As a business owner, you can never have enough customers. A thousand years ago, a sign in a marketplace is all that was needed to gain attention and sell goods. More recently, in the 20th century, a large color ad in the local phone book or newspaper was all it took to get customers through the door. Today, however, we live in the digital age. If you want to gain foot traffic or phone calls from clients, a printed ad simply won’t do. Instead, the success of your business lies in local SEO. Here’s a look at how to use local SEO to attract new customers in our modern, digital world.
Make a Google My Business Profile
The very first order of action when tackling local SEO is to start a Google My Business profile. While it only takes a few minutes to create, this profile will allow your business to be visible on Google Maps and serve as the foundation for the rest of your local SEO endeavors. Google My Business also plays a role in online reviews and citations, which can have a significant impact on your local SEO efforts.
Creating a Google My Business profile is a quick and easy process. Simply go to https://www.google.com/business/ and create an account. When doing so, you will provide information about your business, such as its address, hours of operation, contact information, and so on. You can also supply pictures and/or video clips to be featured along with your listing. That’s all there is to it. This important Google service is absolutely free and will almost certainly help your bottom line.
Boost Your Citations
Citations are any listings of the name of your business, its address, and its contact information on websites or social media pages not owned or directly related to your business. While they may seem trivial at first, citations are critical for your local SEO ranking. Generally, the more citations your business has, the higher its local search ranking will be.
Any citation is great, but Google’s algorithms particularly like citations listed on Yelp, Angie’s List, and other major business portals. Therefore, it’s important to create profiles on these sites as well. When creating citations, it’s vital that the name, address, and contact information of the citation matches up exactly with your Google My Business profile. Your business name and other information should be consistent in all of your online citations.
Positive reviews are a clear sign of the quality and popularity of your business website, and since Google’s algorithms are designed to reward sites with great user experiences, they can also have a huge positive impact on your local SEO efforts. In fact, positive reviews can take your local business website from being invisible on the Web to the very first page of Google’s search results.
Optimize Your Business Website for Local SEO
There are a variety of things you can do to optimize your website for local SEO, but the very first task should be to include your contact information and make sure it matches the information on your Google My Business listing. Adding your business’s city and state to the title tags of the website and mentioning them throughout your site content is also a good idea. Creating a KML file and using schema local markup will also help.
If you want to compete in today’s day and age and gain more customers, local SEO is a must. While hiring an SEO firm can lead to faster results, nearly all of the steps above can be performed with little to no outside help. When tackling local SEO, remember that it’s a process and it may take some time to see results. However, if you keep at it, you’ll be able to reap the rewards of your effort and laugh all the way to the bank.