even more light on positive reviews to show future customers that you’ll really care about their business. Reviews also help you show Google that people trust you as an industry resource, allowing you to continue building your local SEO ranking while developing relationships with your customers.
Content is still king
One thing that many business overlook is the importance of localized content on their website. Especially if you are a multi-location business, you should look to build in-depth and informative content for your service area(s). Build some new pages on your site to focus on your city, your industry, and even particular products or services that your offer. Consider adding a blog if you feel that the articles you create will prove a valuable resource to potential customers. You want to impress your readers with these pages and show them that you are a part of the same city they live in. Both will help you build a sense of trust with customers and help you stand out in local search results.
A word of advice on content, don’t create one brick of text and change out the keywords from page to page. Not only does this look lazy in the eyes of your potential customers, it will hurt your standing with Google as it is a display of duplicate content on your site. You want to create genuine and interesting content on each of these pages, giving readers an explanation of why you should be the business they ultimately choose.
Optimize your website…REGULARLY
Website upkeep is not a one and done task. You need to ensure that you have a healthy, well-performing site on a regular basis, and take the time to make necessary updates to improve things like site speed, page load times, and content. Make sure that you have Google Analytics and Google Search Console accounts setup, and then implement your tracking code on your website. This will allow you to monitor important user engagement metrics, as well as check your site for issues.
Keeping your website healthy and avoiding spammy content tactics will help you with Google as their bots won’t flag the site when it is crawled. A secure site with frequently updated content and user-friendly optimizations can make a world of a difference in your local search rankings as Google will be more likely to display your pages to users in search results.
The most important piece to focus on when developing a local search presence is the customer. Everything you do to and for your website should be with the end goal of providing an easier user-experience to searchers. By providing a wealth of information on your products and services, all while creating a straightforward path to the desired resources, you can build the necessary trust with potential customers that will help you excel in the local search landscape.