It’s no secret that as a small or medium size business you rely on local customers for a large percentage of your business.  So if you are not applying specific efforts to enhance your local search SEO efforts, you are leaving money on the table in missed opportunities to reach a relevant audience, increase local awareness, and bring in business. Both foot traffic and online alike.

 

First of all, many business owners lack the proper knowledge to effectively localize their SEO efforts. Secondly, most either operate with low capital reserves or properly budget for marketing the way they should. As a result, they choose options based on the biggest bang for the buck, and often local SEO gets overlooked.

 

However, you are really derailing your own efforts by not spending time to dominate local search. After all, if someone does not have a referral, they go to their phone and dig someone up through search.

 

Agreed?

 

Local SEO

So as a local business in today’s world, you have to get good at this stuff. Either you do it, or get someone else to do it. Either way, it’s gotta get done.

 

So here are some pitfalls to avoid so you are not shooting yourself in the foot. These are the most common that I run into. Knock these out and you are ahead of the game.

 https://goo.gl/maps/hngxHRJZcan

Not Spending The Time To Claim Listings

As you may or may not know, there are a large number of these “online directories” that are designed to help consumers find relevant information based on their search parameters. Manta, Yelp, and Yellow Pages are some of the biggest and best known. The directories will crawl the web and gather information, and you may be listed in some these already. So whether you’ve formally signed up for any of these or not, chances are you will find your business listed. Now of course you will not be listed in all of the directories, and that is something you will want to be proactive about as well.

 

It’s all about a local businesses “digital footprint”. The bigger the better.

– Load Your Head Marketing

 

But it’s up to the business to claim their listing. And I’ll tell you why that’s important. Primarily, you will want to insure the information is all correct. In order for good local SEO to have an impact, it all needs to be working together. A business listing in one directory that uses an abridged name, and then properly spells out the full name in another, will be in conflict with each other. The search engines will not see these as one business. Same goes for phone numbers and so on.

 

And the listings are mostly free. So get on it! There are some that are paid, but if so it’s usually a very modest sum. Having this multitude of listings out on the internet allows you to bring about a higher probablity your customer “bumps into you” and gives you awesome backlinks.

 

So verify that your name, location, and contact information (including URL) are correct and up-to-date. Claiming your listings will also allow you to capitalize on interacting with your customers that may have left a review or reply. Especially if the review is a negative one. It’ll give you a chance to save a customer and bolster your reputation.

 

Which leads us to…

 

Reviews: The Good, The Bad and The Non-Existent.

I don’t know what is worse. Having no reviews or reviews that are all pretty ugly. Suffice it to say that once your listings are claimed it’s imperative you get a handle on the reviews. Folks all over are making their decisions based on these reviews. Ever see a restaurant and the majority of the reviews are negative? Maybe a few positive ones sprinkled in there for good measure.

Are you going to go try it out? Probably not.

So you can see the benefit of earning good reviews.

Bad ones or no reviews at all can really damage any positive moment you think you may have. There are ways we can help you to encourage satisfied customers to review you, and also ways to contact dissatisfied parties in order to turn their opinions around.

 

Let’s Talk About Tagging and Keywords

I’m going technical here for a second, so bear with me. You have to have some introduction to this, so I’m happy to be the one, even if it means I run the risk of running you off at this point 🙂

When you post content on your blog, social media or other online platforms, there are places for you to post keywords so the search engines can figure out how to categorize your content. One way for you to do this is “tagging” your content. If for example you are a plumber in Austin, and do not service San Antonio, you’ll want to maybe include a keyword such as “Austin Plumber”.  If you want them to find you, including these keywords and tags in your content can be extremely useful. There is also a technique to imbed your images with this type of data as well.

These are all ways to include data that will drive local consumers to your door, so to speak.

 

Inconsistent and Low-Quality Posting

Any writers out there? You may have heard the term content marketing. It’s the practice of providing relevant content through a blog or your social media. It happens to be a fine way to provide information about yourself that can be picked up by Google, Yahoo and Bing that your customers want to see. The problem with this technique is the obvious. Business owners do not have the time and inclination to write, and as a result posting is spotty if not altogether missing entirely. You must maintain a regular schedule of posting and create consistently high-quality content in order to preserve interest. Failing means you’ll either post poor or spotty content that will be a waste of time, or worse, that it drives customers away.

 

Failure to Track and Analyze

As with most if not all local businesses, you have to keep your eye on the day to day activities of running your business. You have to focus on your core competency. But spending some time and money on local SEO efforts can significantly increase your visibility, visitors, and potential profits. This you know at a gut level. But the other piece that can not be overlooked is the tracking and analyzing the efforts. It’s not enough to list with directories, tag your posts, and read reviews. You have to know what is working and what isn’t. And you have to keep your eye peeled on the competition and track their efforts as well. The knowledge you gain will help you to hone your efforts and see better results in the future.

 

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