More and more, consumers are using the Internet to research the product they wish to buy, even if they plan to make that purchase in a brick and mortar location. Studies have shown that 62% of millennial shoppers already know what they plan to buy before they step foot in a store based on the Internet research they’ve already conducted.
Search engine optimization, or SEO, is the process of increasing a website’s popularity and ranking through natural or unpaid (“organic”) results. You may already understand some of the methods of achieving optimal SEO such as keyword research and link building. However, as a small business owner you cannot overlook the importance of local SEO marketing.
Elements and Benefits of Local SEO
Specific contact information – Be sure to include your business’ address and contact information in several places on your website. Make your contact information visible and accessible. Even if you have a toll-free number, you should also have a local phone number and include that on your site. Having these local elements on your site will assist your website in being included in local search results.
Know your audience – Learn about the consumers in your region and what their geo-specific needs are. Use the idioms and colloquialisms that are common to your local area. Make sure your keywords are relevant to your region. Understand what your local customers are looking for and design and update your website accordingly.
Create good content – Once you know your customers and use keyword research to find out what search terms they are using to find your business, put those keywords to use by creating quality content based on those words. Become the foremost authority on the topics that are meaningful to your potential customers. When people are ready to buy, they will be more likely to come to you to make their purchase(s).
Update your online listings – Find your website on local directories such as citysearch.com, bing.com, yahoo.com, or yellowpages.com. Make sure that your local listings are accurate and up-to-date at all times.
Make local connections – If you want to be well-known in your community, your best bet is to reach out to local businesses and agencies where you can meet others in your neighborhood and network. Definitely consider joining your local Chamber of Commerce as well as other relevant organization to make local connections that can benefit your business.
Create social media profiles – Given the increase in consumers’ Internet usage, you should create profiles for your business on social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter and Google+. You can share your content on these sites and their “share,” “retweet,” and “+1” features will allow your followers to easily share your content with others.
Get people talking about your business – Encourage satisfied customers to use social media sites to recommend and review your business. The sites mentioned above as well as sites like Yelp are great ways for customers to sing your praises and spread the word about your business’ quality work. The more sites where your business appear, the more visible your site is to potential consumers. Given that 70% of consumers trust consumer opinions posted online, you would be remiss not to invest some time and effort into your social media presence.
As a small business owner, you should not minimize the importance of local SEO. It is critical for your business to be visible and accessible to all those who may wish to contact you. If you would like to learn more about our services and how we can help you attain your maximum SEO potential, please contact us today.