Does showing up in local search really matter for a small business? Of course it does. It’s one of the main goals for both business owners and marketers in order to help local consumers find their businesses in search engines.
And the latest local search study results prove that this isn’t a dying trend. In fact, with the number of consumers using tablets and smartphones to search for local businesses, the importance for businesses to show up in local search results continues to increase.
So, what can you do to make sure your local business shows up when consumers – both on desktop and mobile – search for products and services like yours?
1. Claim and optimize your business on local online directories.
There are dozens of online directories and review sites that consumers may find in organic search results when searching for local businesses. But a couple of the top directories you should make sure you have your business listed on are Google+ Local and Yelp. Claiming your businesses on Google+ Local not only helps your business show up in organic search results, but it also puts your business on Google Maps, which is critical for mobile searchers. And, now that both Yahoo and Bing pull local results from Yelp, claiming and optimizing your Yelp profile will help your business show up on these search engines as well.
So, what should your company page contain? For one: the right information. It may seem needless to say, but unfortunately, businesses sometimes have incorrect or outdated information listed. This can significantly impact the chance of a consumer finding you. And aside from not being able to contact or visit you, 73% of consumers lose trust in a business if their listing shows incorrect information. To keep this from happening to your local business, make sure your local listings include the correct address and phone number, plus the information shown below that consumers tend to look for in map results like correct hours of operation, positive ratings and reviews, and a website URL.
2. Apply SEO best practices to your website.
What goes on your website is critical to whether local searchers can find your business as well as the information they actually want. According to the study, the top information searchers look for on PC/laptop (22%) and mobile phones (27%) is a business address or location. The second most-searched for information is a specific product or service they need.
To help searchers get the information they are looking for, you can make these easy website updates:
- Make sure your phone number, address, or other contact information is easy to find. If you have only one location, you can add your number to the top of every page and additional information in the footer of your website. If you have multiple locations, make sure there is a “locations” page in the main navigation to show local searchers how to contact and get to each location.
- Optimize your website by including pages that feature your products or services. These pages should include SEO best practices such as descriptive, keyword-rich headlines and copy that clearly describes what it is you offer. Also, since images are searchable, make sure that your images all include relevant alt text so that search engines can “read” them.
- If you have frequent specials or offers, feature them on your home page or a dedicated landing page that provides more information. This landing page is also a great place to drive additional marketing, such as search ads, display and retargeting ads, and social media promotions.
3. Make sure your website is mobile friendly.
According to the study, 78% of local searches on a mobile phone resulted in a purchase, the majority (73%) being in-store. Also, 76% of those purchases occurred the same day as the search, and 63% within hours.
For local businesses, this means making your business and critical information about it easily accessible to mobile searchers. That means when consumers visit your website through your organic link, local directories, or any other mobile advertising, they should see an easy to navigate, functioning mobile version of your website. The best solution for that is to have a responsive website that is built to work across all devices, including smartphones and tablets. But at the very least, check out these tips on how to make your website mobile-friendly.
Showing up in local search results is a no-brainer for helping consumers find your local business. Are you doing all you can to take advantage of it? What other ways do you make sure your business information gets out to local searchers online? Let us know with a comment!
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