Local Search and What It Means For Your Small Business

By Seafoam Media
Industry Insights

One of the biggest factors as to whether a new small business succeeds or fails lies in how well it appears in local search results. You might have a great product or service, social media accounts set up, and a large colorful sign outside, but if people can’t find you when they type in your area of expertise on Google, they won’t be spending money!

Creating buzz for your business can be done in several ways, such as word of mouth marketing, also sometimes known as event marketing or taking a “grassroots approach”. Another such way, and what we’ll be focusing on in this post, can be done by optimizing your Google My Business page.

Small businesses benefit from SEO that specifically targets local search

When our St. Louis SEO team works with new clients, we stress the importance of targeting their business to their local audience. A great deal of value lies in targeting these long tail, hyper specific keywords that your customers may be using. They want to find options in their local area, and will choose a physical store over an online purchase if they can have the convenience of picking it up immediately.

 

Local search and how it drives Google traffic. Seafoam Media

What are some benefits of having an optimized Google My Business page?

  • You’ll appear higher in the organic search results for your product or service.
  • You will appear in the Google Knowledge Graph, which is a side panel that appears to the right of search results. It includes more info on your business, such as reviews, posts you’ve made, and other pertinent information that can help users learn about you.
  • Your business will have its own map marker pin in the search results.

What sort of local information do consumers want to know?

  1. You need to have business information available that is consistent across your various web presences. For example, if you change the hours on your website, make sure you change it within your Google My Business page.
  2. Google My Business can be used to easily set up a page and provide your address, hours, and other pertinent information. We recommend setting up one account if you don’t have one already, and be sure to get it verified.
  3. You need to have a large number of reviews and a high average rating. Many good reviews on Google My Business is a signal to both Google and potential customers that your company provides quality goods and services. Having a good My Business rating can translate to higher local results.

Simple ways to boost local SEO:

1. Get verified

A verified business on Google is much more likely to be seen as trustworthy and reliable. In addition, verification is what lets you appear on the map results when users do a search. To get verified, you need to provide a valid address.

2. Research categories for your business and what your competitors are doing

If Google’s categories don’t provide an exact match for the type of product or service you offer, see what your competitors are doing to find the most relevant categories to include.

3. Verify your information is correct and standardized across platforms that provide business citations

For example, if your information is listed on Yelp, Foursquare, Angie’s List, CitySearch, etc, you want to make sure that where your Name, Address, and Phone Number are mentioned, the information mirrors what is on your site.

4. Encourage reviews

Building off of #3, the more reviews your business has, the higher it will appear when a user searches for a particular topic. Don’t be afraid to ask your customers for reviews or testimonials, and try to spread out your reviews across multiple sites when possible, especially your Google Local Page. You can also place stickers and signs in your business for sites like Yelp, reminding your customers that you have a presence on there, and appreciate feedback. Just make sure you don’t solicit reviews on-site (Google penalizes reviews that come from the same IP address location as the business), and don’t ignore your negative reviews!

5. Post content that is local and unique

Whether you choose to update your social media presence yourself, or use a helping hand from a company such as us, the best thing you can do to stay relevant in search results is to have content that your customer will find useful. What kind of content is that? Talk about your company’s history, what your staff is like, what community events you’re taking part in, what customer specific stories you have that are worth sharing, and blog posts that you’ve created.

All of these tips will help improve your local SEO. For more knowledge, check out this post from Smallbiztrends, which includes an infographic.
What aspects of local search do you think are most important for SEO? Send us a comment on Facebook or a tweet to @SeafoamMedia with your thoughts!

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