Local SEO: 5 easy ways to reach more customers via Google
Did you know that 72% of people who perform location-based searches on Google end up visiting a business within five miles to get what they need?
This is an incredible opportunity for small businesses to stand out from the crowd by getting their local search engine optimisation (SEO) right.
Yet the majority of business owners don’t bother investing in SEO, usually assuming that it’s either too complicated to do themselves or too expensive to pay an expert for.
Neither of these assumptions are true. If you’re on a tight budget, there are some easy things you can do for free to give your business a boost on Google.
The secret weapon that many small businesses ignore is a little something called Google My Business. This free tool allows you to manage your business’ online presence on Google Search and Maps, optimising the information people see when they search for you.
Most of the tools on Google My Business are super intuitive, but there are some lesser known functions that can increase your likelihood of showing up in location based searches. Many of these features are under-utilised by local businesses, giving those people who do use them a big advantage.
To get the lowdown on some easy and quick things businesses can do to improve their local SEO, I asked search engine marketing expert Claire Carlile to share her top Google My Business tips. Keep reading to learn five simple methods for improving your local business’ online presence.
Make the most of Q&A
The Q&A function on Google My Business lets you monitor and answer questions from customers, providing an easy way for people to find out about your products and services. “Scarily enough, this is often unmonitored by business owners, presenting various online reputation management nightmares,” Claire warns.
“It's perfectly within Google's terms of service to seed your own Q&A with the most common questions that your customers have for your business. See Barbara Oliver Jewelry for an oft-referenced example of how to do this.”
Get Google Reviews
You’ve probably seen Google Reviews before. These user-submitted star ratings and appraisals provide a useful way to learn about other people’s experiences when choosing which business to buy stuff from.
“Getting Google Reviews is a no-brainer,” reckons Claire. “They influence customer preference on so many levels. Develop a customer feedback and review loop, and listen carefully to any comments – you can use them to refine and develop your product or service.”
Use Google Posts
“Think of these as a sort of micro-blog for your business,” suggests Claire. “Posts are currently vastly under-utilised by local businesses. You can choose from four different post types and a range of calls to action.
“Use these to showcase offers, products, blog posts, new content, events, and anything else that you think will connect with your target market and enrich their search experience.”
Upload great photos
You only have to look at the success of platforms like Instagram and Pinterest to see how important images are to internet users. “We live in a very visual internet culture, carefully curating images based on what they say about us professionally and personally,” Claire comments.
“Extend this careful curation to your Google My Business profile. Add images under all the tabs available to you as a business, making sure you read and adhere to Google's image format requirements.”
“Service-based businesses such as those in the hair and beauty industry have the opportunity to provide a list of their services on Google My Business,” says Claire.
“These currently only show on the local knowledge panel on mobile devices, but they're quick and easy to add as you can easily repurpose existing content, and are likely an engagement and conversion factor.”
What if you don’t want to spend time on SEO?
It’s understandable: you already have so many things to think about in the day-to-day running of your business, you can’t even bring yourself to think about managing SEO.
When I surveyed a varied group of small business owners, they repeatedly told me that finding enough time in the day is the single biggest marketing challenge they face.
But neglecting SEO altogether isn’t the answer. A far better solution is to team up with someone who already understands the ins and outs of online marketing, and who makes it their mission to show the world what makes your business great.
I’m currently offering an affordable package deal on SEO services to all my mailing list subscribers. This includes:
An audit of your current website content, with tips on how to optimise it for search engine visibility.
Keyword research for your business. This involves identifying the most relevant, highly searched words and phrases to use throughout your site content, improving your website’s SEO as a result.
A guide on how and where to use keywords in your content for maximum effect.
A list of relevant blogs, websites and influencers with high domain authority who you should be targeting for backlinks (this is a key ranking factor for SEO).
An hour-long consultation call or Skype session to run through all of the above and answer any related questions.
This mega SEO bundle will be presented using clear, easy-to-understand language, delivered as a downloadable PDF file for you to print off and use as part of your wider business marketing strategy. If you enjoy working with me, you’ll also receive a discount on my copywriting services, which include writing website copy and blog content.
Pssst! Not signed up to my mailing list yet? You totally should. I send out useful marketing tips and exclusive deals for small business owners. No spam whatsoever – that’s a promise. Pop your details in below and join the party!
A massive thank you to Claire for sharing her expertise in this blog post. You can find out more about her SEO and digital marketing services over on her website.