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  • Michael Bolt

The 7 Secrets of Local SEO

Would you like more customers for your business? Of course you would, everyone does in some way shape or form and it is the number one request our Marketing VA’s hear when taking on a new client.

Running your own business is tough at the best of times, but doing so when you are short of clientele can be soul destroying and often downright perplexing. Especially when people start bounding around terms like SEO.

If this is you, do not worry. You are not alone and I have good news.

If you take a little time, set out your objectives and create a strategy, suddenly the huge task of attracting more business becomes achievable.

Here are a few secrets of how to do just that.

1. Understand how people find you.

Sounds simple right? Wrong. Much of the time small business owners have just gotten on with trading meaning they have not been able to put much thought into answering this question, but it is crucial in understanding where your business (and more business) could be coming from.

First stop? Keywords.

Your keywords sum up what it is you do. So, if you run a company that provides dermatology services in London, then dermatology services in London will be an important keyword for you.

To help, Google understands in general how terms relate to each other. So, if your web page has a primary term of dermatology services London then Google understands that London dermatology services will also be relevant.

Top Tip: Past keywords, consider putting in place a mechanism to ask customers how they found you. Generally, when customers are placing their order is a great time, as making a new purchase is a feel good moment that makes capturing data like this easier.

2. Get your site in shape

According to Bill Gates back in 1996, Content was king. Guess what? It still is. The most valuable thing you can do for your local business is to get into the habit of regularly creating high quality content because it is crucial for engaging visitors and search engines alike.

To get the best search results you also need to make sure your content is optimized for best practice. Forget stuffing your posts with too many keywords, instead concentrate on creating the best headline and description in the meta information as they will be what is displayed in the search engine results page.

As you are a bricks and mortar business, where possible be sure to include the name and main address of your business, its main telephone number and a GEO sitemap so search engines can access it easily. You can do that here.

Top Tip: Pages with customer stories, testimonials and team member details can really help here. As could question and answers.

3. Get your business on Google

The vast majority of internet experiences begin with a search engine, so making sure your details are present and correct on a local results page is key to successfully attracting more business.

You can do this here.

Once that is done, you also unlock some pretty useful free tools put in place to simplify the management of your new profile.

4. Claim your local listings

You want to claim all listings for your business, whether they are review websites or local directories.

Why? Each listing is a mention of your business (otherwise known as a citation) and these mentions are one of the elements which Google use in their ranking algorithm.

How do you find them?

A quick search for your business should do the trick. That is after all what your customers will be doing.

Top Tip: Set up a Google Alert for your business name. It will email you whenever you are mentioned on a web page or news item. A cheeky tactic is to set up a few for your closest competitors too.

5. Encourage people to review

Remember you asking your customers where they specifically found you? Well the next step is to ask them if they will review you.

Do not ask them for positive reviews or incentivize your customers to do only that.

Leave them to it.

A blaze of five stars can appear fake and you certainly do not want that, they need to be genuine.

Top Tip: If you get a bad review never ignore it. People understand businesses go through change and being seen to engage genuine customers, even over rubbish reviews is often interpreted as a positive. If you feel the review is not genuine contact the site owner as they should be able to run some checks.

6. Optimize your social profiles

Every social media profile you have should include your physical location, business name and your website URL. Keep the details consistent too, whether on your website, social media profile or third party site, the details should be uniform.

Top Tip: If you are on Facebook and run a business in something like retail, make sure it is listed as a local business and if you can, encourage people to check in – free coffee or express delivery anyone?

7. Go mobile

Mobile is the future and Google is now adding more weight in local search results to mobile sites, so if you have been thinking about going mobile now is a great time – it will increase your SEO rankings and improve your customers experience on your site.

Top Tip: If you have limited time or resource consider a mobile responsive site. It can take the hassle out of alot of SEO as you only have to update a single place.

What is next? Easy. You just need to get started. So go back to the top of the list above and crack on with number one. You may be surprised at just how straightforward SEO is.

Until next time.



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