As of writing this, most of us are quarantined due to the Corona Virus outbreak.
While there is nothing more important than staying safe, we can’t deny that local businesses are hurting because of social distancing.
So what can you do in the meantime?
Optimizing your local business’ online presence is one of the most important things you can do right now. While foot traffic may be slow, you can still make up some of that traffic through online mediums.
So I’m going to share with you some SEO local business optimization tips that will help you mitigate the impact of social distancing.
The tips I’m giving here will not only help during these tough times but will have you set for when the world begins to normalize.
Make Sure You Local Citations are Consistent
A lot of businesses have a big problem with consistent local citations. That means that wherever your business’ name, phone, and address is listed, it needs to be the same.
This is known as NAP Consistency (NAP is an acronym for Name, Address, Phone), and it’s an important ranking factor for your business.
What happens is that maybe you changed locations or you got a new phone number. Maybe you updated your info on your Facebook page, but other directories have your old phone number.
Think about how much that can affect you as a restaurant. Especially right now, that people will want to order food as they’re working from home. If they are calling the wrong number, or they think you’re far from them, you may be missing out on a lot of potential orders.
What can you do to fix your inconsistent citations?
The first thing is to know if and where it’s wrong.
We have a free local SEO audit tool you can use to find inaccurate listings.
After you’ve pinpointed where your business information is inaccurate you now have to go to each of the websites and correct the information. This may require creating accounts or claiming your business.
The process for each of these listing websites are going to be different. If you feel overwhelmed after seeing the results, contact us so we can help you get it fixed fast.
Optimize Google My Business
Google has its own listing where you if you register, you show up in Google Maps. It’s called Google My Business.
The thing with this system is that your business may be listed already, but you are not managing it. That’s a huge opportunity you are missing.
So first, you need to claim your Google My Business listing. Just follow the instructions. Eventually, Google will mail you a postcard with a code. When you write in that code, your listing is verified and you’re set.
Once you are in fill out everything, and we mean everything they have that applies to you.
Again, make sure your name, address and phone number are the same as everywhere your site is listed on. Be very picky about this. Make it exactly the same down to the hyphens.
Get More Reviews
People love businesses with great reviews. And Google does too.
Having lots of great reviews does two things:
- It builds trust with your customers
- It builds trust with Google
In case you are not confident that reviews are important to your business, 97% of customers read reviews before buying locally. So unless your customers are the 3%, you need people to leave reviews. And while you’re at it, answer those reviews.
How can I get people to leave more reviews?
Google My Business has a button that generates a link you can share with your customers. When your customers click on that link, it’ll take them to the review form easily.
How you use that link is up to you. Some businesses ask for the review in exchange for a coupon, others do a campaign. You know what’s best for you.
We’ve talked about how to spy on your competition using Ubbersuggest. But this keyword research tip comes from a different angle.
In this case, we’re going to use Yelp and Thumbtack.
This tip is all about leveraging keyword suggestions so you can create content for those keywords.
All you do is type in the broad category of your business. For example, a dentist.
And see how the autocomplete bar shows you other things that people are looking for in this category. It could be services they’re looking for or something you don’t expect.
The other website we can use for keyword research is Thumbtack, a search engine for professional service providers.
Again, type in the category of your industry or service, and see the autocomplete suggestions.
How to Structure Your Website
One of the most important tools for your local SEO efforts is your website.
Your website is the keystone of your online presence. And if you’re going to have a great website, you need great content that is focused around keywords and locations.
Based on the keyword research you did, you need to determine what keywords deserve a specific page (section) on your website.
So, once you decide, make sure you create a specific landing page for each location you serve.
The structure goes like this:
- Keyword 1 + City 1
- Keyword 1 + City 2
- Keyword 1 + City 3
- Keyword 2 + City 1
- Keyword 2 + City 2
- Keyword 2 + City 3
- And so on…
For example, and for the sake of brevity, let’s say a Mortgage Broker has these two services:
- New Home Mortgage
And if you’re in Michigan, let’s say you serve Troy, Birmingham and Clawson.
So you would need to create these sections
- Refinance + Troy
- Refinance + Birmingham
- Refinance + Clawson
- New Home Mortgage + Troy
- New Home Mortgage + Birmingham
- New Home Mortgage + Clawson
You get the idea.
This part of optimizing your website can get overwhelming. So don’t worry if you think this is too much. That’s why there are professionals who do this for you.
But if you are going to do it yourself, just make sure that the content you put in there is unique, useful and worth it.
Don’t just create a section because “you’re supposed to.” If you are not sure you can produce unique content for each section, it’s better to keep your website with fewer sections, but certain that all of them are great.
It’s a scary time but we can either retreat and hide or we can adapt and get stronger. If you business isn’t leveraging the internet for business, now is a good time to invest the time and/or money.
It’s simple to get your business optimized to show up in Google. Make sure your NAP is consistent across the WWW to boost Google’s confidence in your Google My Business listing.
Completely fill in your GMB listing and generate the special link for your customers to leave reviews.
On your website you want to spy on your competitors, use Yelp and Thumbtack for local keywords, and finally update your website structure to capture those keywords.
What industry are you in and what tactics do you use to get business from online mediums?