Nowadays, the majority of people start their search for nearby goods and services online, with 78% of them researching local companies online more than once a week and 21% doing so on a daily basis, according to the latest local consumer survey by BrightLocal. To be found by potential customers and increase the chances of turning them into in-person clients or scheduled appointments, it's critical to show up in local organic and Map Pack search results.
Here are seven of the most effective things you can do:
Having your website indexed by search engines is a fundamental aspect of SEO. Without it, your website won't be found.
To start with, it's essential to understand the basics of how search engines index and crawl your website. This knowledge will help guide your future SEO efforts. However, technical SEO difficulties like indexation can be challenging to manage while running a business.
If you find it too difficult to handle, you can seek help from an SEO agency or consultant. Alternatively, if you're comfortable conducting your own research, the following resources can be helpful.
Content is the primary means of communicating messaging, offers, and calls to action to your target audience. However, your small business faces competition not only from similar companies but also from media outlets, educational websites, well-known brands, regional review websites, and other sources that produce content relevant to your goods and services.
The competition is fierce, and to stand out, your content must be exceptional. Before jumping in and creating blog entries, take the time to develop a local content strategy that aligns with your company goals. Ensure that your strategy includes various types of local content, and use tried-and-tested on-page techniques to optimize each piece for search engines.
Links are the web's currency, serving as a vital indicator of trust to search engines such as Google and signifying that your content is approved by others.
According to John McAlpin, local links demonstrate trust or support from people relevant to the local community. To enhance your local link building strategy, begin with McAlpin's article "What Is A Local Link & How To Find More Local Link Opportunities," featured in our Local SEO Guide.
Additionally, I recommend reading Kevin Rowe's article, which outlines 50 link types and provides tips for acquiring each one.
A complete local search strategy requires a well-optimized Google Business Profile (GBP).
Although Google gathers information about local businesses from various websites and directories, its own profiles are the most reliable source of information for each local business.
Over time, these profiles have become more extensive and interactive, making them more useful to local searchers.
Today, GBPs not only provide essential business information such as location and contact details, but also enable you to:
Provide high-quality photos and videos to give users a better idea of what to expect at your establishment.
Use Google Posts to showcase promotions, events, and more.
Interact with customers through messaging, Q&A, and reviews.
Proactively share unique features, health and safety information, payment options, and other Attributes.
Providing accurate and up-to-date information about your business is crucial for a positive searcher experience, which Google highly values. Outdated or incorrect information can harm your local visibility and reputation.
ever your business is listed online, including social media, directories, and review sites such as Yelp or TripAdvisor, it's essential that the information presented is correct and consistent. If a searcher encounters inaccurate information such as a wrong phone number, address, or business hours, they may end up at a closed store or even directed to your previous location by their GPS system.
Having multiple versions of crucial business information on the web makes it difficult for search engines to determine which information is relevant and trustworthy. It's crucial that search engines have confidence in the accuracy of your business data to provide the best possible response to a searcher's query.
However, tracking and updating business listings manually can be challenging and time-consuming, especially since data aggregators and directories may also be updating their listings. As a result, outdated or incorrect information can easily spread and become widely disseminated.
According to a survey in 2021, 77% of local consumers reported that they frequently or always read reviews when searching for local businesses. Reviews play a crucial role in shaping the local search experience.
Google's local ranking algorithms are less opaque compared to its organic counterparts. Relevance, Distance, and Prominence are the three major factors that affect local rankings, as per Google.
Schema markup is a structured data format that simplifies the work of web crawlers and assists search engines in understanding the content of your website, even though it does not affect your website's ranking directly. The goal is to make it easier for Google to match your website to a relevant search query.
By using schema markup, you can display rich results like breadcrumbs, reviews, FAQs, and sitelinks in search results, which can enhance your website's visibility.
It's crucial to ensure that your schema markup is correctly implemented before testing and verifying it, as errors can prevent you from receiving rich results.
To incorporate schema markup into your local SEO strategy, start by reading Chelsea Alves' excellent guide on local markup and rich results.
For small businesses, the thought of tackling local SEO can be daunting. As an entrepreneur, managing the administrative and marketing tasks can leave you feeling overwhelmed, especially if you don't have a dedicated marketing department.
This guide is designed to equip you with the necessary knowledge and tools to determine what you can handle internally and what may require outsourcing.
While it's acceptable to seek the help of an agency or consultant to supplement your skills, it's important to have a clear understanding of what you're asking them to do.
Remember that local SEO is not a one-time task; it's an integral part of your marketing strategy that also impacts customer service. It's something that needs to be regularly monitored and updated.
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