Potentially the most underrated technique used by local businesses, Search Engine Optimisation is an amazing way to drive targeted eyes to your product, service or brand. Allowing those potential customers who are ACTIVELY searching for a service just like yours to find you at the top of their Google search result is very much achievable.
Update your title and meta descriptions
Titles and meta descriptions sound a little mystical, but they are the key to reflecting the content of your web page. The text of your title and meta description is what shows up in a user’s search results, and so it’s critical that yours are coherent and represent your business in the best light.
The optimum length for title tags is approximately 50 to 60 characters, and for meta description tags the optimum is approximately 160 to 200 characters. Make sure you use this space wisely! It’s always worth making sure that your titles and descriptions are not getting cut off and losing their punch!
There are awesome plugins available that emulate the look of the titles and description tags so that you can preview how they will look in Google or Bing. Crafting them perfectly is an art form! Make sure to focus on some targeted keywords that will be appeal to your audience – you need to convince potential customers that you are worth clicking on.
Get your business into online directories
Google’s latest research shows that 80% of consumers will use a search engine to perform a search on local businesses, and so it is important to show up in online directory listings.
Websites like Yell, Local-Business.co.uk and others are a valuable tool to increase your searchability. Make sure you are registered and have up-to-date contact info and relevant business information available. There’s nothing more off-putting to a customer than contact information that doesn’t work!
According to Google, roughly four out of five consumers use search engines to conduct local searches. Yet many small businesses have not claimed even a single local business listing online, which is a huge missed opportunity.
Local newspapers are another avenue to make sure you are taking advantage of, as they will often have a local directory that you can get your business published in.
Claim your Google My Business and show up on search
Ever wondered how to show up on Googles 3 top local businesses above the standard search results? That space is reserved for Google My Business (GMB), so you really need to sign-up for yours if you haven’t already! It’s amazing exposure if you end up high enough on the rankings to show up in the top 3.
To sign-up for your Google My Business page, visit google.com/business. There’s a verification process you’ll need to go through where Google will send a postcard with a PIN to your business’s physical location. Then you’ll simply log in and enter the PIN to verify your business. Google insists on this verification process to ensure you actually own the business.
Once you're verified, you can begin optimising your profile with a brilliant business description, categories, business hours, types of payments accepted. Get your logo on there too, along with a selection of quality photos. Customers love to be able to see your business as it gives them confidence in your offer!
FYI: Bing has a similar business listing service. Make sure you sign-up for that one too!
Get customers reviewing your business
Online reviews are huge for your business! Customers want to be able to see recommendations from people who have already tried. 84% of customers trust online reviews just as much as a personal recommendation, so their importance can’t be overstated.
Platforms like Trust Pilot and Trip Advisor are some of the biggest names in online reviewing, and it’s worth exploring how you can implement these into your website. Whether it’s positive or negative, make sure your business is replying to EVERY comment. It shows that you are active and you care about your relationship with your customers.
Social media is also huge when it comes to reviews. Customers will look at a Facebook business page to see previous reviews and ratings, so make sure you are active in replying and cultivating good relationships. Google takes into account good and bad reviews for its ranking system.
Implement sophisticated structured data
Structured data markup — often referred to as “schema markup” or “schema.org markup” — can be added to your website’s code to provide search engines with more information about your business, like the products you sell, reviews you’ve collected, services you offer and so on.
Structured data is probably the least well-understood but it’s a really useful tool for helping Google detect what your business is about and so it highlights the correct information. You can use Google’s own Data Highlighter tool to show you how to add the correct structured data to your website.
Let GND help you improve your local business SEO by giving us an email today.