Up to 80% of consumers look up information about local businesses before they shop. You would expect people to simply visit local shops to simply ask for prices, right?
It turns out, most people seek validation and in some cases, even extra validation. They look for other people’s opinion before making purchasing decisions. With sites like Thomson Local and Yell, one can read user reviews of companies. People generally buy from companies they trust, so they may also look up a website for the plumber who they want to let into their home.
And that where the problem lies.
Many local businesses do not have optimised online presences. The HTML website you had created in the 90’s just won’t cut it anymore. A recent report by Google reported that, 18 percent of local searches lead to sales, compared to 7 percent for non-local searches. Improving your site’s visibility in the local search engines is an excellent way to get more leads and increase profits. There are many ways to do this, here are five of the strategies we recommend at Search and More:
Get your keyword research right.
What does your business do? How many ways can your products be described? Which specific services do you render? Are you targeting the correct location? Using keyword research can also provide you with keywords to use in social media marketing efforts, anchor text etc. The Google Keyword tool is a good starting place for amassing keywords that describe your business.
Build Relevant Local links.
In every industry, there are authority sites and industry publications. Getting a link from them gives your site a real, high relevant, powered backlink. Business directories, like Yell, can also drive targeted traffic to your site. Other sources include local resource pages, related local businesses (not direct competitors), a link from a local charity.
Many of these platforms have high authority in Google’s eyes and links form them will increase your ranking for your chosen keywords.
- Responsive design rocks – Many local businesses have sites that are not optimised for viewing on modern screens; tablets and smartphones. Remember that over 50% of buyers visit your site on a phone before visiting. If the phone renders your site awkwardly, they won’t stick around to look for key information. Work with your web design firm to eliminate these four issues:
- Ensure your fonts are legible,
- Colours don’t clash,
- On-page elements do not overlap, and
- Quick site loading time.
- Optimize your listing: To rank high in the search engines, your site should attract both human eyes and the search engine spiders. Correct title and descriptions are basically an ad for your site. Make the title enticing enough for them to click. Remember to add your location in title tags and the meta description. You can also add your company Name, Address, Place and star Ratings using elements from schema.org.
- Make your key info easy to find – As a local business, there are key services you want your customers to see as soon as possible. While we advocate having a blog, it should be on a separate page. Your home page should be able to tell your visitors which options they have quickly. Pictures, prices, contact details, Industry ratings and certifications, hours opened, NAP etc. are important details that you want them to know, so make it easy for them.
Bonus Tip – Create specific pages on your site with local-centric content. You can do this by running a blog, or a news page on your site.
Applying these tweaks to your local business site can improve your ranking in the SERPS. Having an optimized, easy to navigate site is a win for all parties involved. 70% of local businesses do not go as far as this, so you will be miles ahead. Let Search and More help you with these tweaks. Some of our other services include local-centric social media marketing, local analytics tracking etc. Contact us fro a consultation today.