SBOs with local companies are tired of constantly hearing about how SEO can do this and that for businesses. There seems to be so much talk about SEO, but rarely is there anything they can do on their own without hiring a firm that may or may not fit their budget. Well, let's put all of that talk aside, and focus on some practical things that any business owner with a basic understanding of the Internet can apply – starting today!
Start With These Six Tips
Here are a few actionable steps that you can take to improve your business' local presence in the search engines:
- Get NAP info right. Each page on your website should have accurate information. At a minimum, you'll want to include your business' name, address, and phone number (NAP) in the footer of each page. It should be even more visible on your home page and contact page. Incorporating links to your social profiles – if applicable – is also a good idea.
- Claim Your Google My Business profile. Formerly known as Google Places, Google My Business lets businesses of all sizes directly connect with customers online. And, while it's technically optional, it's a critical component of your local search strategy. Not only does it boost your presence in Google search results – the largest search engine in the world – but it also ensures that you control the information people see about your business.
- Target local terms. You don't have to be an SEO expert to understand the value of search terms. You inevitably use them every day when you're looking for products or information online. Incorporating a few of these search terms into the body of your site copy and page titles will help you to climb the search rankings naturally. Use Google's Keyword Planner tool to find out what people are searching for.
- Encourage online reviews. Online users love customer reviews and testimonials. Encourage satisfied customers to post firsthand reviews on your Google My Business profile. These positive experiences can reduce consumer hesitancy and increase conversions. If you happen to sell products online as well, you should incorporate product reviews on sales pages.
- Invest in social. Social media is a topic that needs to be covered all on its own, but do know that investing in social media is a key component of a local marketing strategy. The more proactive your approach in this area, the more traffic you'll drive to your website (which enhances its authority in the eyes of the search engines).
- Earn backlinks. One of the more effective ways of increasing your online prominence is to link up with different industry blogs and websites. Develop guest blogging relationships, and ask if it's okay to link back to your site. This increased recognition will benefit your business in the long run.
By implementing these tips, you can realistically expect to enhance your company's local visibility online. Remember to stay up-to-date with changing trends and to focus on developing and maintaining a positive Internet reputation.