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Being locally visible online isn’t just restricted to the conventional local mom-and-pop stores or businesses which have their own websites. Practically, any business can take advantage of the web. Given the stats that support the fact that Local SEO will be the next big thing, I guess it is even more important to do so now. Additionally, the increase in the number of smartphone users and some wearable devices is also confirming the importance of being locally visible online.
Here are some statistics that would increase your faith in local search:
- Local searches lead 50% of the mobile visitors to visit stores within a day.
- 88% of customers consider online reviews before making a decision to purchase/visit.
- 18% of local mobile searches convert within a day.
Local SEO is about being visible and present at every possible place where your potential customers might look for you. Broadly, Local SEO solution would include building your citations at every relevant place for your business and getting listed at all the relevant directories. But these are the conventional ways which everyone would follow.
I have jotted down 7 tactics that should definitely be followed to improve your visibility in local search:
First things first, Create a Google My Business Page
If your business is not listed in Google My business, it’s high time that you start using this free service. It will assist you in your Local SEO campaign by making your businesses visible locally and easily discoverable on the web by your potential local customers.
You can manage your location-related information through these listings. This implies that when a user does a ‘near-me’ search related to your product or service, your business would show up in local listings.
It’s a pretty simple process to get your business on Google My business. You just have to log in, click on “Add your business”, fill in your accurate business details and get it verified. In case, you come across any problem while completing these steps, here’s a detailed guide on building Google local listings.
Get on Google business View
This is one of the best places to be on, in order to improve your visibility to potential customers. Through Google business View, you have the opportunity to offer your customers a virtual tour of your location. This would help build credibility and awareness about your business. Also, if your business location design is very impressive or unique, the word of mouth might also spread.
Additionally, not many people know about this, so it might help you get an edge over others.
Look for consistency in the citations of your business
The important elements of your citations including NAP (Name, Address and Phone Number), website URL, directions, hours of operations, etc. should be checked thoroughly for consistency all over the web. The importance of consistency in citations can never be underestimated. It helps the users to locate your business accurately and also, the search engines index and crawl your pages better.
I would suggest to keep a sheet with all these important elements of citations and update it regularly if anything changes. Thus, you can maintain accurate and consistent listings across the web.
Go for Citation Audit
An audit is always necessary to ensure that everything is in place. This citation audit would reveal if your citations are relevant, accurate and consistent. In short, this process involves a quality and quantity check of your citations. Also, since this process involves analyzing your competitor’s citations, it would indicate your position in respect to your competitor. Hence, help you plan your citations further.
Separate listings for Multiple Locations
If you are a business that serves more than one location, it’s necessary that you have separate listings for all of the locations. This will help users locate your different branches. Additionally, you should also make sure that the citations for all these business locations are consistent all over the web space.
Bank on Reviews
If we look at the aforementioned stats, 88% of the customers trust and consider online reviews before making a decision to buy any product or visit any place. Undoubtedly, reviews build credibility for your business. Wherever possible (and relevant), add social media buttons to your website and give users a chance to review you. You can always ask for reviews, but keep your tone synced. There is a line between asking and forcing, which you should clearly understand, before reaching out to customers for reviews.
Last, but not least, befriend social media
Make sure your local business has a profile on all the leading social media platforms including Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, etc. The wider online presence you have, the more you are talked about. Share the posts from other related business. Link to content which you think is relevant. In short, the entire aim is to add value to the user’s experience.
[About the author: Shivangi is always in for exploring and learning new things. She uses this inquisitiveness in the art of reading and writing and is always up for new challenges with her let’s-do-it attitude. Currently she is working as a Content Analyst at Local Rankwatch. You can connect with her and the RankWatch team on Twitter and Facebook.]