Remember the days when every coffee table had a copy of the Yellow Pages prominently perched on its center and it was the first place anyone looked when they needed to find a local florist, plumber, or painter?
Anymore, most of those books don’t even make it out of the plastic bags they’re wrapped in when dropped on the front porch. From there, these anachronistic relics of a less technology-driven time are generally transported to the nearest waste receptacle.
The reason is obvious. The Internet, having already rendered obsolete such information-gathering tools as encyclopedias and maps, has now supplanted print directories as the go-to source for finding local businesses.
Think about the last time you needed to find someone local in a particular industry. What was your first move? Chances are, you pulled up Google or another big search engine on your laptop, tablet, or phone, clicked into the search bar, and typed out “West Palm Beach teeth whitening” or “health food store in Denver”.
Either that or you got on one of the multitude of local search smartphone apps and found what you were looking for that way.
Am I right?
The fact that at least 95% of you answered “yes” to that question has huge implications for businesses that need or wish to advertise locally. Businesses who don’t show up at the top of local searches such as the examples given above are missing out on a ton of sales.
Imagine having a business and there being hundreds of local customers every day who are actively searching for what you’re selling, but since you cannot be found in the places they’re looking, your competitors end up with their business instead of you.
This is a true scenario for many businesses who aren’t savvy in local search advertising.
With all that said, what steps can a business take to increase its presence in local searches and thereby increase its sales?
Here are a few places to start.
Optimize your web site for local keywords. For example, if you are a dentist in Tampa, your web site should include keywords such as “Tampa dentist” or “dentist in Tampa” at an optimal density, usually once or twice per 100 words.
Granted, this is a bit of an oversimplification, as research should be conducted as to what specific keywords people are searching when they’re seeking a Tampa dentist and what the competition is for each of those keywords.
This is the benefit of looking into a local search advertising company such as the ones reviewed on LocalSEOCompanies.com and hiring one to do this for you.
Consider teaming up with an online “yellow pages”. Just because no one uses the print version anymore doesn’t mean yellow pages advertising is no longer viable. There are many online yellow pages such as YP.com and SuperPages.com which get a lot of traffic, according to web site ranking service Alexa. Once again, an advertising review service such as LocalSEOCompanies.com can help you determine which of these services, if any, can give you the best return on investment.
Engage with your customers and encourage online reviews. Making it to the top of Google isn’t enough. When you get there, you want to make sure that what prospective customers read about you is good. Therefore, when you have a satisfied customer, consider offering that customer a discount on future purchases if he leaves a review on Google Reviews or Yelp. This goes for social media as well, such as Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube.
Let’s face it: if you do enough business, you’re going to run across a curmudgeon who just wants to complain, whether it’s justified or not. You want the bad information put forth by someone like that to be completely overwhelmed by all the good things your hundreds of satisfied customers have to say.