For a brick-and-mortar business, local SEO is like advertising, only that it’s free, and its effects are long-lasting. 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, without spending anything. Here’s a step-by-step guide on optimizing your business for local searchers.
• Consolidate your online presence.
• Join Google+, create a business page, and fill it up with relevant information.
• Create a Facebook page.
• Build a subdomain for each of your locations.
• Claim a business listing with Facebook Places, Google Maps, Yellow Pages, as well as with any other popular business listing in your area. Fill in all the fields, providing detailed information about your business and its address and hours of operation, and add nice photos taken at your location.
• Use local keywords. Add the name of your city to your key phrases. When your neighborhood is big, or when you have locations in multiple neighborhoods in the same city, you should add to your keywords the neighborhood name as well. By doing this you’ll attract visitors that can bring you really high conversion rates. Keyword-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. Do it on your site but also on your social media profiles. 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 desktop or a laptop. Optimize your website for mobile users.
• Try to 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-mortal businesses consolidate their reputation and attract more customers, but they are especially important for bars, restaurants, and cafes. If you run one of these, you want to encourage customers to leave you reviews through your social media profiles or blog.
In the end remember that local SEO is always work in progress. Keep on at it!