While most business owners today are familiar with “search engine optimization,” or SEO, many are less familiar with the distinct differences between online optimization and local optimization. Because many brick-and-mortar businesses also have an online e-commerce store, these two strategies are not necessarily mutually exclusive, but can actually be highly complementary if done right. In this short post, learn six tips to optimize your business for local SEO.
Tip #1: Be sure your own store website is optimized.
Even if you do not actually sell products or services from your website, most customers will begin their search for what they need online. As well, more than half of those searches will be performed on a small screen smart device, so your website needs to be optimized for what you offer AND for mobile screens.
According to Forbes, you also want your website to be simple to navigate, full of clear images, clear about what you offer and fast-loading.
Tip #2: Create a number of local listings that lead back to your business.
You can create local listings on sites like like Yelp, YellowPages, Bing, Google and social media to create listings for your local business. By adding in your address, zip code, hours, website link and description, you can work with customers using local-optimized browsers to find your business easily online.
Tip #3: Add in relevant local keywords.
“Keywords” are browser search terms that customers use to find the information they need. For instance, think about what you offer – your products and services. If you were a customer that was going to do a browser search for the types of products and services you offer, what search terms would you key into your browser?
Free tools like Google’s Keyword Planner Tool can also help you brainstorm individual keywords and keyword phrases that you can then add into your website, blog content and social media to drive search results in your direction.
Tip #4: Be sure your local business is categorized correctly.
Local listings often function by categorizing different kinds of businesses. So in addition to adding your business’s listing to local search tools, you want to be sure you are picking the appropriate categories.
This is especially important because some customers may just navigate to Yelp, for example, click on the category they are interested in and browse only those businesses. If they are looking for your products and services, you want to be sure you are listed there!
Tip #5: Claim all of your listings online.
If you find your business listing already online but you didn’t create it, in most cases you can simply claim that listing and then update or complete it as needed. Most of the time this is as simple as clicking on the link that asks you to claim the listing if you are the business owner. If needed, you can email the webmaster to claim the listing.
Tip #6: Use the heck out of your local and social media platforms.
Even if you have followed the previous five tips to the letter and your website is optimized beautifully, chock full of keywords and with all local listings leading back to you, you still need to continue building your networks.
Half of this work for a local business is getting out and involved in the community and half is still going to be online via social media. From putting a stack of business cards in a local coffee shop to tweeting a discount code on Twitter, each action you take will make your local optimization pay off!