Small business owners must understand the Internet if they want to fully unleash the potential of their business. While the heart of small business ownership is still getting out into the community and making important connections, there is still a great deal of room for business owners to find new business through the Internet. With this in mind, SEO can be a difficult challenge for small business owners. In some cases, they won’t have the budgets or the sophistication to exploit the Internet like a big company could. Here are some local SEO tips for small business owners that can help make their marketing more effective.
Local listings are critical
Google’s job is to prioritize information in a way that makes it easy and accessible for consumers. Often, when they search, there are hundreds of places they could go. If you’re a restaurant in New York City, for instance, you’ll be competing with quite a few other spots when a customer searches “restaurants in Manhattan.” Google and other search engines prioritize their rankings by cross-referencing many different listing sources. The more times your company is listed with local services, the more likely it will be that Google will list you at the top of their results. Local listings and citations build credibility, which is the primary thing Google is looking for when it compiles its own listings.
The importance of online reviews
Customers today treat their online searches like a vetting process. They are not just looking for addresses and phone numbers. Rather, they are often looking for experience reviews from other people just like them. This means that positive reviews on various sites will help improve your rankings and your conversion rate from these searches. Your ability to produce positive reviews depends in part on your business type. There are many places to rate restaurants, for instance, but fewer sites that rank hardware stores. You’ll want to focus on building positive reviews on sites like Yelp and even on Facebook. Some business owners give incentives to customers who leave reviews online. It’s just another way that online and offline marketing work together.
The impact of your on-site content
How you design and populate your website will have an effect on your ability to attract search engine results and traffic from those results. For instance, many experts will tell you that it’s critical to have three pieces of information listed on every page. That’s the name of your company, the address of the company, and the primary phone number you use. This is important because it will help that information show up in the search engine results.
Local SEO requires small business owners to understand the behavior of consumers. While consumers are willing to make that initial search on Google or Bing, they are not often willing to click much beyond that first search. Sometimes when they search for a company and do not see contact information, they’ll move on to the next option. There’s another reason why having this information on every page is critical. It allows apps like Google Maps to quickly pull the information for consumers who may want to visit your small business. Without this functionality, people on their iPhones will have a more difficult time searching for and utilizing your service.
Local SEO may seem difficult at first glance, but a handful of little things can unleash your business’s potential. At the end of the day, your website is just a front door to your business. Just as you’d create a beautiful storefront designed to draw the eye of your customers, you must create an online presence that allows people to find you and buy from you. Search engines work in a particular way, so you have to play whatever game they are putting forth. The tips listed here will get you started and ensure that people can find you when they go to search on the Internet.