If you’re a local business owner, this post is for you. With more than 50% of people in the United States owning or working for a small business according to the Small Business Administration (including myself), helping and supporting local businesses is a bit of a passion for me. I am writing a post on how to get your business found by your potential customers via local business SEO (Search Engine Optimization). Below are 7 tips for getting your business found on Google:
Tip #1 – Get a Good Website!
Most everyone uses the internet now to get information, even local information. Your potential customers are searching on their smartphones (nearly 60% of all searches now!), tablets, and desktops for products like yours. If you’re not there, your competitors will be. I recommend any legitimate business to get a professional website, it’s the central point of all your internet marketing efforts. Not only does a clean, professional, mobile-friendly website legitimize your business, it is information owned by you! I like to say a website is your digital location. It’s another channel to show off your products/services, collect leads, and collect important data via Google Analytics. My #1 tip for local business SEO is to get a quality website (I highly recommend WordPress) for your business, it’s worth the investment.
Tip #2 – Get Quality NAP Citations
First of all, what are NAP citations? NAP stands for Name Address Phone. Sometimes a “W” will be added after NAP, which stands for Website. These are standard listings of a company’s pertinent information for search engines to use and find. Think of this as the Yellow Pages of the web, but with thousands of available citation websites at your disposal. Your NAP are validations to Google and other search engine spiders that your business is legit. Some citations are more valuable than others, such as adding your NAP to Google and Facebook. One thing I must emphasize, your NAP should be EXACTLY the same everywhere. Inconsistencies can kill your local rankings because it confuses search engine spiders. My #2 tip for local business SEO, get quality NAP citations and make sure they are all EXACTLY the same.
Tip #3 – Research Local Citation Sites in your Industry
Not only is it important to have your NAP listed on quality recognized citations, but also to have quality citations locally and in your niche. If you don’t believe me, let me show you an example for massage therapists (I Google’d “massage therapist near me”, I am located in West Palm Beach)
As you can see, the above is a combination of regulation citations (Yelp) and specialized citations for that specific industry. Google puts a lot of stock in citations and it’s important to get your NAP and website listed in the most important directories for your business. My #3 tip for local business SEO is to find quality local and niche citations for your business.
Tip #4 – Get Quality Reviews from your Customers
In the above image, I did not include the 3 map listings, also known as “structured data”. In addition to the above tips, getting quality 4 and 5 star reviews is important to Google to rank your business. Do not spam these reviews, it’s important to get real reviews from your real customers. Not every review needs to be a 5 star as it looks more authentic with a few 3 and 4 stars mixed in. However, if your reviews are very negative (below a 3.5) I recommend creating a review strategy ASAP. There are some crazy statistics about reviews out there that show just how vital they are from a psychological perspective for your potential customers. Just a few:
- 93% of consumers say reviews have an impact on their purchase decisions. (source: thedrum.com)
- 82% of consumers say the content of a review has convinced them to make a purchase. (source: thedrum.com)
- 63% of consumers are willing to pay up to 15% more for the same product/service if assured they’d have a better experience. (source: thedrum.com)
My #4 tip for local business SEO is to get real, quality reviews from your customers.
Tip #5 – Target Local Keywords
In addition to having your business listed locally on top citation sites, you can also target highly searched local keywords that your customers are searching for on Google. One way I do this is through blogging (such as this post! However, I am targeting a non-local keyword with this post). Creating content on your website is a great way to target local keywords. Building a strategy around local keywords can be quite effective to get people to find your business’ website to learn about your business and how you can help them. My #5 tip for local business SEO is to build a strategy to target local keywords your customers are using with intent for your products or services.
Tip #6 – Boost Your Local Keywords with Quality Back-links
My #6 tip for local business SEO is to get quality back-links. After you have a created content targeting keywords, it’s important to bring authority to your pages. A big factor in this is back-links. Back-links are links that other websites use to reference your pages. While using social media to link to your content is a great practice (Google sees receiving social media links as “social signals”) they won’t necessarily give you the ‘juice’ that other quality links do. That is because social media links are “no-follow” links. However, more shares and interactions to your posts, the more Google can assess that your content is popular. It’s important to have a nice mixture of “no-follow” links as well as “do-follow” links.
An example of a “do-follow” link is the following: Thank you Umbayi at Moments Massage Therapy for providing the featured photo at the top of this post as well as an giving me an exceptional massage, truly a master of her trade. I am telling Google that Umbayi’s URL is valuable to me by linking (contextually – meaning, links typically found in the body of text on a website that naturally fit in the ideas being discussed) to it and giving it the “do-follow” link juice. While social media are “no-follow” links, they can be incredibly beneficial to get the word out about your post which can be linked by other websites. Also, search engine results can list your blog posting on google in the actual search results.
Tip #7 – Find and Respond to Negative Comments
My final tip for local business SEO is to find and respond to negative comments. Some comments are obvious, such as on Google. But there are millions of pages on Google with all types of content where comments can evade your grasps. It is very important for your business to respond to negative comments because it shows other potential customers and customers that you care about correcting or fixing the issue. A business that has many negative comments with no response from the business is a major red flag for potential customers. Being timely in response is also important. If 1 month goes by with no response, many people will see this. Just respond timely and nicely!
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The Bart Organization is an Internet Marketing company that helps businesses of all sizes either start digital marketing strategies or improve their current digital marketing efforts. We specialize in internet marketing services including: Social media marketing, digital advertising, SEO strategy, local SEO services, and website strategy. We also perform SEO West Palm Beach, Miami SEO, Fort Lauderdale SEO, and Charlotte SEO for clients. Contact us today to see how we can help!