For a brick-and-mortar business, local SEO is as good as advertising, but it’s free and has long-term effects. Optimizing for local customers is probably the most effective way to spread the word about your business and to increase its visibility in a short time. Here’s a step-by-step guide to optimizing your business for local searchers.
You should do all of the following if you haven’t already:
- Create a Google business page and fill it up with relevant information.
- Set up a Facebook page.
- Build a website subdomain for each of your locations.
- Claim a business listing with Facebook Places, Google Maps, Yellow Pages, and any other popular business listing options in your area. Fill in all the fields, providing detailed information about your business and its address and hours of operation. Add nice photos taken at your location.
Going a Step Further
Once you do the basics, you can move on to more advanced strategies:
• Use local keywords
Add the name of your city to your key phrases. If your neighborhood is big, or if you have locations in multiple neighborhoods in the same city, add to your keywords the name of the neighborhood as well. Optimize not only your website, but also your blog, social media profiles, and business listing descriptions.
• Give importance to your local address and contact details
Make sure your local address and contact details are always up-to-date. Make them visible on your homepage and mention them often in your article writing, blog posts, and social media profiles. The more you associate them with your local business, the easier it will be to rank well for local searches via Google, Bing, and other search engines.
• Focus on mobile users
Customers searching for a local business are often more likely to use a smartphone than a computer. Optimize your website for mobile users.
• Collect as many reviews as you can
The reviews that matter are those your customers leave on Yelp, Google Places, Bing, and Local.com. Reviews help all brick-and-mortar businesses consolidate their reputation and attract more customers, but they are especially important for bars, restaurants, and cafes. If you run one of these, encourage customers to leave you reviews through your social media pages and blog.
In the end, remember that local SEO is always work in progress. Keep on working at it and you’re bound to see results.