Local search: It’s the foundation of a successfully marketing your local business on the Web. If you don’t get that part right, nothing else is going to work. At Ring Ring Marketing, we use a variety of strategies to ensure success at local search. We’ve covered some of these previously, but it’s always good to have some reminders:
Make User Experience Priority #1
The key to having a successful website isn’t stuffing it full of targeted keywords or having a ton of inbound links. Carefully integrating relevant keywords and generating high-quality inbound links are important to SEO, but everything comes down to visitor experience.
If your website content isn’t written with the human visitor in mind, if the site’s hard to navigate or doesn’t display well on mobile devices, you’re failing to serve the needs of potential customers. Always consider the visitor first when making improvements and adjustments to your site.
Your local business benefits when you invest in developing a contemporary, appealing, easy-to-use website. This includes using a visually appealing color scheme and attractive visual content (more on that below), as well as incorporating straightforward navigation.
A user’s experience on your business website should mirror the experience you want customers to have with your business overall. Outdated information, dead links and long page load times should never be considered acceptable.
Also, avoid using Flash media on your site. It might negatively impact your site’s search ranking potential and not load on some browsers and smartphones.
Optimize your site for local search
Basics for boosting your business website SEO include:
Ensure your website title goes beyond your business name to also include what it is and where it’s located. If your business is called “Denise’s Delights,” it will be difficult for search engines to pick up on the fact that it’s a bakery in Spokane if that’s all you include in your title tag. Make sure potential customers find your business in search by listing all relevant information in the website title: “Denise’s Delights – Bakery – Spokane, Wash.”
Create individual pages for each business location and each product or service your business offers. This raises the visibility of each in search, making it easier for visitors to discover exactly what they’re looking for.
Use keywords and phrasing that potential customers are most likely to use. Don’t go overboard trying to “keyword stuff” every page, but don’t use industry lingo to explain an offering that the average person would describe — and therefore search — differently.
Your contact information doesn’t have to be exclusive to the Contact Us page. Include basic business name, address and phone number information on every page of your website. Not only does this boost SEO, but it makes it easier for a potential customer to contact or visit your business.
Online reviews play an increasingly critical role in driving consumers’ purchasing decisions. The quantity and quality of reviews also strongly influences how your business appears in local business listing results.
As we’ve mentioned before, it’s best to take a soft approach in encouraging reviews. Never promise special treatment in exchange for a positive review, and always be responsive to both positive and negative reviews.
Start a blog
We know that blogging sounds like something that requires a major time investment, but it really doesn’t. You don’t need to write a full-size article every time you post. Even very short posts several times a week can greatly increase your website’s local search visibility.
A steady stream of new and relevant content goes a long way not only in SEO but in communicating authority with potential customers. You can also highlight new business offerings with a blog, and it provides an ongoing mechanism to drive traffic from the social Web to your site.
It’s OK to start small with your blog: Just write short posts a few times a week about something relevant to your industry. That alone will help a lot, and down the line you can occasionally write more detailed posts.
In this age of Instagram and Pinterest, visual content plays an important role in appealing to potential customers. Consumers are attracted to large photos and engaging videos that demonstrate a brand’s authenticity and value. Photos and videos help boost website SEO and improve visibility for local listings.
Add large, compelling photos to your homepage that illustrate the character of your brand and diversity of your products and services. A short welcome video introducing the visitor to your business lets the potential customer develop a level of trust with you and your business.
You should also consider short how-to videos that demonstrate how useful a product is, how easy it is to put together, etc. If your business hosts photos on Flickr or videos on YouTube, you also benefit from the opportunity to include a variety of keywords that link the content back to your business.