Reading online marketing and commerce blogs these days, a business owner may feel overwhelmed by all the aspects which require attention. There is so much you can do in terms of Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) and otherwise to get more traffic to your website and more potential customers knowing about your business. The increasing focus on the online world, however, often forgets the main purpose of local small businesses: getting actual customers into your store. If you have a business or service with a physical address, serving a local area, then local SEO is paramount for your success. Today we demonstrate that while optimising your website, building links, and doing everything else that grows your online presence, you can’t forget your local market.
A Focus on the Local Consumer
These days, a massive percent of consumers own smartphones. Because of our on the go lifestyle and immediate access to technology, consumers are likely to use the Internet when searching for information, especially local. Gone are the days of the local yellow pages and word-of-mouth. Now, all you need i your mobile phone and you can find the nearest coffee shop, mechanic, or laundromat.
Local Link Building: What Works
So how do you reel in those local consumers looking for your product or service? Focussing on local SEO is an important way to do this, and vital to tapping into the potential of your local market. While you may already have a grasp of link building on a larger scale, you may not realise the value of link building on the local level.
Consistent links to your business among online data providers is key. There are a few major data centres which help provide and affirm data for search engines, and these centres cross reference with the more well-known local business listing sites such as Bing Places, Foursquare, and Yelp. The more local listings you provide for your small businesses, the more trusted and reliable the links become, and the better these data centres–and, as a result, search engines–can find you. So when local customers do a simple Google search for your type of business, you’re likely to appear higher on the results page. These pages can link directly to your business web page, providing better links to your site itself, but even a citation (a mention of the business without a direct link) online is good.
Make sure your business is listed with the above web pages, as well as the online Yellow Pages, Yahoo Local, and more. And always make sure to use consistent contact details.
Speaking of Contact Details…
Consistency among your listed name, address, and telephone number is vital for strengthening your local SEO. This is sometimes referred to as your NAP. Your website should list this information, ideally on every page and easy to find.
Optimising your web page itself may involve more emphasis on a local keyword focus, for example, ranking for “car wash Perth” as opposed to only “car wash.” These can be implemented not only through great content, but through meta descriptions, tags, and even the URL itself. It’s always advisable to consult with your local SEO experts for assistance in this area.
Online customer reviews of your business can be a huge asset when it comes to driving your local customer base. A local Google Places listing is ideal for helping boost your rankings, as customer reviews on here are easily found by Google and are excellent for local SEO. Encourage your satisfied customers to leave their positive reviews on your Google Places page or on another review database. Great customer reviews not only improve your web presence and site ranking, but in a practical sense, customers trust reviews. The 2012 Local Consumer Review Survey showed that 72% of consumers trust online customer reviews as much as they trust personal recommendations. Doing great work and maintaining happy customers means that your reputation will grow, in the local area and beyond.