“Local SEO is an effective way to market your business online. It helps businesses promote their products and services to local customers at the exact time they’re looking for them”
It has now become second nature for people to research where they are going before they do. Before the smartphone was what it is today, people would look up Yelp or TripAdvisor to find the perfect restaurant or pub for date night, ‘the match, and everything in between’. Nowadays we are able to research before we leave the house or on the go. I for one often find the ‘best coffee shop’ to an area by a quick Google search.
As you can understand, it is important for any business to be as close to the top of the search engine results pages as possible. For local businesses competing in competitive areas, it’s a necessity to take advantage of all the things at their disposal. Local SEO can help them get ahead and keep online research resulting in offline sales.
In a report from Nectafy, they stated that “88% of consumer local business searches on a mobile device either call or visit the business within 24 hours.” With this in mind, and if you work in or own a retail or hospitality business in a highly competitive area, I would hope you are now eager to read the tips below for local SEO. So without any further discussion here are a few tips to get ahead of your local competitors:
Engage with Directories
Directories offer local businesses the opportunity to build backlinks to their site which improves the ranking through affiliation. Check out my previous blog on SEO here for more info on On-Site SEO.
Claim your Online Profiles
Online profiles can be easily created for your business, especially the following:
- Yelp (Not as commonly used in Ireland but relevant for tourists from countries who do use it more often)
- Facebook Business Page
- Google My Business
Review sites often rank highly on SERPs (Search Engine Result Pages). Make sure you provide up-to-date information to these profiles (and previously mentioned directories) and make sure you keep the information consistent, from description to address.
Google My Business
Although mentioned above, Google My Business needs special mention. Google explains that with Google My Business “Your listing appears right when people are searching for your business or businesses like yours on Google Search or Maps. Google My Business makes it easy to create and update your listing—so you can stand out, and bring customers in.”
This is important considering the impact of search on local business. A survey conducted showed that 58% of participants searched for local businesses at least once a day.
Encourage Online Reviews
Try to encourage customers to review your company page, on any relevant platforms to them. This can simply be giving a 5-star rating on TripAdvisor or commenting on Facebook and Yelp.
Mobile Optimised Website
Ensure your website has a good user experience on mobile. You could easily lose out to a competitor with a better mobile website. Their site could have had a better menu page, higher quality product photographs or simply because a user didn’t have to zoom in to read text.
Contact Us Page
Give people an easy to find contact page on your website. Provide as many methods of communication as you are able to service as well. Hiding an address or phone number in the footer of the site isn’t good enough and users can often miss them. Provide a page with the basics:
- Phone Numbers
- Interactive (Google) Map
- Contact form (if you can service it)
- Social Platforms (Try service these like a customer service tool if possible… reply fast)
Blog (If relevant/capable)
Understand whether this is relevant to your business model. If it is, try to include topics relevant to your products or services while including simple keywords of your town/city as much as you can.