3 Simple Ways to Ensure Your Local Business Is Found Online
There are many ways local businesses can be found online, but in order for that to happen, your business’s online presence – from your business profile pages to your very own website – needs to be optimized and in good working order. Not only will this help ensure that the information about your business is consistent and accurate across the board, but it will also improve your overall search rankings – and increase the likelihood of someone finding your business whenever they search for products and services you offer.
Here are three ideas that any local business can implement immediately to help edge up in search rankings, all with minimal budget and technical knowledge. Add these ideas to your to-do list, and check them off, one by one.
Use a Mobile- and SEO-Optimized Website Template
Mobile and tablet usage exceeded desktop for the first time worldwide in 2016. So, it almost goes without saying that if you’re thinking about building a new website, only consider website templates that are both SEO- and mobile- optimized. While search rankings are still primarily based on your website’s desktop search performance, Google is testing a mobile-first index that could change the status quo in a big way. Your business needs to be prepared for that. That means having a site that runs just as well on mobile as it does on a desktop, including speed and usability.
Afraid you don’t have the technical expertise to do this on your own? The good news is that there are a number of a pre-optimized templates and website optimization services available today that can get you up and running fast. If you’re looking for a more full-service experience, the local marketing experts at YP can help. The big benefit here is the extra support and service you’ll get to ensure you haven’t left any stone unturned. This includes 60-minute monthly consultations, reporting and analytics, and tons of features that make designing and managing your website easy.
For those DIY’ers out here, you can find a variety of SEO- and mobile-optimized website themes build specifically for the hosting platform you use: WordPress, Wix, Squarespace, etc. Pricing for these can range from free to $100+ depending on what features you want and need.
Make Coupons Available Online
Coupons may seem old-fashioned, but they’re just as popular in the digital age as they were in the not so distant coupon-clipping days. In fact, 8 percent of Millennials, 39 percent of Gen X’ers, and 32 percent of Baby Boomers used online coupons in 2016, according to PRRI. PWC even found that 12 percent of online shoppers choose their “favorite retailer” based on the personalized marketing and offers they receive from those businesses.
A great way to start is by offering a few “new customer” specials. A whopping 75 percent of retailers polled agreed this is the way to use coupons to boost sales. Why? Because a new customer promotion can be a hook that puts your business into a consumer’s consideration set, especially if they’ve never done business with you before. It’s a low-risk way for them to “try you out” and an easy opportunity for you to knock their socks off. It’s a win-win.
Now, all you have to do is get them to your website to make a purchase or sign up for your emails in order to qualify for the new customer discount. One of the best ways to do this is to create a page on your website dedicated to coupons and deals. And as with everything on your website, here are a few tips to ensure this content is optimized for search:
Use keywords in the text, title, and meta description, including high-ranking words like “coupons,” “free coupons,” and “online coupons.” These get 100K to 1M average monthly searches, according to Google’s Keyword Tool.
Choose industry specific keywords as well, such as “home goods coupons” (10K to 100K average monthly searches) or “shoe coupons” (1K to 10K average monthly searches). Obviously, in this case, the keywords you choose will vary based on your industry. Be sure to use tools like Google’s Keyword Tool to help choose keywords that accurately describe your business and receive a large number of average monthly searches.
Last but not least, don’t forget to include your brand name in the text, title, and meta description. By combining your brand name with the keywords, you begin ranking for both branded and general coupon searches. Here are a few examples:
- Smith Shoes Free Online Coupons
- San Diego Home Goods Coupons
- Brian’s Furniture Manufacturer Coupons
Optimize Your Listing Pages
Simply creating a business profile page on directory services like YP (and others) is not enough. First, you need to make sure that the information is accurate and consistent across all listings. Then, you need to optimize the content on those profile pages to rank higher in search. This includes adding pictures, videos, reviews, and other rich content – the kind of content that helps consumers decide whether one business is right for them (or not).
To get started, Chris Silver Smith of Search Engine Land suggests doing a local or regional industry search – something like “San Diego Computer Repair” – to see which listings rank highest in local search results. Not only will this help you identify your immediate competitors – especially those that have already gotten onto the SEO bandwagon – but it will also help you see what listings sites they use to get the word out. If you’re not listed on those sites, create a profile stat.
Once that’s done, it’s time to optimize your listing. Here are a few tips to get you started:
Ask customers for reviews. Not only are reviews an important factor that boosts search rankings, but in YP’s “The Why Before The Buy” research it was shown that consumers were less inclined to engage with a business with negative reviews or even no reviews at all.
Use a local phone number. Whether you do business locally (one location) or regionally (multiple locations), make sure your business phone number(s) are the same across all of your listings pages. Inaccurate information from one listing to another can be a major deterrent for consumers, a factor that can lead them to go with one business over another.
Make your location specific. You want your business to be found, so be sure to include location information that makes it easy for consumers to find your business. This includes street address, city, cross streets, and hours of operation. Some listings sites allow you to include more than one location, so be sure to add those in as well, if applicable.
Pay attention to your business category. The business category feature on many listings sites makes it easy for consumers to filter listings based on their specific needs. Make sure to keep this updated and consistent across all listings, adding relevant subcategories whenever possible to ensure your business never falls out of rank.
Use keywords. Pretty much every part of every website can be crawled for keywords. Make sure your business description, product information, and other content on your business profile pages is keyword optimized to ensure your listing ranks when people search for the specific products and services you offer. Here’s an example:
Poorly Optimized Business Description:
Computer repair shop in San Diego. Fixed pricing, fast service, and friendly staff.
Well Optimized Business Description:
We are a computer repair shop in San Diego, servicing Pacific Beach, La Jolla, Ocean Beach, and Mission Hills. We repair PCs and laptops as well as all Mac electronics and tablets. Repair services include liquid damage, battery issues, monitor and screen cracks, hardware crashes, and more.
Being found online is an ongoing, multi-step process. Use these tips to get started without wasting unnecessary time or money. With all the pieces in place, you’ll quickly begin to see your website and listings rise in search rankings – helping you draw in more customers, boost sales, and drive brand awareness for your business.