3 Secrets About Local Search (That Nobody Wants To Tell You)
No matter what you are, where you are or how big you are: visibility is important. It’s no use being amazing if no-one knows you exist. You won’t stay unnoticed for long of course, and search engines such as Google are happy to deliver that all-important kick (into the spotlight).
The importance of local Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) has skyrocketed in recent years. Local businesses are falling over one another trying to find that secret recipe to success; that one thing that will help them dominate in the rankings.
Luckily for you, we have done the hard work. We have scoured the marketing vaults and found 3 local search secrets that will hopefully cure those SEO woes and propel your business forward.
- Reviews matter
While being visible to the customer is important, being liked and respected is even better. You never want to be seen for the wrong reasons and businesses need to learn how to take both positive and negative feedback onboard. Online reviews are a vital currency for any business looking to make its mark in a digital marketplace, and can mean the difference between a sales desert and a sales bonanza.
With this in mind, online directories such as Google My Business are great platforms for boosting a company’s visibility and likeability. The interest of a potential customer can be swayed by the accuracy of the contact information displayed, as well as how the company treats happy and disgruntled reviewers.
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Think carefully how you respond to a positive or negative review. Recent research found 89% of consumers read businesses’ responses, so responding defensively or even aggressively to negative reviews could seriously hurt your connection with current and potential customers. Similarly, when you treat a customer right, your company could be treated to virality – just follow Tesco’s example.
Reviews don’t just matter on online directories, however, and opening your company website up to reviews will make a powerful statement of transparency. Getting a simple feedback form on your website will let customers know their words have value – our team of experts could even do it for you.
- Link-building is a skill
The success of your company website does not just lie with your internal efforts, but also your presence on websites that belong to other people.
Backlinking or citations can be overwhelming and it can take time to see some payoff. To dismantle the term a bit, “backlinking” is basically any time you publish your information (name, website address) on a third party site (meaning, a site that’s not your own). For example, citing the website address of a local homewares store on a cookery website could inspire a customer to purchase cooking utensils.
Results will not be immediate, with much of the process involving emailing local businesses and trying to jump-start connections. On the surface, you are reaching out with a clear ulterior motive, but these conversations with local business owners could help create allies and soften competition.
While the direct approach tends to be the most effective, there are other tactics that are a little underhanded (but 100% proficient). One of the most popular techniques is guest posting. Rather than reaching out to local businesses directly, see which ones are open to public contributions e.g. you might find your local newspaper has a “write for us” section on their website. Provided you fit the criteria and your work is accepted, any readers will be navigated back to your company website.
- High-quality content is key
You may have heard someone utter the phrase, “quantity is better than quality” in regards to digital content. This is a tricky subject that content marketers have been debating for years. While posting infrequently is certainly not going to win you any customers, posting content of questionable quality is far riskier. Creating and distributing high-quality content is a key tactic for not only winning customers but keeping them.
Through your words, you can educate people on your industry and offer insight that will resonate with a wide range of potential customers. Content comes in all different shapes and sizes so don’t be afraid to mix it up. Alongside your regular long-form content, create and share useful tutorials and related product reviews to Youtube and on your own website. Relevance and consistency are paramount. The more relevant and insightful you are, the more trust the customer will place in you and your company.
As a local business, you have an opportunity to target local communities through your content. This can mean promoting or hosting local events, community-driven blog posts or even crafting city or region-specific landing pages. The latter is useful for increasing your company’s Google ranking, particularly when it’s complemented by an effective Google Ads strategy. Customers searching for local services are more likely to connect with a landing page that’s targeted for their specific county, region or city.
Need help with your digital content? Talk with one of our marketing experts today.
Local businesses have always had to work hard to be seen, and even harder to be seen by the right people. Luckily Google is now on your side, making their search engine more local business-orientated with each year. All that’s up to you is to make sure your content and online behaviour is worthy of the spotlight.
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