If you’re a business with a brick-and-mortar location, taking steps to increase your visibility on local search could easily result in a boost to your bottom line by this time next year. According to Google, 4 in 5 consumers use search engines to find information about local businesses, including store hours, addresses, product availability and directions. Google also reports that 18% of local smartphone searches led to a purchase within a day. As more research is done on consumer behavior, we’re continuing to find that people who conduct local searches are ready to make a purchase decision; and if you’re a business owner, these are the consumers you want to reach. So what can you do to increase your visibility on search engines? Here’s a list of 6 steps you can take right now to help increase your local search visibility.
1. Create a Google My Business account
According to a study by Moz, Google My Business is the biggest driver of local SEO success. Having a My Business account will help your company appear in Google search results and Google Maps when people search for your business, or businesses similar to yours. My Business accounts are also 100% free to set up, making it an easy, cost-effective way for you to boost your business’s visibility on local search results.
2. Increase your number of social sites
The larger your business’s online footprint, the more likely your business is to be noticed and recommended by Google to consumers who are conducting a local search. The key here is choosing social sites that make sense for your business type. For example, if your business sells products that are more visual, like home décor, you should consider creating profiles on sites like Facebook and Instagram; rather than professional sites like LinkedIn. If you’re not quite sure what to post on each site, read this article to learn more about social posting for businesses.
3. Correct outdated information
Does your website still say you’re open 7 days-a-week when you’re only open on weekdays? If you’ve made changes to your business hours, address or phone number, it’s crucial that you update all of your online profiles to reflect accurate information, even if it’s just a temporary change. Failing to do so could result in mismatched information across sites and negative customer reviews; both will hinder your likelihood of showing up in local search results.
4. Don’t ignore customer reviews
It’s rare for any business to get all positive reviews online. So if you do happen to get negative reviews from time to time (perhaps, because of misleading business hours), the worst thing you can do is ignore them. Take time to respond to people who gave your business negative reviews with your apologies and any solution you can offer if there is one. You’ll also want to engage with consumers who gave positive reviews of your business. Giving happy customers a little TLC is just as important. Here are some do’s and don’ts to follow when responding to consumer reviews.
5. Optimize your website
If you want to show up in local search results, you’ll want to make sure that your website speaks a language that Google can understand. If you have broken links, make sure they’re updated. If you have images with no meta-tags, add simple descriptions to explain what your images convey. These are all simple updates that you or your web designer can make in one afternoon.
6. Get shout-outs
When other businesses link to your website, it creates a domino effect that leads to increased SEO for your business. Links help create awareness of your business with locals, which can lead to an increase in searches and visits to your business’s website. Gaining a rise in both these areas will benefit your local search visibility because Google wants to recommend businesses that locals are interested in. For example, if a user searches for “restaurants”, Google is more likely to recommend a site that’s been visited 100,000, over a site that’s only been visited 500 times, with the same search.
Take your visibility to the next level
Your business’s ability to appear in local search results is becoming more important as consumers turn to Google for all of their shopping needs. By making these 6 updates, you’re putting your business in a much better position to be discovered by local users at a time when they’re ready to buy.
If you’re looking for a more robust local SEO marketing plan, the experts at FMDi can help you prepare a marketing plan that targets your unique business needs. Our team works with businesses throughout Delaware, Maryland and Pennsylvania, like McCombs Supply Co., Inc., to boost their local SEO. We can help implement strategies for your business like:
If you have questions about these strategies or want to learn more, contact FMDi today to discuss how we can help your business gain more customers in 2018.