This post is one in a series of tips designed to guide small business owners through the challenges of today’s startup environment and is sponsored by Canon MAXIFY – the printer lineup designed to help small business owners increase productivity so that they can focus on everything else that matters. For more information about the Canon MAXIFY printer lineup visit here
Search is pretty much everything these days.
Even businesses that rely on people in their town, coming into their place of business to complete a transaction, are held to the fact that, increasingly, most buying decisions start out with an online search.
The category of local search engine optimization has picked up steam over the last few years as search behavior combined with the rapid growth of smart phone use created a truly mobile search consumer. Services like Yext have cropped up just to help tackle this very specific form of SEO.
Below are five local search tactics that demand your attention today if you are a local oriented business.
Get the NAP right
NAP stands for Name, Address and Phone and the search engines obviously want to make sure that when someone is looking for a local business there’s no ambiguity around what and where the business is.
Google depends upon list and data compilers to make sure this information is accurate and up to date. If you’ve been in business more than a few months there’s a good chance your business is in one or more of the directories that Google depends on, but in addition to adding business to these directories you must make certain that the information is correct and consistent.
MOZLocal is a great free tool for analyzing the current state and gaps in your directory listings.
Local profiles matter
Profiles in social, local and review sites such as Yelp, can be a great place to add lots local information.
While many people are familiar with the more popular networks such as Google+ and Facebook, there are other important directories that might help in giving your local business an edge. MOZLocal is one of the best tools for automating this process.
Localize your content
Many people forget to consider their web content and make sure that they are adding localized content where it makes sense. Obvious things like blog posts with suburb names and maps with directions are a must, but you might also consider adding a community calendar and blogging about events that happen in your town.
The Yoast Local SEO Plugin is an invaluable tool for optimizing content on WordPress sites.
Consider adding location specific landing pages where you might have content specific to a suburb, town or even neighborhood.
Reviews drive local trust
Reviews are one of the many ranking factors Google throws into what businesses show up for a local search. If you search on a term like “SEO” and Google thinks you are in say, in Kansas City, you are going to see a list of Kansas City based SEO companies.
If you do this search yourself take note of the fact that all of the local pages listed also have Google+ Pages associated and while not all have reviews, the ones that do certainly stand out.
Get serious about collecting reviews! Tools like Grade.us and GetFiveStars can help make this process more streamlined.
Don’t forget to add to your overall local approach by localizing much of your social media activity. As mentioned above, your profiles are a great place to start, but you can go beyond that as you post new content and updates.
Think about ways to curate local content to share in social media. GeoTarget your social media advertising with local personalization. Find and use popular localized hashtags. See if anyone has created local Twitter lists of influencers you can tap into.
When you work consistently on the local search tactics outlined above you can expect to gradually start raising your local search profile to the point where Google may become your greatest source of leads.
Canon will be spotlighting several small business owners on its social media channels throughout the next several months, so be sure to leave a comment and share your thoughts on this post using the hashtag #MAXIFY in order to qualify. If you are a U.S.-based small business owner (1-9 employees) and have faced a unique business challenge in your first year on the job, let us know! We’d love to hear what line of work your small business falls within and what you feel is the most important takeaway from this post. We’ll also be rewarding select small business owners with a prize pack including the Canon MAXIFY MB5320 printer as well as other essentials to help you run your business more efficiently. So don’t forget to leave a link to your website or social media pages that way we can see how well you’re marketing your business and get in touch!