Is it easier for a small business to compete on a national or local stage?
Well, it doesn’t really take too much thinking about to come up with the correct answer. Competing in a local market is much easier. Any business that has any sort of involvement with internet marketing will tell you that. If you don’t believe that, well, consider this scenario. If you sell books and advertise nationally, the likelihood is that the SERPs will be dominated by the likes of Amazon. If you sell books locally and list yourself as a book seller in Manchester, the chances are your search engine rankings will prove to be far more effective. So, it’s all about getting your business’ name out there in the public consciousness, and staking your claim as a leader in your local market.
To achieve that you need to concentrate on the effectiveness your local marketing and improve your local SEO.
So how can your business do that? What are the best and most straightforward strategies for improving your local search engine optimisation?
Getting your business listed on Google Places is an imperative. Whilst it can be time-consuming it will definitely be worth it in the longer term. Granted the verification process can be a pain, but if you list correctly and accurately it will help your business significantly.
Listing on Yelp is often overlooked, and it’s a pity really. Many local businesses wrongly assume that Yelp is no longer relevant, but that assumption is incorrect. Many potential buyers still use Yelp to help them find information about local products and services. If buyers can source a product locally at a competitive price, then this is where they’ll spend their money.
Keep your business information precise and organised.
It doesn’t matter which local directories you may be listing in, it’s important to keep your business’ online summary precise and consistent. You should always keep your business address, location and description the same.
Just because you’re a local business doesn’t mean that you can neglect what is potentially a lucrative source of online traffic. The social media will unquestionably increase your profile and help you better connect with your local audience. So get yourself a Facebook page, and sign up to Twitter, FourSquare and LinkedIn, if it’s appropriate. You don’t have to tweet as often as Stephen fry, but do check in occasionally and keep your audience up to speed.
Customer reviews are important and are positively encouraged by the likes of Google Places and Yelp. So do your best to encourage your customers to give you a positive mention after the conclusion of a sale. Don’t be too aggressive about it though: gentle persuasion is often the best policy. Directories don’t like aggressive behaviour and you could find your profile removed.
Get involved in your local community.
If your local community is supporting a relevant charity or holding a parade, try to get involved and show that you truly are part of it. Links to donor pages and participants in local charities are very good for improving local search engine listings.
If you want your webpage or blog to be shared on the social media, then you ensure that this process is as easy and seamless as possible by enabling simple social sharing tools. These tools can create links for your business, confirm authority and improve your SEO results.
A blog is a business imperative. You might even go far as to say it’s the life blood of your SEO strategy. It gives your business the platform to tell an audience what you do, what you stand for and why you do things better than anyone else. Yes, it can be time-consuming, but it unquestionably pays dividends and will increase your local profile. So in many ways it’s a no-brainer.