Whether you run a retail store or you are perhaps of a professional service locally, or indeed are a local community group, your website is your sales window - and whilst unlike the high street window people won't just 'pass you by' and take a look at whats on display, you can entice them to take a look with the simple local SEO tips and tricks below.
I will be honest - the below can be implemented by anyone who has the time, energy and will to do so. However, the reality is that if you are running a small business on your own, some tasks do take longer than others, so take your time - this isn't a race and you don't have to do these in order.
Delivering Sales & Leads Through Local SEO
Perhaps before we begin it would be prudent to understand a few key statistics about local search and why it can be so important to your business and organisation:
- 87% of smartphone users use search engines at least one per day.
- 50% of mobile device searches are for local business information, 34% on desktop.
- 46% of all Google searches are with local intent.
- 78% of local-mobile searches result in offline purchases.
The fact is the more local searches lead to more sales & leads than non-local searches, and the results for this are faster too regardless of business type.
Local SEO Tips & Tricks
1) Put Your Address On Every Page & Use Microformats!
Your address is a vital piece of information for anyone wanting to visit your store anyway, so having it displayed in the footer of your site is a key thing, along with your contact info like phone number and email address. You should also be marking it up correctly for the web and bots like Google using Microformats, I prefer to use schema.org - this allows Google to recognise that it's an address and it's components - you can also include things like your business opening times too.
2) Produce Locally Focused Content
The natural tendency will be to focus your text content on your products alone, great if you are just wanting to sell online and not bring people to store - but if you are wanting to do both you need to remember to do a mixture. Of course you need to prioritse your products as your selling point, but perhaps write a blog or two about your area, or maybe you've got products specific to your area or that bare its name that you can talk about more or feature ... the reality is unless you are talking about your area you won't appear in search often if someone searches for your area. This localised content also allows your users of the site from around the world to connect with your business, and adds extra personality - it moves you away from the static manufacturer descriptions idea that many just copy and paste onto websites.
3) Build Citations & Links Offsite
Citations - by building citations you can ensure that search engines and other systems know about your business and about your website. Some will give you direct links back, others won't but will list your address and give you at least a listing. My advice is always take a free listing and don't pay for it, don't boost it - paying really isn't worth it, in the eyes of Google and Bing a citation is a citation is a citation. Remember probably most importantly to register for a page/citation with Google Business!
Links - Links are a little harder to build and come by, but again there are some easier ways than others to start. If there are some directories in your industry that are highly relevant (and I repeat highly) then register and build yourself a profile, if they have a forum get involved and get yourself known - become the forums expert in something. If your friends or family have a website or blog as them for links (if they are remotely relevant or could be), if you have a business network maybe write some guest articles that a unique for sites and in your bio. It won't always be easy but the more you ask the more you tend to find opportunities, also people will ask back and it's not a bad thing to have other experts writing relevant content on your site too - they will promote it on their social media and so you get more exposure for your site.
4) Build Reviews & Exploit Them
Once you're registered on Google Business, you will appear on Google Maps and you will also be able to use it to ask for reviews of your business. This means you can ask members of the public or people on your newsletter to leave your a review - we often find the more reviews and top level reviews the higher in local search (it's not always the case but often is). Obviously it will also make your organisation look even better too.
But you don't just have to use Google Business Reviews, big G also pulls in reviews from other locations such as trust pilot into it's review system to give aggregate scoring. So again if you've got a retail system hooked into trust pilot make sure its working properly and that you're asking for feedback - it can make all the difference.
5) Drive Local Media Coverage
Local media won't drive a ton of traffic, but it's often syndicated and so it a great link builder in it's own right. However what is more important is that Local Media is an amazing brand builder for your business as a whole in your local area as well as online. Local Media organisations often struggle for good news to cover, so if you've got anything half decent send it in - it may be a week before its published so send it early and ensure you've got a great quality photo with it. - plus don't forget to ensure you send a website address too.
Now that you've got the secrets to driving more leads and sales to your local business or community organisation, it's time to get to work!