If you plan on running an online business have you made sure your website is optimised for the local market?
Hopefully, the answer to that question is yes, because the customers on your doorstep are the ones you are most likely to do business with. You might have longer-term ideas about targeting the national market or spreading your wings nationally or internationally, but most businesses start from small beginnings. Why is this local market so vital for start-up businesses? Well, it’s simply because customers looking to spend their money on goods or services automatically look within the area they live in first, unless the product they’re searching for belongs to a niche market. Local transactions are the foundations on which you should be able to build a profitable and sustainable business. No business can run before it’s learned to walk.
So local is good, but how does your business ensure that it gets its fair share of the local market?
Well, you need to make sure that your potential customers know you’re out there and able to provide exactly what they want at a price that suits their pocket. So how do make sure your business is visible? The answer is simple: you need to ensure that your website is optimised to serve the local market, so that your customers are aware that you’re not only there, but also offer the best product at the most competitive price.
Once you understand the importance of local optimisation, local, the primary question you need to address is how can I publicise my business online and get as high a search engine ranking as possible. The simple answer to this question is make sure you get yourself a Google Places listing/place.
Creating a Google Places listing couldn’t be simpler: to create a page all you need to do is enter your town or city as well as the county, then add the word places and your business name in the Google search box – making sure you use quotation marks around your business name. For example to advertise your onlinebusiness you’d simply enter “ ” Stockport, Greater Manchester Places. However, it’s important to remember that you should only have one Google Places listing per business location: that applies even if you offer a variety of services under your broader business banner. If you have more than one listing it will have a detrimental effect on your search engine rankings.
How should your business optimise its Google Places page?
- Add photographs:
This will give your page extra punch, particularly if you also use a GPS-enabled camera and use that image URL. It’s important to add a keyword-rich name for the photograph.
Make sure you include your business category so Google knows exactly what your business does and indexes it in the right category.
- Include your URL:
The description on your on your website’s home page should match the description and categories on your Google listings page.
- Add a YouTube Video:
Do this for extra impact and to add a more personal touch.
- Create a description for your business:
This will let your customers know what you’re about and what you do. Keep the language plain and simple and avoid jargon or buzzwords.
- Get yourself some reviews:
These really need to be genuine ones from past and present customers. Once you’ve got these post them to your listings page so other potential customers can see independent verification of the type of service you offer. Once you’ve managed to gather 5 or more, you’ll notice little stars will start to appear in your Google search returns.