There are many ways customers can find out about your business and properly implementing a local internet marketing strategy will allow for increased visibility, awareness and interest from customers. With the evolution of search engines, social media, mobile devices and as the general public become more tech savvy there are now multiple ways to advertise and communicate your business specifically to people in your region. In fact, 72% of all searches are related to a search for local content. Small businesses should make sure they’re developing and maintaining their local online presence.
10 Tips to Improve Your Local Search Presence
1. Have an active presence on Yelp and Foursquare
Yelp has become the most trusted review sites for local businesses you can be sure that your business will receive some local traffic as a direct result from being active on Yelp. In fact, 75% of smartphone owners use location-based services, and this usage is only predicted to grow throughout the year. Make sure to claim your business with Yelp to gain access to analytics. Offer specials, check-in deals and reward the mayor and frequent customers will help gain extra exposure by showing up under the “Check-In Offers Tab” or “Specials Tab” of these sites. For example Café Coyote, a local popular Mexican restaurant in Old Town San Diego offers 1 free quesadilla appetizer when you check-in. Some restaurants take it a step further and require that you write a review of the business before receiving your check-in special.
2. Set up social media accounts with sites like Facebook, YouTube, Google+, Twitter, LinkedIn Pinterest to actively post content
Social media sites positively affect your SEO efforts. These sites are easily found by Google search spiders, strengthening your search visibility. Including keywords and hashtags associated with the location your business is located will help expose your business locally when consumers search for your business. You should follow and promote other local business to encourage they’ll do the same, to help build a stronger community that will benefit all.
Place signage in and around your establishment notifying them of online specials and other information relating to your campaign. Let them know about your Facebook & Twitter account, how to become the mayor on Foursquare, how to sign up for your text message alert specials, or where to sign up to leave reviews about your business.
3. Submit info to local business directory listings
Make sure your business is listed with various directories so that you show up on places like Google Maps Listing, Bing Maps Listing and Yahoo Maps Listing. Being listed on Google Maps will let a consumer get specific directions from where they are to your business. By signing up for a free Google My Business account will allow you to list your address, telephone number, a link to your website, a description of your services and even a picture. Further optimizing these pages will allow you to verify your business, gaining access to analytics for you business listing. There are also a number of online yellow pages where you should submit your business information to, such as Google+ Local, Merchant Circle, Web Local, Yellowpages.com, Local.com, CitySearch, Bizjournals.com, Insider Pages and Superpage to name a few.
4. Encourage customers to refer to your business and to write reviews on your website, Google Local & Yelp
Google Local a lot of emphasis on the quantity of reviews your business has while sites like Yelp take into account the ratings you receive. You need to make sure your monitoring your reviews and ratings to be able to respond to negative comments. It’s important to gain customer reviews as they help increase search visibility. To encourage more reviews you could reach out on your social networks and directly message each individual that already follows you asking them to please leave a review to help improve our offerings to you. You could place signage in and around your establishment notifying them to please leave reviews and other information relating to your campaign.
5. Take advantage of Google’s Keyword Tool
This tool can enlighten you with what your local audience is currently talking about. You can then craft high quality, keyword optimized content around these topics or issues to drive more local traffic to your webpage. Having a strong presence and visibility on search engines will help you be found by customers.
6. Review your local business listings on Moz Local aka getlisted.org
This tool allows you to see how your business is indexed on some of the most popular search engines as well as provides you with helpful local SEO suggestions.
7. Enable customers to check-in at your place of business on Facebook
Facebook offers some simple step-by-step instructions to enable this feature. Since people crave third party validation, seeing the local businesses that their Facebook friends are frequenting may further motivate them to pay you a visit.
8. Write articles for local newspapers and magazines about a topic related to your business
Distribute content to media outlets that local customers will see. Develop relationships with local editors by sending an email explaining that you would be willing to produce some content for them. Local news media sources are high traffic sources that will allow you to further expose your messages to your local community.
9. Host an Event
Will let you be known by a lot of people at once. Allows you to directly interact with attendees. Tie the event in with a social media hashtag to promote before, during and after the event is done. Social media engagement will directly affect your SEO. You could also hold the event at your place of business so people learn where you are.
10. Frequent blogging and Blogger outreach
You will need to make sure that your blog and website is optimized for a local search. If you have a store front in San Diego your site needs to be optimized for your geographic location. You can do this by incorporating keywords onto your website. Blog posts that contain local keywords will allow your content to be more visible on search engines. See what topics are being discussed online that relate to your keyword to come up with content ideas. Posting weekly blog posts will help to pull your website up on to the first page of results because it sees your consistent new blog info improving the chances of customers finding your business online. Another thing you can do is ask local bloggers to review your business if it’s applicable to business. When the blogger writes a review or article about your business they will include a link to your company’s website, creating outbound links will help with rankings and the positive reviews will help your reputation.