Most small business owners have a basic understanding of the power of Search Engine Optimization (or SEO). In a nutshell, SEO helps people find your business. While the concept is simple, building a strategy that works successfully can be daunting.
People often assume that all SEO is the same and if they have optimized their site, then they have done their job. Unfortunately, that is not the case. Local SEO is more of a subset, and a whole new ballgame because it is location based. Research shows that 50 percent of users who search for a local business on a mobile phone visit it within a day. This means you have an opportunity to capture a massive amount of traffic by taking a few simple steps that are local SEO specific.
Optimizing for local business will make a huge difference in lead generation and your revenue. While it is a sustainable practice, some business owners prefer to outsource this. This is a service I provide for my clients. But, here’s the great thing about local SEO – basic local SEO is pretty straightforward and anyone with a computer and knowledge of your business can do it. The hardest part is making an effort and finding the time to do it. If you don’t have the time or the desire, I can help. Or you can try these simple way of doing it yourself.
Simple ways to increase your leads and revenue with local SEO for your small business.
Set Up and Claim Your Google My Business Listing
Google My Business is not only free and easy to do, but it increases and improves your business’s search engine rankings. Once you start the registration process online, Google will want to verify either your businesses details such as name, address, phone, website, etc. Google offers a few different options for verifying your business in order to make it easy for you.
HELPFUL TIP #1: As you complete Google’s online form, it’s important that information such as business name, address, phone number and business categories match for their verification process. So, try to use information that will match what you’ve predominantly been using in the past for online advertisements or for your business info on social media profiles. If you’re a brand new business, be sure the info you use for your Google My Business listing is the same that you’ll use for future online listings or social media.
HELPFUL TIP #2: It is also a good idea to upload some high-quality photos of your business, logo, and the services you provide. While they don’t have to be professional photographs, I would make sure they are high-quality photos because they are a reflection of your business. If you have a brick and mortar location then include a street view photo. Finally, include three to eight pictures of services, employees, top products, logo, etc. Top-quality, compelling images will enhance your business listing.
Create Profiles with Matching NAPs in Other Directories (Yelp, CitySearch, etc.)
There are other online directories, such as Yelp and CitySearch, as well as many industry-specific listing services that are free and reputable. Use these to your advantage by creating listings there, too.
HELPFUL TIP #1: It is essential that the business name, address and phone number (NAP) exactly match that of the Google My Business Listing. Otherwise, it is confusing for the audience and the search engines may not associate the two. However, each listing is additional exposure for your business.
HELPFUL TIP #2: Many industries have specific listing services that are very popular used by the public. Depending on your industry, there may be niche specific listings where you can also create profiles for your business. Search for “listing service directory for [insert industry here]”.
HELPFUL TIP #3: To boost visibility on sites like, Yelp, consider running a special promo or even a paid ad.
Optimize Content with Local Reviews
People trust genuine reviews, and they use them. They are considered a personal recommendation from a stranger. Their impact is significant. Close to 80% of people read reviews online BEFORE decided whether or not to purchase a product or service. Ask for them and use them efficiently. People don’t like to give out personal information, but most will give you a name and a zip code with their review.
HELPFUL TIP #1: If you have a page called TESTIMONIALS or REVIEWS on your website, get rid of it. Instead, place reviews strategically throughout the regular and top-ranked pages of your website. Web pages with a long list of reviews will often get dismissed. If someone gives you a fantastic review about how great the product works, then it should be posted somewhere near the description of that particular products page.
Include an Interactive Map and a Click-to-Call Widget or Button on Your Homepage
Maps are just plain easy, widgets work, and people love to click buttons on websites. The map gives people an immediate location and directions if needed, and lets them know how far away they are from your business. The click-to-call button makes it easy for them to push a button and make contact with your company immediately.
Bottom line: When it comes to marketing and driving new leads, many businesses focus on the big picture, completely forgetting their local search presence. If you forget your local and even regional marketing and SEO, eventually your leads will dry up, sales will drop, and your competitors will begin taking more and more business from you.
But, if you’ll follow these simple principles, you should easily be able to start attracting more leads and see an increase in revenue and profitability.