Businesses that rely on local customers can utilize digital traffic to drive up revenue. Whether you are a local dry cleaning service, restaurant, or hair salon, the local community is the heartbeat of your success. Utilizing local SEO tools to increase foot traffic is the perfect marriage of digital marketing and brick and mortar. Some businesses neglect their online presence in favor of more traditional locally-focused campaigns. At Blayzer, we love local businesses and local customers. We think the greater St Louis area is the best place to live and work. We also enjoy using digital marketing trends to help local businesses grow.
A frequently overlooked local SEO tool is Google My Business. Our personal favorite aspect of google my business account is that it’s FREE. We all love free things. With an account, you get a business profile that lets you easily connect with customers across google search and maps.
Show potential customers what is unique about your company by posting photos and offers. Remember the good ole days of looking up businesses in the yellow pages and then painstakingly dialing each digit. Ok…Ok maybe it wasn’t that painful but I can bet that when google has found the exact place you want you to take advantage of that immediate call, message, directions, or website button. I know I do. Every month there are 5 billion searches for restaurants, 600 million searches for hair and beauty, and 3 billion searches for hotels.
Google is constantly updating its features that enhance listings to grab the attention of viewers. The beginning of any sales funnel starts by getting the attention of your target audience. It’s impossible to pique their interest without first getting them to look at you.
The following list isn’t only reserved to enhance local SEO tools but can help any business improve their online presence.
Claim And Verify Your Google My Listing.
Don’t be shy at this point in the process. It’s important to completely fill out all of the information that Google wants. Showing your products and services that you offer is a great way to increase how long a user will study your profile. It also attracts customers that are interested in what you have to offer.
Beware that you don’t fill out any information others can do that for you, even your competitors. This is one reason why...
You Need To Check On Your GMB Regularly
Google wants feedback from real-life people who may have experiences with your businesses. In the middle of your listing, it will say “Know this place? Answer a quick question. A person can choose to answer or not answer. Google’s philosophy is that this type of user-generated comment helps to build community.
As with all good things in life, NAP consistency is key
No, not that kind of nap. NAP stands for name, address, phone number. Part of optimizing your GMB account is reconciling the key information that is the same across all channels on the internet. After all, this is how your potential customers will find you because using local SEO tools to drive customers to your physical location is paramount. Google is the gatekeeper of information so we want to play by their rules so that they display our business to the right customers. Having !00% NAP consistency shows Google that you are indeed worthy of being included in someone’s search for products or services that you offer.
Choose the most relevant category
There are over 4000 categories available to choose from. Choose the most relevant category. Do not go overboard on secondary categories. This can also sometimes be trial and error. Moving a secondary category into the number 1 category spot can sometimes move your listing closer to the top. We have years of experience doing this and we rely on data and experience to test the best category for your business.
Add Your Service Area
Setting your service area can be as simple as 1-2-3.
- Go to manage locations.
- Click the pencil to edit and add the areas that you service.
- Click Apply
BAM! You’re done. Keep in mind that Google prioritizes locality. Even if you set your service area nationwide, Google prioritizes businesses in their 3 pack map at the top of local search results based on the location of the user. To target locations that are not near your business, we can use landing pages to target other cities.
Don’t Forget Photos
Do not fall into the trap of setting and forgetting. Use high-quality photos in your optimized listing. Change and add photos regularly to appear fresh and relevant. These pictures can tell the customer and google the story of who you are. Companies are people too. Maybe not, but your business would be nothing without you and the staff that represent you. Potential customers want to see that you’re a real company with real people that they can trust. Use geolocation and alt text to optimize your photos as well.
Google uses the number of reviews and the star rating to determine your algorithm. The algorithm is how Google decides the best profiles to show first. Users are counting on google for reliable suggestions. It’s the circle of a google life. With everyone in the world wanting to be on google’s first page we have to prove to Google that we are worthy of their suggestion. Think of it as getting on the list of Oprah’s favorite things. There are strategies that we can use to get more positive reviews. Considering that reviews are as important as backlinks it’s important to invest time and resources into getting more reviews.
Create Interactive Posts
Drive more traffic to your website by creating a post referencing an article, blog, sales, courses, or promotions. Great interactive posts for B2B and eCommerce companies include events and products. The post will expire in 14 days. It’s ideal for the post to be approximately 1000 words and contain keywords. One tip is to use “Google My Business” in the first paragraph. The posts add value while keeping your potential customers engaged. As with every aspect of utilizing local SEO tools, it’s important to track the metrics. As with most campaigns, the most important KPI is action. We want sales and growth.
Google My Business is not just for local businesses. Part of our initial onboarding process with new clients is an SEO audit. Lots of companies spend a ton of time and effort on their website but miss this important feature. It's like renovating the house but forgetting the front porch. One big reason it gets overlooked is that they don't think of themselves as a "local business". GMB is not just for local SEO, it's crucial for any brand. It is also incredibly important on mobile search because Google will show your listing right on top and mobile users are more likely to use it than scroll down to your organic listing and start at Home.
Use the Power of Social Media
After you’ve covered your bases by updating your business website and have sent out pertinent business information to your email list, take a step back to see how you can use the power of social media marketing. Make your temporary business changes known via social channels too. Reinforce product and service availability with imagery and descriptions. Provide a link back to one of your email newsletters so customers click back to get full details at the touch of button.
Humans, by nature, are social creatures. During a time of isolation the need remains to find a method of bonding. Social media was created just for this. Current and prospective clients will be perusing all social feeds to find fulfillment.
Think about if your business provides a service or product that can help during this crazy time. While virtual experiences are helping to keep retail and service businesses afloat, people still want human interaction. This is the perfect opportunity to think outside the box and use the many tools digital capabilities provide to mitigate service disruption. Perhaps use virtual consultations or live streaming as a new way to maintain customer relations and meet potential clients.
Many people also rely on social media as a coping mechanism. Use this time to build relationships and pull people together. Perhaps your business is able to help a cause, organization or fellow business. Generous actions leave lasting impressions and build a sense of trust. Not every business has the ability to give back but filtering in lighthearted posts among daily content can help raise spirits for those who are struggling emotionally.
Digital Marketing is our passion at Blayzer.
We understand that you have a business to run and customers to serve. Not everyone has the time to commit to fully optimizing a GMB and taking advantage of local SEO tools. If you value the importance but don’t have the time, we are looking for you. We would love to talk to you in person about what we can offer you.