Ten years ago, getting discovered by local searchers was relatively simple (at least compared with today). Having a website and pay per click (PPC) advertising was a solid enough web presence strategy.
In 2015, as competition online grows, a solid web presence requires more than a website and a Google AdWords™ campaign. That’s because more and more consumers are turning to the web for local information. A recent Google study found that four out of five consumers use search engines to find local information. Other studies have shown this is becoming a regular pattern for consumers, with one report showing that 15% of consumers search for local businesses on a daily basis.
Now, more than ever, having a strong, holistic web presence can be fruitful for businesses in reaching local consumers. A modern web presence approach is mindful of all the ways consumers are looking for and discovering businesses online – from search to social, from paid to organic, from desktop to mobile. With that in mind, here are three critical local marketing strategies for local businesses to boost their web presence and get more leads from local consumers in 2015.
1) Create a Mobile Website
Smartphones have become an essential element in our daily lives. In fact, 88% of local searches were conducted via smartphone in 2014, making it the first year that mobile local searches surpassed desktop. Yet only about 6% of local businesses have a mobile website!
In 2015, mobile web marketing is one of the most important things for local businesses to focus on. If you don’t already have a mobile website, creating one needs to be your top marketing priority. Mobile devices are revolutionizing the way consumers find information and businesses. Not having a mobile website won’t only affect user experience on mobile devices but it will also affect how many mobile users actually make to your website in the first place.
For mobile searchers, Google now displays a “mobile-friendly” tag on organic links for sites that display optimally on a mobile screen. Not having a mobile website could cost you visits to your website, and, ultimately, new customers as consumers are more likely to visit websites that they know will work on their device. Additionally, beginning April 21, Google plans on increasing organic rankings for mobile-friendly websites, which means if you don’t have a mobile site, your rankings could plummet.
With nearly 80% of local searches on mobile devices turning into purchases, can you afford for mobile consumers not to find your website?
2) Optimize Your Listings & Social Pages
Local listings, or local directories, are a great way for consumers to find your business in organic search results such as Google, and other top search engines rank them highly for local searches. Additionally, many local consumers often visit maps and local directories such as Yelp!, Google Maps, and CitySearch directly when looking for local businesses. Plus, some listing sites feed their data into mobile apps (such as Google Maps) where consumers are actively looking for local business information. Whether consumers are finding your business listings via organic search results or by going to the sites or apps they populate directly, it’s important to have consistent and correct information across all your local listings.
Similarly, it’s critical to have a claimed and optimized social presence on top sites like Facebook and Twitter. Make sure your business information is accurate and updated here, and that you’re regularly sharing fresh content so these pages will rank for your business and show up in search.
Optimize your local listings and social pages by claiming and updating them with consistent business information such as the business name, phone number, address, hours of operation, and photos. Not only are listings and social pages a great way to generate more awareness and your organic presence, they can also help drive leads when managed effectively. Optimizing local listings and social pages is a smart and easy way to boost your web presence in the places consumers are searching.
3) Publish Useful, Relevant Content
Google’s Panda and Pigeon updates focus on boosting rankings for quality content websites and providing hyper-local results for searchers. Capitalize on these latest algorithm changes by publishing and distributing powerful, relevant, and compelling content. Increase your overall web presence by consistently publishing new content on your website and blog and then utilizing social media channels to distribute this content.
Need some ideas? Visual content connects quickly with consumers and is frequently shared, so photos, infographics, and videos are great pieces of content to consider. You can also incorporate visual content with informational content. For instance, create a how-to video and incorporate both the video and text into a blog post. As more businesses are focusing on content creation, it’s important to be creating useful, engaging content that will get consumers’ attention. That means it’s time to get creative. As Jerod Morris of Copyblogger Media said that in 2015, “One-size-fits-all content will become less and less successful. Preparing an adaptive content strategy is imperative for long-term success.”
No matter how amazing and compelling your content may be, it’s not going to promote itself. Take advantage of viral distribution through the hottest social media platforms in 2015 like Pinterest, Instagram, YouTube, Vine, LinkedIn and Facebook to maximize exposure and results.
The Time to Start Growing Your Web Presence is Now
Your customers begin their interaction with your brand online, whether it’s on your website, or on sites like Facebook, Yelp, CitySearch, or even Pinterest. In 2015, resolve to update your entire web presence starting with a mobile website, optimized listings and social pages, and a strong, creative content strategy.