Online marketing has played a pivotal role in helping small businesses achieve business goals. This week we will be looking into an important aspect of your online marketing strategy – Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) and how it helps your business to be found online for Local Searches.
First of all let’s understand what Local Search is. This is a very simple concept: Any search conducted on Google (which is the most popular search engine today) with the aim of finding a product/service provider in a specific geographical area is defined as a Local Search. E.g. “digital marketing in Sydney.” Go ahead, try it!
How well your organisation ranks for such search terms (popularly known as keywords or keyword phrases) is determined by how well your online presence is optimised for such phrases! Enter SEO!
Who needs local SEO? Well, if your business gets a part or all of your business locally, start paying attention. If your business has a physical address in a city and you expect people to visit; then consider optimising your website for local search.
Taking into consideration the need for Local SEO for your business, we’ve put together five tips to help you get started and be found by potential customers.
1. Claim Your Local Listing
This is your first step to successful local SEO. Start with Google Places. This will require that you provide complete, accurate details relating to your business – Name, location, images, contact details etc.
In addition to Google Places, verify your presence on other search engines via Bing Local and Yahoo Local as well. This is a very easy process and in the end it requires to complete the verification by including your phone number or post card to verify the address. But do not register in paid online directories as they tend to be ‘spammy’ and search engines aren’t fans of them either. However, do list your business on reputed listing sites such as Yelp and yellowpages.com.au.
2. Keyword Research and Use
You should be already having a general idea about the keywords (e.g. dry cleaning) and keyword phrases (e.g. dry cleaning in Sydney) that your customers would use when trying to find the type of products/services you provide. List them out. You can test them for their popularity by using Google’s keyword tool. It may not be the most searched phrase that would work for your business, but get a feeling for the relative popularity of each phrase and use them strategically.
Here’s a tip on how you can identify keyword phrases for your business:
- Your main business + the wider area (e.g. digital marketing Sydney)
- Your main business + the local area (e.g. digital marketing Norwest Business Park)
- Other business + local area etc. (e.g. social media marketing Sydney)
3. Get Reviews
One of the most important parts of local SEO is the reviews section as this is an awesome tool to strengthen your local presence. It also helps build credibility to your business online. Make it a point to ask your customers for reviews, because search engines take into consideration positive social signals. Since you already have listings set up, request your loyal customers to provide you with business reviews. If you have a good number of positive reviews, you could also use it as a promotional tool by adding the review site in your e-mail marketing campaigns. It is essential that you keep encouraging people to provide reviews so that it also increases transparency of your business.
Some businesses tend to shy away from displaying their reviews due to fear of negative ones! Smart businesses take this in a positive stride by acting swiftly and,
- Publicly acknowledging it – this helps build credibility and transparency in the eyes of other customers and prospects who are watching
- Provide a solution – Helps everyone know that you are customer-oriented
Reacting this way would help greatly in spreading positive word of mouth about your business, as well as a means of building your reputation online.
4. Build Links with Other Websites That Already Have a Verified Local Listing
To help create your brand receive more targeted exposure to a local audience, link-building can play a pivotal role. Spread your word through other websites via guest blogging or you could start with providing useful, relevant content to groups/communities that you are a part of.
Another way you can build a link is sponsoring a kid’s cricket team for example and having a link or two in the school’s and league’s website. Or doing a community project where your web link can be found in the local newspaper site.
5. Social Media Optimisation
Search engine optimisation and social media optimisation are all about visibility. Having a presence in social media platforms such as Google+, LinkedIn, Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram etc. with consistent and complete details of your business will help increase your local SEO ranking.
Out of all the social media platforms it is safe to say that Google+ has the most impact on Google’s search optimisation. Its personalised search and local reviews are very powerful and can help your business immensely.
There you go; some priceless tips to get you started. Now, is the time to act!
Give our tips a shot, and let us know it worked out for you. If you need help, do drop us a line on our “Comments” section or call us on 1300 430 949.
Do take time to check out how we made one of the local dry cleaners in Sydney, Platinum Valet, rank in the first page of Google. We can help you too!
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SolomoIT is a digital marketing agency, based in Sydney, Australia, offering fully integrated social, local and mobile marketing solutions.
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