Local SEO can be a huge sales generator for small businesses. When your site is easily discovered through a simple Google search, you increase exposure, your lead base and sales.
Google has become one of the most well-respected companies on the planet, so when Google says you are number one in your area, consumers believe them. Local SEO catches customers at the point of a purchasing decision. Being number one on their list of options is a tremendous boon that could lead to soaring sales numbers.
But where does one begin on their journey toward Google ranking sales glory? As with most large projects, it starts with just a few steps.
Step 1: Build Your Google My Business Page
When you type in a search for local businesses, Google provides you with both organic search results and a map detailing business names, addresses and customer ratings. This valuable list is compiled not through your website, but through the use of a Google My Business page.
Creating this page is simple and will take no more than 20 minutes of your time. What’s more, it is totally cost free. This is a can’t-miss SEO opportunity, and one of the most important steps in the sales generation process.
When creating your Google My Business page, make sure you remember to:
- Select relevant categories for your business. For help in finding relevant categories, refer to this list.
- Add images to your profile and cover photo. This is an opportunity to include your logo and create brand recognition for your page.
- Verify. Google will send a postcard to the physical location of your business for verification. P.O. boxes are not allowed. When you receive the postcard, follow the steps listed there to claim your page.
Once you have all of that done and your My Business page is perfect, it’s time to get your house in order.
Step 2: On-Page Optimization
Optimizing your website can be a tricky bit of business. This is where you take those keywords you so diligently researched via Keyword Planner and place them within the content of your site.
Ensure that your page is SEO compliant by:
- Optimizing your title tags and meta description. It’s important to make sure that your title tag, the bit of information on the tab of your browser, is optimized to tell Google what you do, rather than who you are. The same goes for your meta description. It should be informative, to the point and filled with keywords.
- Blogging regularly. Keep a steady flow of relevant blog articles appearing on your site. These blogs should provide a service to your audience and prove that you are an authority in your industry. Make sure these blogs are optimized as well, featuring relevant keywords.
- Ensuring your site provides a stellar user experience. Once your audience finds your site via a Google search, the site itself has to deliver. To convert searches to sales your site should be easy to navigate, functional and visually appealing. All of these factors join together to create the user experience. In an online medium, user experience is akin to customer service. If your images are broken, your copy is unreadable and your point of sale system is faulty, your audience will have no faith in your services. Treat your website like a very valuable employee. Ensure that it is “dressed properly” with an attractive design, informs eloquently with flawless copy, and serves the needs of your customers in the most efficient manner possible. Remember, your site is the first point of contact you have with a potential buyer. Make sure you start off on the right foot.
But SEO doesn’t live and die on the page. There are steps that must be taken elsewhere to ensure first-page penetration and sales generation.
Step 3: Off-Page Optimization
Perhaps the most difficult part of SEO comes in the form of link generation and citation building.
Link building involves industry relevant sites posting links to your page. When a site links to you, it’s almost as if it’s giving Google a seal of approval and acknowledging that you are an expert in your field.
A citation is a listing of your business’s name, address, and phone number, or NAP, for short. Citations are often found on websites, social platforms, and business directories. This is why it’s important to ensure your NAP is consistent everywhere. If three different directories are listing three different phone numbers for you, it can hurt your ability to rank high in the local search results.
You can improve your odds at off-page success by:
- Forging relationships. Join several online link building communities and participate in discussions, post regularly and show interest in the businesses of others.
- Asking. Talk to friends and existing contacts who have a platform that works within your niche. Ask them to link to your blog articles or post a citation on their site. The worst they could say is, “no.”
- Looking local. See if you can get citations listed in your local chamber of commerce’s online business directory. Does your local government or online newspaper do a regular small business spotlight? Make a donation to some local charities. Get the word out to create some links and draw in close customers.