Mobile-First Indexing: What you need to know
For small businesses and start-ups, local search marketing is massively important. But many don't consider it necessary and others don't even know it exists! This is a mistake that you mustn't make, as having a strong presence in local search results is fundamental to conversions and enquiries.
Put simply, a local business is any business that has a physical location that offers face-to-face contact with the customer. A good example would be a showroom or shop. When it comes to local search, it's very simple. If searchers, and therefore potential customers, can't find you on the web, then your business might as well not exist. Unfortunately, it's the way of the modern world now.
When Google users are searching for a local term, they're far more likely to be looking for a service or product. Therefore, the conversions for local search tend to be much higher. If you're not optimising for this, you'll be missing a huge opportunity for sales enquiries. In this article, we'll tell you how to ensure your local search marketing is up to scratch!
Google My Business is a must
Aside from the fact that it's made by Google, this feature is of paramount importance to any small local business. The Google My Business allows small businesses to input their details, such as contact details, location and opening hours, so that they appear for specific local searches. For example, as you can see from the image to the right, if you search for 'web design Chatham', you're shown some local listings, including us here at Smart Domain Group.
It's very easy to set up too. Just log in to your Google account (or sign up for free to create one) and it will allow you to input a range of information, including:
Contact details, location and opening times
Relevant product and service categories
Up-to-date branding and company logo
High quality images to show your premises and services
Once you've done this, you'll need to verify your business with Google. Provided you've given them your correct business address, they will send you a 'postcard', which will have a verification number. Simply log in to your Google My Business account and enter that verification code. Then you'll be good to go! While there is no guarantee they will place you in the top three for that location, it's still well worth doing.
Get customers to review your business
Reviews play an important role in the success of any business. While they can bring utter joy or misery to any business owner, they're hard to ignore. Not only are they important in terms of click-through rates, they're also vital in terms of local rankings. A recent study carried out by BrightLocal shows that up to 74% of consumers say that positive reviews make them trust a local business more.
When you provide any service or supply any product, it's worth asking your client for their comments. The more positive comments you can have visible on Google My Business and other avenues, the more likely it will be that you will increase enquiries. The most important thing you can do is to take control of your reviews. Gentle encouragement of happy customers to leave reviews and managing a bad experience before it reaches the review stage are both essential.
Should you find that a bad review has been added, the best course of action is to encourage other happy customers to get reviewing. These will then push the bad review down and the average rating back up. It's also worth noting that people won't necessarily be deterred by one bad review. Plus, by replying professionally and showing a focus on improving your service in the future, it shows potential customers that you take your reputation very seriously.
Add some location pages to your website
Location pages can make a huge difference to the traffic reaching your site. Put simply, if you don't have some location pages on your website, you could be missing out on potential sales. If you have a page targeting a specific location and service, you can really boost search results for that keyword. For example, having a page on 'Rochester builders' will increase the chances of that page ranking on Page 1 for that search term. It will also therefore increase the likelihood of more people reaching your site from that area.
When it comes to location pages, you have two choices. You can either write specifically targeted pages that have as much location-specific information as possible. Or you can include testimonials and case studies relevant to that location.
When writing location pages, it's important to avoid duplicating content. Differentiating copy isn't easy but it's an important skill to have and if you do it right, it can have a very positive effect on search rankings.
Try adding schema markup to your pages
The final cherry on the top of the cake is schema markup. If you aren't aware, schema markup is a new day of structuring data for search engines. Essentially, it helps Google and the other search engines to quickly understand what your website is about. It is particularly useful when targeting local searches, as it will help the search engine spiders to crawl your location pages quicker.
It may seem daunting, but it's actually pretty easy to do. By using Schema markups, you can add a wide range of information to your Google snippets and Meta Descriptions. This will increase their potential appeal and your traffic levels in the process. For example, you could add customer ratings, local information and product reviews. In essence, the more information you can give Google and the other search engines, the more helpful your website will be for potential users.
To find out more about Schema, or to generate a markup for your website, visit the JSON-LD Schema Generator.
Follow these simple tips and tricks and your local search marketing will improve!
Making sure that your local search marketing strategy is up to scratch needn't be difficult. Follow the above steps and obey the usual white-hat SEO rules and you should be fine. With hard work and some perseverance, you should start to see your website moving up the local search rankings and an increase in conversions.
Of course, many small business owners simply don't have the time or experience to enact the above tactics and techniques. Which is why we offer a full search engine optimisation and local search marketing service. At the Smart Domain Group, we specialise in generating great search results for our clients. Using white-hat SEO techniques and local search marketing strategies, we have gained thousands of Page 1 results for our clients over the years. Contact our experienced team today to discuss your requirements and receive a free website review.