Small business owners, listen up. If you haven’t put marketing energy into your online local search presence, you are going to fall behind your competition—and FAST!
Need convincing? Here are some stats that simply can't be ignored:
- According to this article dated August 2016, data shows mobile device search volume for the term “near me” is 565% higher than desktop search volume and also boasts a 30% higher click-through rate.
- This Business News Daily article from April 2015 states that “…according to Google data, 50 percent of consumers who conduct local searches on their smartphone go to a store within 24 hours, and nearly 20 percent make a purchase within a day.”
- Last year, Jason DeMers shared these statistics via Forbes: “According to Google Trends data, searches with location-specific phrasing like “near me,” “nearby,” or “closest” have dramatically risen over the past several years. Specifically, they are approximately 34 times more popular today than they were back in 2011, and their popularity has roughly doubled since last year.”
So where should you start when it comes to improving your local SEO presence? In this post, we'll list 4 tools you can use to not only improve your search engine optimization efforts, but ultimately drive new business!
1. Google My Business / Google Maps
Get started by getting your business name, address, phone number, and directions on Google by adding your business to Google My Business.
- Keep tabs on reviews! Know when they're coming in, and respond to reviews as soon as possible. Google ranks positive reviews, negative reviews and timely responses by business owners.
- The Google My Business app allows you to update your hours of operation in real time (so for example, if you are opening early on New Year’s Day, update your hours for the week using the app).
- If you have more than one business location, differentiate the address info using Google My Business. If you don’t put the effort into this best practice, Google may get confused about your physical location (and ultimately penalize you for it).
2. Moz Local
Over time, your business address, phone number and other pertinent information may have changed.
NAP (name, address, phone) consistency is key. If your business has different phone numbers, different addresses, or different business names (using LLC or Inc. for example), your NAP is inconsistent and search engines will not serve you up to potential customers searching for you and your products/services. In fact, Google and Apple maps will rank businesses with consistent NAP info before they will rank businesses with NAP inconsistencies.
In one simple step, Moz Local offers a free search tool that helps you to determine whether your business listings are correct, consistent, and visible across the web. Again, check your listing on MOZ Local for NAP inconsistencies. Simply type in your business name and zip code to check your business listing. In addition, Moz Local also offers paid programs which will ensure that your listings are continuously monitored and updated.
3. Facebook Retargeting Ads
Facebook retargeting ads are great for keeping your business top of mind for prospects who have previously engaged with you, either via your website, via your Facebook page, signed up for email, etc. For starters, Facebook retargeting allows you to create custom audiences!
To advertise to local prospects, consider creating a target audience that includes people who have visited your website and live in your demographic region. You can also create “lookalike” audiences to find prospects similar to your custom audience list (with similar interests, demographics, etc.). To learn more about Facebook retargeting ads, click here.
These days, online reviews can make or break your business. Reviews have a huge influence on both rankings and purchasing decisions. Every business should have a review acquisition process, as well as a review monitoring process. A lack of reviews can hurt a business in search engine rankings just as much as negative reviews can. In fact, a lack of reviews may even hurt you more than negative reviews that have been responded to quickly and with careful follow up.
GetFiveStars.com can help you to get customer feedback and online reviews, manage and monitor your online reputation, review your monitoring habits and provide solid reporting.
Marketers and business owners, it isn't necessary to use all four tools at once. Rather, we wanted to provide you with a list of options so that you can choose the one or two that work best for your business.
Also, don’t make the mistake of assuming that local search is only for B2C companies! Think about how you personally use your mobile device to search. Do you only search for pizza joints? Probably not. And guess what, your prospects ARE searching for you. Make sure they can find you!