For businesses with brick-and-mortar storefronts, it is important to obtain online visibility. Surprisingly, many don't think that they need an online presence, but they do. This is because there are so many businesses online with no physical presence in the real world at all.
Physical businesses, especially those that are not real widespread, tend to rely pretty heavily on local search rankings to stay in business. And, if you adhere to certain guidelines, they can do a lot for your local search visibility and overall business.
The question is: are you currently working with these guidelines or doing something completely different? If you are not ranked very high in local SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages), then the chances are that you're doing something different.
So, without further ado, here are 10 strategies that will help get your business to the top of Google and other search engines for local search:
1. Update Company Information
If you want to know how visible your company is, then you should perform a search yourself. Once you do this, there are a few questions you need to ask (based on both organic search and local 3-pack).
When you searched for your keyword + your location, what did you find?
Where exactly was your website ranked?
Is information for your business spread across multiple pages or aggregated into a single result?
If you notice you're finding it difficult to find basic business information (contact info, address, etc.), then there is a good chance that customers are as well. And the latest update on local SERPs from Google has made things even harder. The change from the Local 7-Pack to the Local 3-pack results in fewer local establishments being immediately visible, which means you need to build citations, optimize your Google My Business profile, and increase reviews on your GMB to be featured.
2. Completely Fill Out Your Local Listings
Listings always come back to your site, which means they can generate traffic. Plus, they can improve your SEO since they help to create an identity for your business due to the fact that they help to develop citations.
When you are filling out niche directories, citations and any listings, make certain you are filling out the information completely. In addition, the information needs to be consistent across the board on every single listing, from the business name and address to the website and description. If necessary, use an online tool like Bright Local or WhiteSpark for the creation, management and monitoring of your citation listings (they can even track your competitors' listings).
Remember to try to use directories that will add value rather than simply listing on every single one that you can find. Focus on the ones that will send you referral traffic.
3. Develop Some Buzz for Your Business
Once you have made it so that people can find your business, you need to create some reasons for them to actually look for you.
One fantastic outlet for this is a blog. It provides the perfect platform for you to communicate with your community and helps you to establish an authoritative voice for your company. It also helps you to create long-lasting impressions with potential and existing customers, not to mention you can bond with your customers through your blog.
The blog is where many businesses can fail. They will hire someone to blog for them and that person or company will create content that is shallow and lacking a real voice. The content also won't rank for visibility. Google is looking for content that is insightful, informative and detailed. So, make sure that your content has all of the above and includes YOUR voice. If you do this, Google will love it and so will your customers.
4. Find the Right Local Keywords and Use Them to Your Advantage
To ensure your business becomes more visible online, you need to get your hands on the right keywords. A great keyword tool that is free of charge that can help you locate the right keywords is the Keyword Planner. A paid keyword analysis tool is SEMrush.
Once you have located the right keywords, you are only halfway there. There is still work to be done.
With local SEO rankings, it is important that you remember that quality is always better than quantity. You don't want to overstuff keywords in your content. Also, shorter keywords that are effectively used can often be best - and keep you from over-stuffing - and get you the visibility that you're looking for. Keyword stuffing is very important to avoid because you will be penalized by Google if you're caught doing it.
5. Make Sure Your Site's Compatible with All Platforms/Devices
To reach as wide of a market as possible (and to keep Google happy), you need to ensure that your website is properly compatible with all platforms and devices. To see how compatible it is, you can test it on multiple devices to see how responsive and smooth it is. Look to see how well it adjusts to the size of each device/platform.
Pay particular attention to mobile devices since this is how most people are accessing the web when they're on the go. Plus, Google is starting to rely on the performance of mobile websites when determining overall rankings. So, if it is poor, then your website's desktop performance could be directly impacted.
6. Interact with Customers by Asking for Their Opinions (Reviews)
Websites with genuine customer reviews tend to be considered ahead of websites that have positive reviews that are spam.
While you may not want to ask your customers to share their honest opinions of your business on website like Google My Business and Yelp, it can really help your rankings. The higher your overall positive ranking is, the higher your business will rank with Google in the local SERPs.
There are some really great tools that will allow you to request the aid of customers while they are still in your presence and they can leave their review immediately, within just a minute from their own phone. These tools include Reviews That Matter and Brid Eye. By using these tools, you are increasing the possibility of getting that review by about 40 percent.
Just make sure that you use a tool, such as Bright Local, to monitor your reviews so that you can quickly respond to negative reviews. This is an important step in reputation management.
7. Utilize Social Media
When it comes to local search rankings and overall SEO, it is crucial that you utilize social media to your advantage. One of the first things that you should do is look at your social media accounts and see if your company has a larger following on one particular network. If so, then you should try to focus on the one that you are the most visible.
If you don't currently use social media, then it is time to consider it. Social media pages are great ways to connect with customers and promote your business.
8. Make Use of Visual Content
Many people tend to underestimate just how powerful visual content can be. However, well-taken photographs can really make a difference with your posts and content. It doesn't matter whether it is pictures of your premises, products that you sell or something else entirely - visual content can really push you ahead of your competition.
9. Stand by Your Hours
One of the most frustrating things for your customers is when they come by your place of business to find that you aren't open even though your hours say that you should be. It is very important that you ensure that the hours that you put on your online listings are the hours that you tend to abide by (the same goes for the ones that you put up on your brick-and-mortar storefront).
10. Consider Investing in a Mobile App
For our final strategy, you should get a mobile application for your business. While it may not seem like it is a necessity or even very important for your business, statistics show that businesses with properly working mobile apps are more prominent and successful.
If you are a brick-and-mortar establishment trying to stay visible in today's tech-driven world, it may not take much to become overwhelmed. This is particularly true if you are not a tech wizard, and that's okay. Luckily, this isn't something that you have to deal with alone. We, here at WebDetail, are here to help you along the way to ensure that local businesses are able to boost their local search rankings. If you would like assistance with staying on top of your game, give us a call today.