Why Small Business Owners Should Optimize for Local Search
Local search engine optimization is increasingly essential for small businesses in the digital age, yet many business owners leave this process out of their marketing plan altogether.
The reason local search marketing is so important for small business owners is simple: these practices help search engines understand exactly where your business is and what you offer. This way you show up in more search engine results pages for people in your area searching for exactly the sort of goods or services you provide.
Keep reading to learn the best practices and get started.
Start with local business pages
After creating local business pages for all the major search engines (YP, Google, Yahoo, and Bing) you will show up in local search engine results pages, regardless of how people search. You’ll just have to create listings through each search engine’s Small Business Places page with your business’ name, address, phone number, hours of operation, goods/services offered, etc. Also place your business into as many relevant categories as possible to make it easier for customers to find you.
Make your local pages shine
Bookmark the local business dashboard for each of the major search engines and return frequently to make updates as needed. Upload high-quality, relevant photos whenever you have them. When your information changes, i.e. when you add new locations or change phone numbers, make sure to update all three business listings immediately. Also, search for your business by its name and location to see if there are any existing citations in places like Google Maps, YP, and Localeze, and claim the listing if it already exists.
Simplify the online review process
Google uses online reviews to determine search engine rankings, and many customers are more likely to trust a business with reviews. You may be worried about negative reviews, but if you’re good at what you do, the majority of reviews will be positive! Writing fake reviews or paying people to leave positive reviews is not a good business practice, though. Instead, simplify the online review process by adding a link to your website and other business listings so customers can simply click to write their review.
You’ll also need to optimize your website, which a qualified marketing partner can help with. As a small business owner, there is no good reason not to invest in local search optimization services to help customers find your business online.