What is local search marketing?
For businesses that operate on a local level, local search marketing is one of the biggest keys to success.
Check it: 72% of consumers visit a store within 5 miles of them. If you’re not showing up in the top 3 search results when people search Google, for example, “pizza near me” — chances are, you’re going to be skipped in favor of your competition.
The competition that dominates those first three spots, actually.
That’s why local search marketing is more important than ever.
But… what exactly is it?
Local search marketing is all about putting your business on the map in local searches when potential customers are searching for a business like yours. It’s a form of SEO that helps local businesses show up in relevant places online.
You’re probably familiar with this screenshot. That “snack pack”, as we call it, of 3 businesses is where you want yours to show up. There are only 3, and it’s a fight to get and stay there.
Google’s algorithm chooses these businesses as the most trustworthy over all other companies based on their local SEO. Because of that, they are rewarded with the most business.
Digital Advising Solutions has a surefire way to get your business in those top 3 results. You can do it yourself for way less $$ per year than working with a full-service agency. (Think 14x less expensive.) And it doesn’t take more than maybe 30 minutes a month after your initial setup.
A HUGE part of local search marketing is making sure your business is showing up in that snack pack so local consumers can find and choose you.
How does it work?
To give your business the best leg up in local search marketing, you need to tell search engines everything they need to know about your business, and it needs to be consistent across the ‘net.
So! To build a positive local search presence, your business’s information needs to be optimized so search engines choose to put you in front of your potential customers.
How do I do that?
It’s actually pretty simple. You just need to have a consistent NAPU — name, address, phone number, and URL — listed for your business on all different search directories.
It’s no secret that Google is the most popular search engine:
But Google can’t do it all alone. Their algorithm relies on other relevant search engines to fact-check its info for consistency. Here’s an example: if I introduce myself as Leah to you, and Angela to your neighbor, and they happen to talk about me and realize I lied to one of them — don’t you think they’d both trust me a little less?
It’s the same for your business. Be consistent across the web.
Or… be there in the first place!
Think of it as a modern Yellow Pages. If you’re not in the phone book, how will anyone find you?
Chances are, they won’t — or far fewer will. Instead, they’ll find your competition. But thankfully there’s a pretty easy and inexpensive fix for this that we cover with every client that needs it.
What can I do myself before contacting DAS?
You don’t HAVE to do anything. That’s why we’re here. 🙂
But if you want to be proactive, as local search marketing pros, we suggest starting with the basics. Pretend you’re a customer looking for your business online.
Search the following websites — the “high five”, or most popular search engines — for your business and see what comes up. Does it make you want to become your customer?
1. Google My Business
2. Yahoo!
3. Yelp
4. Bing Places for Business
5. Facebook
If your business is new, you’ll need to create profiles on those websites. If you’ve been around for a while, profiles may have been created for you. A good place to start is claiming/verifying these pages and then correcting or completing the info listed on them.
These search engines are some of the biggest influencers on your local search ranking. Make sure your business’s information is identical on all of them.
Where to go from here
Unfortunately, it doesn’t end there. That would be too easy in today’s world! Remember how Google and other search engines use each other to fact-check business info?
They do, and they appreciate your consistency, but that doesn’t mean they believe you’re telling the truth. Ergo, search engines gather additional information from four main independent sources: Acxiom, Localeze, Infogroup, and Factual.
To make things even more complicated, those four sources get their data from hundreds of different online business directories.
What that means for you: If your business’s information is inconsistent across the web, search engines will get confused and won’t know where or when to list your business in search results.
Contact us to get your listing management under control.
Categorize your business on Google
What you read above is just a piece of the local search puzzle.
When you join Google My Business, you will be asked to categorize your business. It’s important to be as specific as possible. Not “restaurant”, but “Italian restaurant”. There are fewer Italian restaurants than restaurants, and that means your chances of being found are greater.
Use as few categories as possible though, according to Google.
How to check your local search ranking
This part, at least, is simple. : )
Clear your cache. Google prioritizes websites you have visited previously.
Open a new window and go to www.Google.com
Search your industry + city or zip (“Italian restaurants Raleigh” or “Mechanic 27607”)
View results. Do you show up? Did you have to click “more” and scroll, or were you at the top?
If necessary, search your business name and zip code. Fix any online directories with incorrect information. Some are free, and others are paid.
This takes a long time and you will end up paying to be listed in some places. It can be done, but there’s an easier way. Give us a call at (984) 377-7432 or email to learn how.
Your business’s online marketing should be a multi-pronged approach. You built your Google My Business listing; now ask your customers to leave reviews. Studies have shown that people shopping online trust reviews made by strangers as much as reviews from friends and family.
To complete your marketing strategy, ramp up your social media presence. If you can afford it, use paid advertising. (But hire a company for this unless you know what you’re doing! We don’t create paid ad campaigns anymore, but we know a few good businesses that we can recommend.)
This cohesive marketing approach will put your local business on the map and help you be found and chosen by more locals!
Today is the best day to start.
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