Unlock the Code: 9 factors to Increase Local Success for your Business:
If marketing wasn't enough, we now need to focus on marketing both outbound and local. The rise of local relevancy has increased tremendously over the years. You can see the trends of Google local, Bing local, yahoo local, yelp, foursquare and so forth- all the major search engines have incorporate local search into their algorithms. With this in mind, it is important for Local Business to familiarize themselves with these trends, increase knowledge base and apply best practices to increase the likelihood of local ranking.
The rise of local and social sharing has increased the big question: Where do I start?
Thanks to Wesley Young, Contributor at Search Engine Land, the question has been solved. Apply these 10 tips and tricks to your local business model today!
1.UNAP ( Url, Name, Address, Place)! Correct, Everywhere:
In at number 1, confirming all information relevant to search about your local business and location is correct, accurate and accessible. The new buzz UNAP, essential means that your business URL, Name, Address and Place are correct across all directories, search engines, and on the site itself (trust me you’d be surprised how many times its not!). This is a great indicator of humanization and solid content. According to Young, Survey completed by ConstantContact indicates that over 50 % of small businesses have inaccurate online listings. Key takeaway- clean house! Make sure all listings are consistent to the footer information listed on your website. The repercussion: outdate and inconsistent data will lower your visibility in search, making it harder for your customer to locate you, or even worse, find your competitor first!
There are some fantastic tools that can help limit your “local business search” through local listing services. Industry Favorites are often Yext (http://www.yext.com/) for such a thing. Keep in mind that you want to look at data aggregators, social channels and directories. In addition, make sure if you do have a profile, it is claimed and optimized to meet all fields required and even those that are optional. The more optimized the better chance you have of being seen in search.
2. Optimize for Consumer Interests beyond UNAP:
Batter up UNAP! Many Consumers are interested in things besides how to find you. Often times hours of operation are at the top of the list, remember your users are often busy, working professionals; needing to know ahead of time when they can incorporate you into their schedule. Another hot topic would be pricing plans and options especially in both service and product industries. For instance, if you are looking to list your local 24 Hour Fitness, you would want to optimize you business hours, class schedules, and payment plans for new members/training sessions.
In addition, photo sharing and video sharing can increase both engagement of your users and sharing of your content. If video or photo sharing is an option, make sure to take advantage of it.
3. Create an experience:
The internet is nothing new; websites can be created in a day with a few plugins and coding. So how do you set yourself apart? You create the experience. This is the first impression for new customers, and the repeat impression of existing customers.
User experience is fundamental to conversion funnel. Clean, stream-line and user friendly sites are often the ones with the highest conversion rate. Is important to provide all necessary information in a clear and concise manor, one that is easy to read and understand without much thought. It is always important to think ahead, address the problems you anticipate getting and provide answers and solutions.
Avoid flashy banners or signs, Moving Pictures are okay, but key them in line with the design and don’t let them be the key focal point.
4. Enhance, Improve and Optimize:
Enrich your content as much as possible. Some great tips:
a. Make sure your name goes beyond the title. For instance, there are plenty of 24 hour fitness' in the Greater Los Angeles area, to ensure you're a properly optimizing it. In other words for best practices, optimize website title to read: "24 Hour Fitness- 24 Hour Full Service Gym- Long Beach, California" This show the name, the service of the business and location indicator.
b. Avoid optimizing with overuse of keywords, a practice commonly know as "keyword stuffing." Keywords are absoutely fundamental, but the overuse of them again can hurt you in results. Structure your keywords to tailor what your user might be looking for.
c. Be consistent. Provide accurate UNAP at the footer of all pages, not just the home or contact us page. It is important for a user to have access to that information at all times.
5. Blog, Post and Blog again..
Content, content, content is the marketing word of the year. enriched share-able content and social engagement are the main forces driving the importance of content, BUT don't forget about the content on your site. Make sure to keep it fresh and up to date, one of the worst things you can do for SEO is have out-date content, just us a special for valentines day on the 2nd of July.
One way to keep fresh, content creation is to create a company blog. Post about local events, industry related news, and of course company updates, deals and so forth. In addition, to sharing knowledge base and creating trust with your website user and customers, Fresh content will raise your sites SEO.
6. The Visual Aid
As i mentioned early, visual aids are fundamental to increasing engagements. This trend has proven itself true time and time again, with off the chart user rates of Instagram, Pinterest and YouTube (all photo/video sharing business models).
They are quick snippets and images that grab attention and tell a story, perfect for the average day business person. Structure your website to showcase large beautiful images and video galleries. It is pretty much a guarantee that if done right, these images will be shared.
Wong recommends, sharing how to do videos or a welcome video on the about us page. Finally, if you have business YouTube or Flicker accounts, be sure to link these on your site. This is great for referral traffic.
7. Is that on mobile?
With increase in technology innovation, comes increase of users. We have seen over the past few years, mobile use grow exponentially and not stop. With these trends in mind, many are working to make their sites responsive. What is responsive you might ask? Responsive is the ability for the site to respond to the device in use: most cases mobile phones or hand-held tablets. Essentially, its a restructured fit, taking into account load time, size and format of the web version to meet mobile standards.
According to the article, Top 10 tips to Local Search Success, " optimizing local mobile search is not only on the rise- the majority ends in a purchase" (young). With that in mind, it would be a big downfall to your business not to create mobile version.
8. Social Engagement:
The better you understand your audience, the more engagement there is to be made. I strong recommend a market analysis of users: demographic tracking from analytics, target market etc. Once you have a identified targeted population, engage with them! Share details on the company Facebook, Twitter, Google + regarding promotions, local events, give ways etc.
9. Leverage Reviews:
One way to track success is to monitor share content and published reviews. Although you want good reviews, all reviews showcase credibility and humanization to any business.
Responding to reviews, shows trust and investment in your business. At all times, good and bad, be sure to respond to reviews! Quality and quantity are significant factors to local search rankings, so be sure to encourage reviews, whether it be comment box on the blog or engagement posts that ask for participation.
Although current best practices, trends are always changing things. Stay ahead of the curve and implement these tips and tricks to your business model today! Fore more information, visit searchengineland.com
For more on local search, visit local search success here