An affordable local SEO marketing strategy involves hands-on work with your website and your Internet presence. The good news is that is achievable and effective.
[This post is a revised and updated version of an article published in September 2016]
Most mobile searchers are looking for local businesses, and especially on mobile devices. An affordable local SEO strategy can help your business stand out in the search engine results pages, or SERPs.
The challenge for many business owners is in knowing what matters most and what steps to take. The approach is largely the same as with SEO in general: there are "on-page" elements as will as "off-page" elements needed. Except with local SEO everything has a local focus.
Local SEO is an intrinsic part of inbound marketing. Knowing how to best leverage ever-evolving SEO practices, especially local SEO for brick-and-mortar businesses, will determine a great deal of their inbound marketing success.
Whether you are a business owner functioning as your own marketer, or a sales and marketing manager struggling to keep up with the evolution of SEO, you need to be aware of the trends and best practices.
Local SEO Brings Local Customers to Your Business
Over the years there have been many changes in local search. And today, local SEO is more competitive and more challenging. While it is true that the one thing that's consistent about Google, is that it's always changing, there are some basics that always need to be in place.
So where do you start?
Here is a short list of four main elements you want to make sure you nail down with your own local SEO strategy and efforts:
1. Properly Optimize Your Business Information
Your website is your most important and valuable online asset. In fact, for many smaller businesses it is your only online presence, so ensuring that it is properly optimized for local search results is critical.
- Create a domain name that reflects your business type and its location. For example, "Bob’s Diner" might have the domain “bobsdinernyc.com,” which includes both.
- Add keywords on page titles that identify with your business, its services and its location.
- Incorporate your business’ name, address and phone number (NAP) information in not only the homepage or contact page, but each individual page of your website. Google looks for your NAP information everywhere on the web, so consistency is hugely important.
- In addition to promoting your product or service offerings, make sure your website copy includes information about your local area to further tie in your business with the nearby locales.
2. Get Mobile or Get Left Behind
Mobile-friendly website design is no longer optional. If your website cannot be viewed properly – and quickly – on a cell phone or tablet, odds are it won’t be viewed at all. Mobile device searches have already passed up desktop and laptop computer searches worldwide.
Website mobile friendliness, in fact, is now a Google ranking factor. Providing prospects with a great mobile experience on your website will mean making more sales and, of course, generating more revenue. It’s as simple as that. In addition, the move to mobile offers you a chance to make shopping on your mobile site an exceptional experience.
Mobile-only offers, coupons and special promotions can work well for getting customers to return to your responsive design website. If you have not already, your tip priority should be to create the best possible mobile experience for your prospective customers.
3. People are Using Voice Search
The explosive growth of mobile search has led to the inevitable demand for voice search. And more and more people are using this feature on their smart phones to locate the businesses, products, and services they need.
Some people use voice search to help them while they engage in other activities, but for many others it’s just faster and easier to speak into their phones rather than type their query. Regardless of the reasons, the rising trend toward voice search means that businesses have to optimize their website to hook these consumers.
What does this mean for you? It involves changing your keywords to voice search-friendly phrases. Search Engine Journal noted that user follow up questions will become common in voice search, as well, since a limited amount of information can be delivered in each response.
4. Your Business Information Matters for Local SEO
Because of the increasing impact of “direct data” in the search engine results pages (SERPs) businesses need to provide more detailed information about themselves in order to gain a top spot in search results.
Direct data is simply the small, but essential, bits of information that appear with business listings in search engine data. For example, if you search for dry cleaners near you, each result will probably provide you with location, phone number, pricing, whether delivery or pick-up is available, and other details that consumers want to know up front.
This detailed information, or direct data, improves your visibility, and that’s important for local SEO results.
5. Foster a Great Customer Experience and Great Reviews
A potential customer’s decision to buy, or come to your shop, is largely influenced by the entire customer experience from click-to-close. Just getting found online is not enough.
A recent survey Gartner showed that within the next few years, 89 percent of businesses will compete solely on customer experience, and that by 2020, 85 percent of the customer-company relationship will be managed without any human interaction.
Customer reviews are critical not only for influencing the buying decisions of prospective customers, but for search engine rankings. Google really likes reviews and the more the merrier.
What does that mean for local SEO? That your online marketing presence has to be concise, consistent, and better than your competition’s to capitalize on this trend.
Get the Help You Need With a Local SEO Company
We realize that there many, many more factors - signals as they're known - that search engines weigh when ranking results for an organic search. And, while only a handful garner the most weight, it is still an intimidating prospect for a business owner or marketer to take it all on alone.
Fortunately, you don't have to attempt this on your own!
Your options for implementing a successful local SEO marketing strategy include turning to a professional local SEO service that can work with you to maximize your efforts.
A qualified agency like BroadVision Marketing will develop a road map with an implementation time line, marketing milestones, and key deliverables. Using this road map we will create the framework and structure for us to work with you and help you to achieve your marketing goals.
Get your Free Complimentary Inbound Marketing Session to help you make an informed decision or call BroadVision Marketing at 707-799-1238.