With 46% of Google searches related to local information, and with a whopping 88% of the people who search for local businesses on their mobile device calling or visiting the business within 24 hours, optimizing your business’s online presence to maximize your position in local search results is a must. The process of doing that is what’s generally known as “local SEO.” Note that this only applies if you have a brick-and-mortar business, or you only serve people within a certain geographic area.
How Can Local Seo Help My Business?
Let me count the ways. When someone searches for businesses like yours on their mobile device, the resulting “map pack” Google shows will give them an idea of the address of each business relative to their current location. It will also list each business in the order it thinks is most helpful based on their search query. If you come up on the top of that list, you’ve succeeded at local SEO. If you’ve never dabbled in local SEO, there’s one tarea you need to optimize before anything else.
Make The Most of Google My Business
You may have noticed I’ve mentioned Google several times in this article. That’s because both Android and iOS phones default to Google whenever someone initiates a search. So, if there’s any search engine you want to optimize your site for, that’s the one.
Therefore, the first thing you should do is follow the instructions to set up a Google My Business account. If you’ve got a brand-new business, and you’re wondering how to initiate your online presence, this should come before creating your website but after you create your social media profiles.
The theme to remember while creating your GMB profile is that in general, more is better. So, you’re going to want to fill in every field you can, without going overboard. Here are a few examples:
- Be Sure to Enter a Local Phone Number: That’s part of how Google knows you’re a local business with a limited service area.
- Double-Check Your Hours of Operation: There’s nothing more annoying than trying to patronize a business only to find that they’re closed when their listing says they should be open. That’s a good way to get people irritated with you which can easily be ameliorated if you simply make sure you’re open when you say you will be.
- Tell Your Story: Don’t be afraid to show how proud you are that you’re superior to your competition. Your description is your chance to use your words to help your business shine. (We’ll get to pictures next.) Tell everyone why you’re passionate that you do what you do the way you do it, and your words will likely move your prospects to give you careful consideration. Don’t bother trying to stuff it with a bunch of keywords because Google isn’t looking for them here.
- Go Photo Crazy: As compelling as your description might be, there’s no substitute for pictures – lots and lots of high-res pictures. If your chef is creating tantalizing treats, snap away and post the photos here. If your store has a particularly chic look, let your prospects know. If there’s anything you think will cause browsers to do a double take and give your listing a closer look, this is where to post it. Just make sure that every photo you post here is really something that will draw the eye.
- Photos in Motion: Videos are a little trickier to create than photos, but if you’re able to do so with professional quality, they can be even more engaging to your audience. However, Google limits you to 30 seconds and 100mb per video, so you’ll need to make the time and picture quality count.
- Encourage Reviews (from Customers Who Love You): While Yelp actively discourages businesses from soliciting reviews, Google does not. Since we already know that people who have a problem with you won’t be afraid to say so, you need to make sure that people who enjoy a great experience are equally talkative in your Reviews section. This can be as simple as sending them a follow-up email and asking them to take a minute to write a review. If you truly stand out from your piers, you might be surprised at how many people will take the time.
- Answer The Question: You’ll notice that the Q&A section of your profile is quite prominent. Thus, you’ll want to pay attention to any questions that come up and answer them in a friendly and timely manner.
- Highlight Your Best Offers: Google Posts allow you to showcase your latest and greatest offers on your profile without the need for people to go all the way through to your website. You’ll want to utilize the combo of an eye-catching image and tempting description to let everyone know that they better visit you now… or else.
If you do nothing else, the above tips will put you on the right path to an optimized online presence. However, there are myriad other ways to attract eyeballs to your business online. Stay tuned as we cover each of them here on the blog.
What are your top local SEO tips? Feel free to comment below.