If you own a small business, reaching a global audience is not going to be of much benefit if your sales-to-conversion rate is not growing in the process. While you may have an online customer base depending on what business you’re in, it is the people in your local region that are most likely to actually visit your business, and to purchase from you.
This means that you need to make sure you are reaching people in your local area as well as further afield through your online marketing and SEO. And while this is not rocket-science in itself, there are a few important things you need to do to achieve this. In this post, we provide ten tips for local SEO success.
Get the basics right
The basis of local SEO success (as for all SEO when it comes down to it) is that you are strategising for real people who live in your area, rather than for machines and search engines. This means that all your SEO strategies need to be audience-centric – which involves stepping into the shoes of your site visitors and users, understanding their behaviour, and knowing what it is they really want. If you don’t start from this position, you could easily find yourself going right off course.
Tips for local SEO success
- Get listed locally. Being listed on sites such as Yelp, TrueLocal, and even the Yellow Pages may help you to rank better for local search. Make sure that your listings are complete and consistent across all platforms as well.
- Include your location in your domain name if possible. This helps to establish your business as a provider of products and services in your local region
- Include relevant keywords in your domain name and website content. However don’t overdo it or it could sound artificial, and earn you a ranking demotion which is just what you don’t want!
- Make your contact details very visible. When people visit a site they often want to know where the business is located. Make your location very clear from all your pages, and include maps and directions.
- Mention your local activities. For instance if you participate in local events, make this known on your ‘About Us’ page or other platform such as a blog. This shows your audience that your local community is important to you.
- Optimise for mobile. This is a biggie! People frequently look up or buy from local businesses while they are on the go through hand-held devices. Make it easy for them to find you, and purchase from you. Not optimising your site for mobile devices could lead to you missing out on a big piece of the success pie.
- Check out the reviews of your business. Research indicates that people are influenced by the opinion of others when making purchasing decisions. Local reviews on sites such as TripAdvisor, Urban Spoon, WOMO (Word of Mouth Online) and even social media can greatly influence internet users and searchers. Use reviews to help you improve your services, and if you do come across negative reviews or complaints, be sure to listen and respond politely and discuss the issues with the complainant. After all your aim is to have as many happy customers as possible!
- Network locally. Networking has numerous advantages – including the sharing and exchange of ideas and information, the opportunity for mutual favours and collaboration, and the provision of leads. As an example, through networking you could consider collaborating with other small businesses to offer ‘package deals’ or other business solutions.
- Participate in social media. Social signals are growing in their importance when it comes to online marketing. In particular, participating in Google Plus may impact on your SEO rankings. Social media also provides a platform for directly connecting with your local audience and for promotion of special deals or discounts.
- Learn from other successful local businesses. Take note of their strategies and approaches to online marketing, and then adapt them to suit your own business.
Of course there are many more things you can do to improve your chance of SEO success generally, from posting great content to making use of paid search ads, and so on. However the above list should hopefully provide you with a good basis for reaching a larger audience within your local region.