Local businesses are often described as those that operate in one city. Typically, they only have one location, although some might operate multiple locations. Marketing on a local scale is quite different than multi-city, regional, or national marketing. A unique approach is required in order to succeed here. Sometimes, these businesses make mistakes when it comes to local business marketing, though. A common mistake involves overlooking search engine optimization.
SEO For Local Businesses…?
Some business owners might scoff at the idea of local SEO, including those with SEO experience. They’ll ask, “How could that possibly benefit a single-location business?” In the past, local SEO came with a lot of headaches and few benefits. The search engine landscape has changed in recent years, though. A local company can easily optimize its presence on the Web. By taking this task seriously, small businesses can see their online marketing efforts pay off quickly.
Search Engine Business Profiles
Larger search engines, including Google and Bing, allow businesses to create their own profiles discoverable through search. Currently, their programs are called Google My Business and Bing Places for Businesses, respectively. Every business needs to create profiles on the major search engines. Doing so creates a free marketing opportunity that can pay dividends. In a given city, more and more consumers use search engines to find local businesses after all.
When creating a business listing on search engines, businesses need to create interesting profiles. Without a doubt, profiles need to contain pertinent operating information. No potential customer should be left in doubt about a company’s business hours or services. Listing current deals helps draw customers into a given location, too. Although such profiles are invaluable, companies that throw them together haphazardly won’t see their benefits.
Jump Into Social Media, Too
Consumers and potential customers respond well to social media. If a business features a social presence, then consumers often become more interested. Plus, a presence on social media shows up in search results. Businesses should operate a handful of social media accounts and interact with their customers regularly. Doing so amounts to free marketing and positive PR, along with more search results pertaining to that company. However, no company should create these accounts and never touch them again.
Don’t Forget About Review Websites
Yelp is the king of business review websites today. In search results, a company’s Yelp page often falls within the first five results. It’s vital that businesses update their Yelp profiles and respond to customers’ positive and negative reviews. Companies that do so increase customer engagement and build a loyal customer base. Either way, the Yelp page will exist whether companies utilize them or not. Failure to pay attention to the reviews can have dire consequences.
Operating a Website For Local SEO
All companies should operate their own website, even single-location businesses. A website costs less than $100 to run each year. These days, great websites can bring in many times that amount in revenue through customer acquisition. A local company’s website should contain keywords, including its name and city/state location. Such information is vital because search engines cannot otherwise rank a site appropriately. Once again, consumers use the Internet often to find businesses.
Why is Local SEO so important?
Potential customers scour the Internet looking for a local restaurant or repair business. When they find a company with high reviews, they’re often convinced to visit that location. If they can find a website, they’re more likely to visit the physical location. Companies that don’t optimize themselves for search engines can’t appear in results, and customers will never even know they exist. In the coming years, local searches will only grow in volume.
Local Business Marketing Begins With SEO
Before a company starts a marketing push, it needs to focus upon search engine optimization. Most of these opportunities are free, and others are low-cost, high-reward situations. Passing on local SEO can wipe out a large segment of potential customers, which leads to potential sales missed. In the end, far too many small businesses learn the importance of even basic SEO practices. A non-existent online presence does far more harm than most businesses realize.