It can be hard to attract a local audience online sometimes. Fortunately, there are some practices that make it easier. Read on to discover local SEO tips from Shopper Approved to get the right customers to your store.
Local SEO Step 1: Set up Your Google My Business Page
Google My Business pages allow you to gain greater visibility on Google. This profile gives your customers easy access to your contact information, store hours, location, and even sets up a messaging service that makes it easier for them to engage with you. It also offers you insight into customer actions, like how many people requested directions to your location or visited your website from the listing.
To properly set up your business listing, take the following steps:
1. Sign in to Google My Business with your business’ Google account.
2. Enter your business location’s address, and add a corresponding position marker on Google Maps.
3. Choose if you want to show your location on Google Maps. This is ideal if you serve customers at your physical location.
4. Select your business category.
5. Enter a phone number and/or a website URL for your business.
6. Verify your account.
Not only do Google My Business listings make it easier to interact with your customers, but they also provide an opportunity to further optimize your business for local SEO.
What to Include in Your Local Listing
There is some information we highly recommend you include in your local listings. While we’re talking specifically about Google My Business, this also applies to other channels like Facebook and Yelp.
We recommend writing all this out in a document—then double- and triple-checking it—and copying-and-pasting into different sites so that your information is always consistent. Typos can cause confusion.
Here is the information you should include:
- Business name
- Phone number
- Website URL
- Accurate open hours
- Links to social media profiles
- Other media, like videos or menus
- Brands you carry
Optimize Your Google My Business
There are a few ways to ensure your listing is perfectly presentable for online customers:
- Use high-resolution images. While a business listing will make it easier for customers to contact you, attractive images will make them more likely to actually use your services. It’s one of the simplest ways to show off your business and make it look excellent.
- Make sure your information is consistent. If your phone number or listed address on your Google My Business is typed out differently than what’s on your website, it can lead to some confusion. This could even be a discrepancy as innocent as spelling out “Street” versus just “St.” Nail down a uniform way of writing your contact information on all of your channels.
- Choose a specific category. This helps Google to decide the searches most relevant for your business. You can’t create your own category, but there’s an extensive list of options that Google provides. You’ll want to be as specific as possible. For example, if you’re a grocer that specializes in Japanese goods, you’ll want to choose “Japanese Grocery Store” over simply, “Grocery Store.”
- Use a local number. This is important if you’re a franchise whose headquarters is out of the state or local area. You’ll want the number customers see to be the same area code as the region you’re based in, so be sure to include a number that will contact that specific location.
What to Avoid
Here are some practices to steer away from if you want to avoid penalties on your account:
- Using URLs that redirect to another website
- Keyword stuffing in your business name field
- Having multiple listings under the same business location
- Using an address that’s different from the marked location
Don’t try to cheat the system. The best way to be found on Google is by staying on their good side.
Local SEO Step 2: Get More Google Reviews
One great way to improve the effectiveness of your Google My Business page is to garner more five-star reviews from your customers. If you’ve had trouble getting people to leave a review for you, here are a few ideas on how to get more.
1. Ask Your Customers
Sometimes all you have to do is ask. And most often, the people who are really satisfied with your services will leave rave reviews, which can boost your overall rating. The best times to ask for a review are at the point of sale or in an email later on. But don’t bombard your customers with requests for a review—this can scare them away entirely.
2. Demonstrate How to Leave a Review
When you ask for reviews, it can be a good idea to explain the process in full. Some people might think they don’t have time to leave a review or think it can be too complicated to try. Explaining the process can clear that up and make leaving a review sound easier and more appealing.
3. Provide Excellent Customer Service
It may seem obvious, but if you want to be told you’ve done a good job, you should do your best to actually do a good job. Outstanding customer service will increase your chances of getting positive reviews, because your customers will be incredibly satisfied.
4. Follow Up With Customers
Send your customers a follow-up text or email. See if they’re still enjoying your product. And if they are, ask them how they enjoyed their service, and include a link to the review site.
5. Respond to Reviews
Responding to reviews is a great way to get feedback and show customers you genuinely care about their opinions. It gives a form of positive reinforcement to reviewers, showing that you’re trying to make your business better with the help of their input.
Why You Need Online Reviews
Almost everyone looks at reviews. This is especially true for local businesses, with 97 percent of people saying they read local listing reviews. And there are plenty of other reasons why gathering online reviews is important for your business’ survival, including:
- Getting better ratings. If 97 percent of people read reviews, you’ll want your reviews to stand above the rest. Getting more reviews will often mean getting better reviews in the process.
- Distributing more reviews. Having more reviews means you can use diverse reviews to promote yourself on different platforms. If you have the same two or three reviews you parade around the web, people will notice.
- Improving local SEO. Companies with more five-star reviews have an easier time getting higher rankings on Google. That’s because Google sees these companies as reliable, meaning online searchers will likely be satisfied with the company’s services.
Get Expert Help
If you need help beyond your own capabilities to implement these local SEO tips, Shopper Approved can help. We’re experts at finding customers to give quality reviews. Plus, it’s super easy to work with us. Contact us today to get set up and start seeing results from your online reviews.