Unless you’ve been asleep for the last decade, you know that the internet is increasingly the epicenter of commerce. According to a report from eMarketer, web users will spend upwards of $1.5 trillion in 2014 on goods and services purchased online. How can you possibly tap into that huge revenue stream? It all starts with effective search engine optimization.
As any professional SEO company can tell you, 93% of all online experiences begin with a web surfer punching a query into their favorite search engine. Increasingly, consumers are looking for local businesses, using localized search terms and long-tail phrases. What this means for small businesses is that unless you’re effectively implementing smart local SEO strategies, it’s going to be increasingly difficult to compete online.
Simple Local SEO Strategies Every Business Needs to Use
- Claim and Optimize Your Business Listings
- Help Your Customers Review Your Business Online
- Make NAP a Priority
For Search Engine Land, the first step to success with local SEO is claiming and optimizing your online business pages. You should get started by optimizing your pages on Google, Yahoo, and Bing, all of which offer free business listings. Uploading high resolution pictures that show your business and the surrounding area; writing a keyword-optimized “About” blurb about the goods and services offered; and listing your Yelp, homepage, social media, and other important URLs on your business pages will go a long way in helping to generate traffic and revenue.
Despite popular belief, encouraging your customers to review your business on reputable sites, like Yelp, Zagat, and TripAdvisor, can actually benefit your company in the long run. Consider, as Forbes suggests, every review left for your business represents an opportunity. Positive reviews are obviously beneficial, but they additionally represent a chance to thank each customer, both for their business and for taking the time to provide feedback. Negative reviews give you an opportunity to respond publicly, demonstrating to others that you care about hearing customer complaints and ameliorating any concerns.
Further, every review left that mentions your business is another piece of web content getting your name out there. It’s been said that all publicity is good publicity. Providing links to your Yelp page on your website or asking customers to review your business on their receipts is a great way to generate publicity to help build your brand.
Making sure your business information appears the same on each page is crucial to driving traffic to your business. It might not seem like it, but the difference between “Mark’s Pizzeria” and “Mark’s Pizzeria, Inc.” is huge. Google will discriminate between these two names, effectively splitting traffic for each term. For this reason, Yahoo suggests using the Name, Address, and Phone formula (NAP) on each page of your website and any other listings you might have across the web. Listing your company information in this fashion ensures that any interest generated in your business actually gets directed to the right place via search engine results pages, making this one of the most important local SEO strategies out there.
What search engine optimization strategies do you think too many businesses are ignoring? Share your thoughts in the comments below. For more, read this link.