Running a small business can be one of the most creatively challenging things anyone can face in their life. When you don’t have the opportunity to invest a lot of money in marketing, giving local search engine optimization (SEO) tactics a try, and doing so smartly, can be the alternative option. While SEO agencies like OptimizeMe can help you with that task, it can be helpful to know exactly what you’re paying for.
As with anything, doing local SEO requires time and constant work. So, while we covered the topic of how you can develop an SEO strategy for your small venture, we believe that there’s more information to cover on the subject.
In this article, we’ll take a look at how you can optimize the information on your Google My Business (GMB) profile, how you can leverage your relationship with the local community to build public relations (PR) that impact your daily clients in a positive way and how content can help you build meaningful connections.
What was once just a listing on the search engine results pages (SERPs) has now become an information-rich card that can help you convert Google searchers into customers, as long as you do it right. And it is vitally important to have your business listed as it gives you control over your information. You are able to make sure that everything about the business is accurate – including your business’s phone number, address and operational hours. Also, when something disrupts your business like a holiday this information can be published on your GMB profile.
In addition to all of this, using Google My Business allows you to understand your customers better by providing data and analytics. For instance, you are able to see where your customers are arriving from when they use Google Maps to get directions to the store. This is invaluable to understanding your demographics of the market so you can better target the right people with your marketing and SEO efforts.
Let’s say you’re running a small, but very good local coffee shop. You even make the best coffee in the whole city. But how do people get to know that your coffee is that good?
Start with family members and friends. The thing is, people are more inclined to leave a positive review when they see someone else has done it before.
And if it happens that you have a negative review on there, make sure you respond to it head-on. There’s nothing bad in someone saying they didn’t enjoy the experience. Show that you care about what happened and see if you can resolve the problem by responding to the comments. All businesses mess up. The important thing is how you act after that.
You should also add your social media, address and operating hours (always keep those up to date). Installing the Google My Business app will allow you to make Facebook-like posts. This isn’t just to put your business in a good light. These reviews have a direct effect on your SEO. When you have positive reviews, your site is likely to get more clicks which is a trust signal for Google.
The more clicks you get will also result in other metrics being measured. For instance, if a visitor to the site sticks around and reads a lot of the content, then this time on page signals to Google that the content is good. Also, if the visitor doesn’t bounce back to the search and to then click on other business links, this shows Google that they got the information they were looking for from your page. All of this adds up to help Google understand that your business should be coming up early in the search for a particular keyword.
While investing time and money into creating content may sound daunting and scary, the truth is in 2020 it couldn’t be easier and cheaper to create high-quality content. All you need is a Squarespace website ($250 per year) and a laptop (you most likely own one). Furthermore, you can shoot videos with your iPhone to create video content.
Let’s get back to that coffee shop from the above example and use it here. So, what content do you create for a local coffee shop? Well, you can focus on creating blog posts around the different types of coffee and everything related to it. How to make it, how to store it and most importantly — how to recognize the different sorts of coffee.
And make sure you optimize those to rank for long-tail keywords. While those won’t necessarily bring new clients to your brick and mortar business, it’s the perfect opportunity to try and sell coffee online and develop an extra sales channel to your business. You can also use those posts on your GMB listing to enrich it even more.
Local businesses thrive because of local communities. Most of your customers will be returning and you’ll start to build relationships with them. Now, when you want to start creating brand awareness of your small coffee shop throughout your city and get customers that aren’t necessarily from your neighborhood, you should start searching for ways to impact your local community in a positive way that will get the wider community talking.
Whether you’ll be supporting fundraisers or organizing charity events or even local clean-ups, being invested in improving the lives of your clients goes a long way to promote your business and brand. This is a surefire way to guarantee return clients, to enjoy a thriving customer base and to generate buzz by free advertising via local word-of-mouth.
Local SEO can be quite tricky, but it is essential to being able to rank your business and the results will prove that the effort was worth it. If you can’t be found by your target market, then it doesn’t matter how good your products or services are.