Did you know that four out of every five consumers use search engines to conduct local searches? That’s why it is vital for local brands to increase their visibility online so that they can bring more local traffic to their business. If you want to boost visibility on the search engines, you will need to improve your local SEO.
Though similar to regular SEO, local search engine optimization requires specific, targeted techniques that aim to help you appear in more local search results. Below, we will provide four simple ways that you can improve your local SEO to bring more local traffic to your business:
1. Claim your company’s local online directories
If you want to show up in local searches, then your business needs to be visible on all the relevant online directories. To get started, make sure that your business is listed correctly and consistently on major business directories like Yelp as well as regional directories that feature local business listings, like the Chamber of Commerce or the local newspaper.
Check to make sure your business name is spelled correctly and that the site has listed your most up-to-date contact information such as your business address, phone number, and website. Consistency is important here because if there are discrepancies across these directories, then Google will not be able to determine which business information is correct. This could result in Google displaying the wrong information to search engine users or even not showing your business at all in the search engine results.
2. Optimize your Google My Business listing.
Google My Business (GMB) is perhaps one of the most important online business listings to claim and optimize. It’s a free listing, but it allows you to gain greater exposure when local consumers search for brands like yours online. To get started, you’ll need to verify your physical location with Google. They will send a postcard to your address with a PIN, which you will enter online after logging into your profile. This allows Google to confirm that the physical address is correct and that you are, in fact, the business owner.
Once you have claimed your GMB listing, it’s time to make sure that it’s optimized. You will need to complete your profile by entering a compelling and accurate description, providing relevant categories, entering your business hours, and providing other important information like what types of payments you accept. Make sure that you also upload your logo as well as images of your business, products, and services.
In addition to GMB, you’ll also want to claim and optimize your Bing Places for Business page. The process for claiming and optimizing your profile is very similar to Google’s. Once you’ve claimed the listing, make sure that your profile information is complete and correct. It’s important to have your business present on Bing so that you can expand your reach to include local consumers who are using this search engine as well.
3. Make sure that your social media profiles are complete and consistent.
Online directories are not the only way that local consumers find your business online. Social media sites like Facebook are also helping drive local traffic to businesses, and these sites do impact your SEO. Make sure that your social media profiles are complete, giving users a better understanding of what your company offers and why they should give you their business.
You’ll want to make sure that your NAP (Name, Address, Phone) appears correctly across social media platforms. Look for any misspellings, abbreviations, or missing content (like suite numbers or email addresses). Be sure to include your website link where applicable.
4. Encourage local customers to leave online reviews.
Online reviews are another vital part of boosting local SEO. Today’s consumers place an important emphasis on reviews. In fact, a recent survey shows that 84 percent of people trust online reviews as much as they would a personal recommendation. What’s more is that 70 percent of customers will leave a review for a business if they are asked. If you want to improve your visibility in local search results, you will need to encourage your customers to leave positive feedback on review sites.
Two of the most important places you will want to focus on getting reviews is on your Google My Business page and your Facebook page. Your GMB reviews will show up when consumers search for your company on Google, and the search engine has mentioned that quality, positive customer reviews can improve your visibility on the search engine results page. Positive Facebook reviews are important because many consumers look to social media to get recommendations for local brands.
Andy Beohar is the Chief Inbound Marketing Strategist at SevenAtoms Inc, a San Francisco Inbound Marketing and PPC Agency. At SevenAtoms, he manages and develops inbound marketing and Google AdWords strategies for companies with the goal to substantially increase their online visibility, grow their brand and bring in more leads and conversions.