April 12, 2023

Getting Right with Your Local Presence

When was the last time you Googled your business? It may have been last week, or it may have been in the previous year. But regardless of when it last happened, you might be surprised by what you find. 

Successful businesses, large or small, all have a local Search Engine Optimization (SEO) presence optimizing for local search. For small businesses, their ability to be found locally is their life. Larger businesses with national or international reach depend on their local communities for a variety of resources. No matter which way you slice it, local business SEO matters. 

Local business SEO is one of the biggest focuses for Google, Bing, Facebook, and Apple. They know that people have evolved their searches from "generic phrase" to "generic phrase near me". While the Internet has opened up the world to our fingertips, we still depend heavily on local information. To help your business thrive, follow these local SEO tips and optimize your local presence.

In this blog, you’ll learn how to: 

  • Build a great website.
  • Add local information to your website.
  • Claim your Google Business Profile.
  • Control all of your local business knowledge.
  • Request reviews from your loyal customers.
  • Be consistent everywhere.

How important is optimizing for local search?

Did you know that 82% of smartphone shoppers are using "near me" searches? Most of them are choosing the first results they find as well. Sounds pretty similar to how you use local data, right?

We use local search when we're looking for restaurants, entertainment, job searches, home services, and business services. Optimizing for local search is key for any business that wants to grow. That's why businesses — both small and large — should focus on their "near me" opportunities.

Beyond finding directions or phone numbers, this local data is published by hundreds of sites and data aggregators online and builds up knowledge about your brand. Whether it's company reviews, business categories, or photos of your business, a profile is being created to help tell your brand's story. It's very difficult to opt out of these sites. Which is why it's often best to take control and manage your brand knowledge through local business SEO.

How do I get started with small business local SEO?

Local business SEO is best managed with a well-rounded web presence. Here are a few local SEO tips that businesses big and small can use to improve local rankings.

1. Build a great website (design and coding).

When it comes to building a great local web presence, start with your own website. Make sure that your website loads quickly, is easy to navigate, and the basic search optimization has been taken care of so that search engines can easily crawl it. When it comes to local and regular search rankings, a sound website is essential to standing out above the rest with your ideal user and the search engines that matter, like Google and Bing.

Don’t know where to start? Specialists here at Marketwake can help you from designing your website to optimizing for local search.

2. Add local information to your website.

Being a part of a digital community is as essential as being part of your brick-and-mortar neighborhood. What do we mean by digital community? Businesses are found through several searches, and one of the most important ones are local searches. In fact, 89% of people search for a local business on their phone at least once a week. And what’s more, 76% of those same people will visit that business within 24 hours of their search. 

Make it easy for users to find your address and phone number on your website. The footer section of your site is a popular spot for both. Not only does it help customers contact you (always important!), but search engines are most likely reviewing that information as well. In fact, Google Search Console makes it easy for website owners to highlight that information on their website with data highlighters.

3. Claim your Google Business Profile.

There are a wide variety of websites that provide local knowledge about your business. Google Business Profile is a division of Google that is responsible for publishing accurate local information. You probably use it on a weekly basis to find customers, restaurants, or the closest Starbucks. Claiming this listing allows you to take control of your business information. It's fairly common to have incorrect hours, phone numbers, business names, and addresses listed. Taking control allows you to correct this information and drive customers to your business. Similar sites that provide local information include:

  • Facebook
  • LinkedIn
  • Yelp
  • Apple Maps
  • Alexa
  • Siri 
  • Waze
  • Uber & Lyft

4. Control all of your local business knowledge.

If you have claimed your Facebook and Google Business Profile, it's time to take the next step in controlling your local web presence. This information is commonly referred to as "local knowledge" and it's very important when optimizing your local business SEO. Google, Apple, and Bing use a variety of data points to help improve the local information (including directions) provided to local searchers.

There are hundreds of sites that publish information about your business. Ideally, you want to make sure that you consistently publish the correct name, address, and phone number (NAP). Most businesses should also ensure that the website published is correct as well (bonus when you've taken care of #1 step mentioned earlier). Momentum by Marketwake helps claim, correct, and protect those local resources within a matter of minutes.

5. Request reviews from your loyal customers.

The secret to selling to new customers is all in your business reviews. According to a recent study, 91% of customers aged 18-34 online trust reviews as much as a personal recommendation. On top of that, the study also concluded that consumers read an average of 10 online reviews before feeling able to trust a local business. What does that mean for your local business SEO strategy? You need glowing reviews and lots of them. 

Look, bad reviews happen for everyone. Most people leave a bad review when they've really been neglected. If you can request feedback from your customers proactively, then you are more likely to receive great reviews and bury the occasional negative one. As many as 57% of consumers said that they are “not very” or “not at all” likely to use a business that doesn’t respond to bad reviews at all.

Getting glowing Google reviews is as much about providing a great customer experience as it is about creating a review solicitation process that encourages 5-star testimonials. From burying negative reviews to increasing your review content, we can help you make a strong statement online by sharing your customer stories. Reach out to one of our local SEO experts today to learn how to get started optimizing your business on Google. 

Here's why we love reviews:

  • Requesting reviews shows that you honestly care.
  • Your loyal customers can give you the best feedback, helping you go from good to GREAT.
  • Reviews can help your small business local SEO improve.
  • Your local business SEO matters, whether that business is large or small, so don't make the mistake of neglecting your backyard when it comes to growing your company.

6. Be consistent everywhere. 

When was the last time you thought about all of the places your business information shows up online? When it comes to digital presence, the old saying “no press is bad press” is actually inaccurate. Not only do you need to know where your information lives, but you also need to make sure that the information is accurate and correct. 

With a service like Momentum Business Premium, you can clean up incorrect listings, suppress duplicate content, and also increase your ranking among businesses that previously occupied the space. With quarterly updates to descriptions and the ability to update your information with special offers, photos, and more, we can help your customers first. 

Now that you know what it takes to be the best business in the virtual world, it’s time to implement these local SEO tips to make sure your customers know you’re the “best in town” before they even get into town. 

From digital marketing strategy and website development to branding and design services, Marketwake is a full-service digital marketing firm designed to help you drive your business and change the world. Our process is equal parts analytical and creative, and we’d love the opportunity to collaborate with you. Want to learn more about how we can help your business? We’re excited to be in touch

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