Stop trading your time for money, and create a leveraged online course to scale up your business Find out how in this free 5 day email series.
I'm an online marketing coach and launch strategist who loves helping female grow successful online businesses!
If someone knew nothing about your business, but was looking for your local services, would your business come up in a Google search?
When it comes to local business, Google is the go to for people who are searching for a local product or service. When you're in a new area and not sure where to go, you don't search on Facebook. Instead you hit Google search on your mobile! That's why local SEO is so important.
So this begs the question, do you show up in Google when you put a relevant search in? An example of this is ‘hairdresser Sydney'. There a few factors that are going to help you here, but first we'll start with a bit of background on SEO.
SEO stands for Search Engine Optimisation. It is the process of getting Google to list your website in their search engine results page (SERP's), in turn driving qualified traffic to your website without having to pay for it. Good SEO will show your business on the first page of a Google search when your customers type in a search term that relates to your business, services or products.
Local SEO takes into account all of the above, but it is location specific and caters to businesses that have a fixed location. There is not much point of your hair salon showing up in California search results if you are based in New York! So Local SEO can get your business in front of potential clients that are close to you, by doing a few simple things on your website.
Here are three things to start with when you're making your website local SEO friendly:
This is a business listing that links through to Google Maps and shows on the right-hand side of a Google search when you search for a business by name. It shows business location, opening hours, reviews and links through to the company website, amongst other details.
Here's what it looks like when I google Loxy's hair salon in Auckland:
As you can see, this area takes up a lot of real estate on this page and also adds some personality through the images. Having the map there also means that when people search on their mobiles for their location, the business location will show up in Google Maps or Apple Maps. This is great for those first time customers who need to make their first appointment. Otherwise people will have to find the address and then search for that which can be annoying.
When you're not searching for a particular business name, but by keyword and location, having a Google My Business profile puts you in the running to appear in the Local 3 Pack.
By having your business listed with Google in this way, it prioritises your business above others that do not have a listing. This means, you will appear before them in search results. And if you can't get into the top 3, it might be time for some optimisation of your Google My Business profile (but that's a post for another day).
So if you haven't already, head over to www.google.com/business to set up your Google My Business profile, fill in the details and add images. You will need to verify your location with Google via a phone call or postcard – too easy!
This stands for Name, Address and Phone number. In order for Google to be able to specify your location in search results, you need to have your business name, address and phone number on your website, and to make sure it's accurate. A great place to have this is right in the footer, so it appears on every page. By allowing Google to read your NAP on every page of your website, Google will then be able to tell your customers where you are, and reflect it in their searches.
If you're listed on any web directories, it's important your address on these is the exact same address that you have on your website. If you've ever moved business address, check this now! If you're telling Google you're in more than one location when you're not, they only get confused and as a result they don't put your business in front of the right people at the right time.
While you're at it, make sure that the address on your Google My Business profile is the same as your website and fix any errors.
A local link is a mention on another local website, that points back to your own website. Google likes these links because they indicate that your website is worth linking to, and boosts your authority within that local area. This again improves your ranking in search results.
You can start by hunting out the most influential and popular local websites in your region and build a relationship with them. Then, you might be able to get a link to your business on their website. This could be in a form of a feature article if they're promoting what's happening in the local area, or simply a referral from a complementary company. This is a great little SEO trick.
To get some ideas on where you might be able to list your services online, Google your competitors. List your website in the same places that they have, and then add to it with directories you've spotted. SEO is all about competition, so it's the only form of marketing where you should be actively keeping an eye on what they're doing. If they start investing in SEO, then someone else is going to miss out. Don't let it be you!
Social media and advertising need constant maintenance to be effective. But having a good ranking with Google needs very little maintenance. With great local SEO, you can create a constant stream of new clients without having to pay for advertising.