Whew! Opening a brick-and-mortar business is a huge step for most owners. Physical business ownership is financially stressful yet exhilarating, and a lot of work in general.
There is, perhaps, no more practical experience at showing your strengths and exposing your weaknesses in the same week than owning a business.
Many owners get so bogged down in operations and management; they neglect one of the most critical components of local business success: Local SEO strategy.
Today, we’ll show you how to perform a basic check-up on your local SEO, and give some practical and time-saving tips to amp up this end of your marketing.
All business owners need help. Outsourcing tasks to a local expert makes your job less stressful, and your business more profitable in the long run.
When you’re ready for an expert SEO partner, check out our friends at Romain Berg for outsourcing your local SEO. They’re a full-service marketing agency to help you thrive as a business owner.
What is local SEO?
We bet that in the last 24 hours, you’ve brandished your cell phone at least once to search up a local business location. Queries like “find a yoga studio near me” and “list clothing boutiques in my city” have more than doubled on Google since 2017.
Also, more and more people are using Google to verify the location of businesses they’ve heard about offline or in other searches.
Local SEO (search engine optimization) means that when a potential customer pops a question to Google with the words “near me” or “nearby,” your website sends up digital “flares” that land you at the top of those local search results.
If your digital flare gun isn’t loaded correctly, you could be missing out on local traffic and local dollars. Let’s give you some local SEO ammunition.
Google My Business
The best news about many of these foundational local SEO tools is that many of them are free and easy to use. Google My Business is your first line of visibility for local SEO.
Here’s how to do it:
- Type “Google My Business” in the search bar of the Google landing page
- Select the Google My Business search result link
- Select “Business Profile” from the top-of-page toolbar
- Click the “Manage Now” button to create your free business profile
- Follow the prompts to enter your business name and information
You’ll be able to add photos, logos, videos, and track your website visits and other metrics with Google. Try to spend a few minutes each day visiting your account and learning about your site statistics.
If you have seasonal product updates, upcoming events, or anything else fun and new going on, rotate your photos. New photos capture your current inventory or service changes better.
The more interactive and current your account stays, the more interest it will generate from searchers. We, humans, tend to gravitate toward fresh visuals and smiling people in your photos.
It’s a way to build trust with your local audience. Trust leads to sales, and Google My Business is an easy start to building a loyal audience foundation.
Get Online Reviews
Now that you’re open, encourage your visitors to drop reviews for you on Facebook, Yelp, and other social media. And, ask for specificity.
You want your customers to tout the positive results of your products and services — how their purchase with you helped them solve their problems. A review that says you’re “nice” won’t cut it.
Remember that trust thing? Yeah, reviews build that super quick. Every person in your store should be getting an easy link to a review page from you.
If you hold any in-store special events as part of your marketing, this is an excellent platform to request reviews.
You can offer incentives like product savings, freebies, or swag to encourage your customers to drop a few kind and specific words on Google, Facebook, or Yelp.
NAP placement everywhere
No, we don’t mean installing a bed in your store and taking a quick snooze during your slower hours. (Although, wouldn’t that be a super perk of ownership?)
NAP refers to your Name, Address, and Phone number. These key local business identifiers should appear in your header or footer on every page of your website.
This way, your web pages that pop up in search results (like your restaurant menu or appointment scheduler for example) are automatically attached to your location and contact info.
Write effective title tags and meta descriptions
Regardless of who put together your website, you should check to be sure your title tags and meta descriptions make you look good to Google.
You’ve got 7-10 words for each title tag. That’s the piece of the page URL that describes the page contents. You should include a region or city-specific word in there to further peg your location.
For example: in a local dentist’s office, the home page URL might read: “www.tomthedentist.com/brooklyn-park.”
Your page meta description can use 25-30 words to describe each web page on your site. It’s wise to include vocabulary about your location.
If you need help with how and where to update your title tags and meta descriptions, our friends at Romain Berg are ready to assist, no matter what website platform you’re using.
Develop internal and off-page links
Finally, developing internal links between your web pages and developing your backlink structure will also raise your local search rankings.
When your home page contains links to your product descriptions, blog posts, online schedules, and how-to’s, you’re providing a valuable service to your online visitors. Google thinks this is a good idea too.
And, when others link to your site from their online presence, it lends credibility to your location as well. If you have a few non-competitive businesses near you, you can help each other rise in local searches.
Think of it as an “I’ll scratch your back, you scratch mine” kind of situation.
Examples of such partnerships might include
- Local contractors linking to hardware stores, or materials suppliers
- Dentists and Community Medical Clinics
- Chiropractors and Optometrists
- Mortgage Brokers and Realtors
You get the idea. Like going to your local networking meetings, but without the bad coffee and awkward handshakes.
Outsource as soon as you can
Unless you run a local SEO marketing business, we’re pretty sure that online marketing is not the primary reason why you hung your shingle and opened your doors.
Please, please, make your online marketing the first thing you outsource. There are services out there for every budget, and you’ll learn a ton in the process from the experts taking care of your growth.
Remember to check out Romain Berg. These guys get local business growth like few others. They grew up in small communities and now live in larger ones, and understand that getting seen online and offline is the key to local business success.
Contact them today to set up a local SEO strategy that gets results without the hype.