How to Get the Word Out Locally #6: Online Optimization
In this six part series we will share some practical strategies that anyone - be it a small business, startup, non-profit, established company or just the individual looking to promote themself - can utilize to get the word out on a local level.
If our previous installments were about how not to get lost, this final part is all about being found.
When it comes to being discovered online, search is still king. This is especially true when it comes to local businesses. According to HubSpot, local search plays a significant part in consumer behavior.
- 72% of consumers who did a local search visited a store within five miles
- 28% of searches for something nearby result in a purchase
- Local searches lead 50% of mobile users to visit stores within one day
Numbers like these aren’t just telling us, they are screaming “FOCUS ON SEO!” That's Search Engine Optimization for the uninitiated. Even minor tweaks can pay huge dividends in terms of consumers finding you. Conversely, doing nothing can cost you dearly in lost business. Fortunately there are some easy ways to amp up your SEO game, most of which won’t cost you a dime if you put in the time.
It’s Google’s World, We’re Just Living in It
There are only a few undeniable truths in life. The sun is hot. Water is wet. Google is search.
Sure there are other players but they are not in the same league. You can even make the argument that they are barely playing the same sport. If you’re going to spend time optimizing for anything it must be for Google Search. Thankfully our benevolent overloads have provided us with some handy tools that, when used together, can transform you from an SEO zero into a hero.
- Google Keyword Planner: While not as easily accessible for non-advertisers as it once was, GKP still offers quite a few features to help you determine the best keywords to use on your website.
- Google Trends: An extremely handy tool for discovering trends in search term use over time which you can use to adjust your strategy in step with the audience
- Google Correlate: The secret weapon of any SEO pro, GC is great for discovering keywords and phrases you otherwise may have never known have a measurable correlation to your established set of keywords
- Google Search Console: Unlike most SEO tools, GSC does not help you find new keywords to target. What it does do is analyze your site and shows you, in raw numbers, what keywords you already rank for. This is incredibly helpful for both informing your content strategy as well as for measuring your keyword optimization efforts.
Use these tools to hone in on what locals are searching for and where you have the best opportunity to jump to the top of their search results. Remember, SEO is not a one time effort but an ongoing process of tweaking, testing and updating. It takes a bit of effort but rest assured that it will be rewarded.
Plant Your Flag
If you have a physical space from which you are operating your business, get on the map! Add and verify your business on the major B&M indexing platforms so people know you’re in town and open for business.
This also opens up the world of customer reviews and feedback...for better and for worse.
Everyone’s a Critic
Customer reviews are another opportunity to solidify and amplify your identity with your target audience. Solicit your customers to leave feedback (positive of course) on the major platforms and engage with reviewers with a healthy dose of kindness and diplomacy, especially when they are being critical. This also extends to social media posts and discussions about your brand. Have a voice and engage with it, always striking a tone of listening, understanding and doing better.
Always remember, it’s hard to earn customers but extremely easy to lose them. We hope this series has given you a template to succeed in the former and avoid the latter.