Local search engine optimization (SEO) is an essential tool for local businesses. SEO is key to establishing and boosting a small business's online presence, which will naturally lead to greater interest by potential customers and potentially more sales. Make sure your future customers know your name instead of the competition.
If you want your business to be discovered by local customers, then you’ll need to use local SEO to get discovered on Google. There are 8.5 billion Google searches made every day—and about half of them come from local intent. So, you see why it is so important your local SEO should be a priority in your marketing efforts. If your small business isn’t using local SEO to get a slice of your local customer pie, you need to continue reading and learn more about how Warp & Woof can help!
Think about the way you seek out reputable local businesses near you. When you need an HVAC contractor to fix your broken down AC on the dog-days-of-summer, you might go online and type in “the best HVAC companies near me”. You will be populated with a lot of options to choose from. However, if you are a business owner, you might wonder how does my small business show up in searches and how do I stack against my competition?
Local SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is local search marketing that is highly targeted and timed to reach people when they’re searching for a business in a specific area.
In this article, we are going to provide small business owners with the:
"Warp and Woof" (noun): The underlying structure on which something is built; a base or foundation of a good Local SEO strategy that includes:
Mobile Friendly Website
Google My Business & Other Relevant Business Listings- NAP
Social Media Engagement & Manage Online Reviews
But First, What does Local SEO do to grow your small business?
Local SEO increases your website’s rankings & SERP (Search engine results page)
Local SEO helps mobile users easily find your small business with ease
Local SEO ensures your business is found on Google maps
Local SEO increases your local online visibility and website traffic
Local SEO increases lead and sales within a specific, geographical area
Local SEO generates more calls and forms submissions
With search engines like Google, it is all about the user's experience. They know that most online users are searching for specific goods and services that are near them. They want to provide the best solution to their query. So, when your website, business listings, social media, and content are consistent, authentic, and fluid you become the best answer to their search.
Google and other search engines like Bing continually crawl sites and index them based on key factors in their algorithms. If you neglect your content, it signals that your website is inactive. However, any updates you make will signal your content is new and active and needs to be indexed again. You are showing them you are open for business!
Optimize URL, title tags, headers, meta description, and content.
New and optimized content creates more opportunities to get found in search engine result pages (SERPs). With every new blog, a new page that targets a geographic search phrase, or a new piece of content you need to optimize the content with high volume keywords in URLs, titles, headers, meta descriptions, and body.
Like any well-written document, your website’s pages need to be organized in a fashion so web crawlers can understand who you are. Each of the following needs to flow correctly on the page in order of importance, with keywords, including your locations and descriptions of your product and services:
Images with alternate text
The written content
And yes, even your images need to be described since bots don’t understand them.
Using your location city in your content, pages and descriptions tell Google “you are whom you say you are” and “where you say you are” and are servicing that specific area.
Keyword popularity changes frequently. Your website's pages need to be optimized for one primary keyword than five related keywords and should be the best combination of the following:
Relevance to your website/webpage/product/service
Cost per Click
Keywords are one of the top reasons not to let your web content go stagnant. Consumer behavior and search trends are constantly shifting. What was once a high-performing keyword may not be so today.
Mobile Friendly Website
Ensure your website is mobile-friendly. Local and mobile searches go hand in hand (63% of all Google searches are performed on mobile).
Some of the most common ways people will use your site in a mobile environment are to look up reviews, find directions to your location, and search for contact information. Make it easy for your prospects and customers by making your site mobile-friendly.
Tips for Providing the Best User Experience:
Accessible and functional in every web browser. (Even the size of your buttons needs to be user-friendly)
Easy to read and navigate on all devices.
Quick to load content, images, and video.
Responsive so it adapts to fit the user’s screen or is specifically designed for mobile users.
Google My Business Profile & Other Relevant Business Listings- NAP (Name, Address, Phone)
Google My Business Profile is the Number One Driver of Local SEO. It is the creme de la creme of local search.
Most small business owners know Google My Business Profile (GMB) is a FREE, online platform that provides them with the ability to list their business location on Google Maps and local search results. Business owners can display important information about their business, including the opening/closing times, contact details, and a link to their website. It’s the biggest and most recognized online directory for your business.
Along with the directory capabilities, it is a powerful tool to showcase your brand. It visually legitimizes your business. You can post pictures, videos, updates, and offers. It houses your google reviews so potential customers can see what others are saying about your company.
But did you know it is a place to list your products and services in detail? Do you know descriptions of what your company does, with keywords, that coincide with your website?
Google wants to feed users relevant information and uses your location as a great way to sift through the crowded internet to find search results in your community.
There are ultimately three factors that determine how your business will rank locally:
Distance: the distance a searcher is from your business.
Prominence: how well-known your business is.
Relevance: the degree to which your business matches a searcher’s intent.
That is why you need to continually optimize your Google My Business Profile listing.
Keep in mind that everything you add must be in line with the information you provide on your site.
Inaccurate information kills your listings and could kill your rankings in the search results.
To show up in a local search, your Google My Business listing must be optimized.
Here are a few tips to get you started:
Provide as much data as you can as often as you can – your profile has to be 100% complete
Check your opening times – think about holidays!
Review your photos – are they good and representative, or can you improve them?
Keep your Google Business Profile listing in line with your site
Respond to customer reviews. The sooner the better. It shows how long it takes for you to respond.
Simply put Google likes to see your Business page active, up-to-date, accurate, fluid, and not static, where you filled it out when you created it and then abandoned it!
If Google can verify your business as authentic, the search engine could potentially reward your business with a coveted sidebar space in Google's local search.
NAP is an acronym for Name, Address, and Phone number. The NAP for your business needs to be correct and consistent when optimizing your website and online presence for local search because Google values accurate information for its users. It needs to be consistent on your site, online directories anywhere your small business address and phone number are listed.
Social Media Engagement & Manage Online Reviews
Connect with customers on their preferred platforms
Google considers content shared on social media more important now than ever before.
Now that you've carved out a beautiful Google My Business page, share it on social media, further aligning social and search.
Use social media to increase brand awareness and build customer relationships.
Manage your Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, and Google Business Profile.
Engage on social media and add posts to Google My Business.
Use of Hashtags
Despite what some experts would have us believe, hashtags are alive and well on social media. However, hashtags are far more useful than serving as a means of helping users find relevant content – they can also be used to foster and build communities of loyal fans and brand advocates.
Managing Online Reviews
Online reviews are important. They increase levels of trust with users and provide social proof that your brand is whom it says it is. And, it can even assist in local SEO efforts. Google reviews do affect your local SEO rankings. They're not a game-changer that will instantly catapult you to number one in search results, but they can influence how Google evaluates your relevance for local searches. And it boils down to one main reason – trust.
There are a lot of arms and legs to a successful Local SEO strategy. If you need the “Warp & Woof” of local SEO, contact Warp & Woof Media and let us help to discuss your Local SEO, Website Optimization, Mobile Friendly Website, Google My Business Profile Listing, Social Media Engagement, and Online Reviews. We’ll work with you to make sure your local listing is ready to show up when your local customers come looking for you! Call Patty Carter at 678-471-8811 or visit us at www.warpandwoofmedia.com