If you are a local business – dog walker, consultant, hair stylist, freelance journalist or home party sales – then the majority of your business likely comes from customers in your immediate area. If this is the case, then it’s vital to get your local SEO right to attract customers.
Local SEO by the Numbers
The vast majority of people use the internet to find local businesses, even ones that are around the corner from where they live. John Jantsch of Duct Tape Marketing provides some telling stats that communicate just how important it is for a small business to have a local SEO presence:
• 98% of searchers choose a business that is on page 1 of the results they get
• 88% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations
• 77% of smartphone users contact a business after looking for local information
If you’re not online, you could be missing out on sales. Even worse, the customers you are missing out on are going to your local competitors.
The 4 Pillars of Local SEO
There are four key areas local businesses need to focus on to improve their local online presence:
1. Google My Business
This is your official Google business listing. It is completely free to claim your business listing, and it allows you to create a detailed local business profile that is searchable. Your business hours, phone number, and directions will be listed on Google Search and Maps, making it easier for people to find you online.
If you don’t already have a Google My Business profile, sign up for one here.
An extension of Google My Business is citation building. Citations are essentially online records of your business NAP (name, address, phone number) that are listed on online directories.
Why is this important?
“Google relies on hundreds of data aggregators and directories to help them sort out and keep straight all of the local businesses,” says Jantsch.
Directories are also another way for users to find your company online. Directories can be general, based on location, industry, and other factors.
Start building your citations today using BrightLocal’s Top 50 local citation sites.
3. Online Reviews
Online reviews are an extremely important part of your local SEO strategy. According to a recent BrightLocal survey:
• 92% of consumers now read online reviews
• 68% say positive reviews make them trust a local business more
• Star rating is the #1 factor used by consumers to judge a business
Therefore, it’s important to put the time into encouraging your customers to write positive reviews about your business online after they’ve had a good experience.
Here are some of the sites to focus on:
• Better Business Bureau
• Yellow Pages
Don’t forget to search for industry specific review websites. For example, if you run a hotel, then you would want to generate reviews on Expedia, booking.com and other popular travel websites.
4. Local Content
Most small business owners know that they need to have a website, blog, and social media accounts. One less obvious strategy is the need to create local content – this is content that communicates to users where you are located and information about your surrounding area.
What does this content look like?
• Blog posts about local events
• News clippings from local news stories about your company
• Location specific landing pages
• Case studies, image galleries, and other information about your business in the community
Another thing that customers will look for before choosing your company is business insurance. uBiz has you covered for all your business insurance needs. Get a hassle free business insurance quote anytime!
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