It can be tough for hair salons to find new clients these days. Although word of mouth is still extremely important, more and more prospects now simply run a Google search and call the first salon or two on the results page. To attract new clients, then, you need to make your way to the top of Google rankings.

SEO for Hair Salons

We will take you step by step through our proven process for launching your company to the top of the results. First, though, let’s step back and examine why local SEO is so important for hair salons.

3 Reasons Hair Salons Need to Invest in Local SEO

  1. No More Yellow Pages, Google Reigns Supreme: At one time, a hair salon could place an ad in the Yellow Pages and wait for people to call. Today, a whopping 97% of people search for local services online, and Google is the king of the hill.
  2. Free Traffic: Although things are slowly changing, advertising is still a top expense for any small business. Improving your Google ranking provides an ongoing supply of free traffic that you simply need to convert to paying clients.
  3. Zippy Results: While national and international companies do not see results from a new SEO campaign for 6 to 12 months, you have a tremendous advantage. Your competition is hair salons in your immediate area, not those across the country. And many of them are not yet taking advantage of local SEO. With a targeted campaign, you can hit the first page of local Google listings in just 30 days!

Step 1: Select Your Keywords

The first step is easy. Just write down a quick list of keywords that reflect your services. For example, you might choose “hair salon”, “barber”, or “hair coloring”. When you have a reasonably lengthy list, sign up for a free Google AdWords account.

There is no need to build or fund an ad campaign. You simply want access to the free Google Keyword Planner. This helpful tool lets you see how much traffic each keyword generates, and offers suggestions for similar keywords that may not be on your list.

Next, finalize your keyword list. All keywords can be loosely sorted into 2 broad categories:

  • Buying Intent: Buying intent keywords mean that a prospect is currently ready for your services. For example, “hair cut and color in Miami” likely means that the client is ready for a hair makeover.

Focus primarily on your buying intent keywords, as they drive the quickest conversions. Use them through your homepage and build individual service pages for them.

  • Research Intent: Research intent keywords signal that the prospect is “shopping around.” She might want her hair done someday, but not right now. For example, someone asking “what are the latest hairstyle trends” might be considering different ways to change her hair.

These keywords do not drive rapid conversions, so they are not your top priority. However, they make wonderful blog posts and FAQs, which allow you to introduce yourself to those who may need your services later on.

Step 2: Optimize Your Keywords

Now that your keyword list is finalized, you are ready to optimize in 2 places—your Google My Business page and your website. Here’s how:

Google My Business

Think of Google My Business as a tiny website for Google’s “Maps” section. It gives a brief description of your salon and improves your online presence. It can also help increase your rankings quickly, as a Google My Business page is easier than a website to rank highly.

To optimize, complete these elements fully and accurately:

  • Verification: First, simply claim your page and submit it to Google for verification. You will know verification was successful when you see a checkmark and the word “Verified” next to your business name.
  • NAP: Your NAP, or business name, address, and phone number, must be correct and identical across the internet. To let Google know that yours is a local business, use a local phone number rather than an 800 number.
  • Categories: Google categories must present services rather than results. Hair Salon and Beauty Shop are both valid Google categories, as is Barber Shop. Try to list 3 to 5 categories, if possible.
  • Description: The description is a 100 to 200-word snapshot of your business that ends with a call to action. Try this format: {Name of Salon} is a {hair salon} in {Your City}. {Give some information about your top services and/or why clients love you.} Call {Phone Number} today for 10% off your first haircut.
  • Hours: Make sure that your business hours are up to date, and that they are listed correctly throughout the internet.
  • Images: Images are vital for enhancing client engagement and helping new prospects understand what to expect. Add some photos of your salon and staff (and even your clients with written permission). Make sure your images are sharply focused, sized between 10KB and 5MB, and have a minimum resolution of 720px x 720px. Also consider replacing the default Google My Business background image with a branded image.

Website Optimization

Your “core” pages, such as your homepage and service pages, are top priority, and should be optimized for buying intent keywords. Later, you can optimize your “content” pages, such as FAQs and blog posts, for your research intent keywords. Here’s how:

  • Homepage: The title tag is the single most important element on your page. Think of it like a book’s chapter title, describing your business in just 50 to 65 characters. Try this format: Hair Salon in {Your City} | {Name of Your Salon}.

The meta description explains your core services in just 100 to 150-characters, ending with a call to action. Format it something like this: {Name of Salon} offers professional {hairstyling services, or similar} in {Your City}. Call {Phone Number} today for 10% off your first cut!

Also known as the H1, the visible headline must feature your primary category. Format it similarly to: {Hair Salon} in {City, State}.

Write your 500 to 1000-word page copy last. It should be tightly written and edited, explain your business and core services, and end with a strong call to action. Use your primary keyword as it makes sense, but avoid “keyword stuffing,” or shoving it in where it doesn’t fit.

  • Service Pages: Create an individual service page for each core service. Optimize it just like the homepage, targeting the relevant keyword.

Step 3: Build Citations and Links

The skeleton of your local SEO campaign is now ready to go, so you can move on to building citations and links. Both improve your Google rankings by enhancing your online reach.

  • Citations: An online directory listing of your business NAP (name, address, and phone number), a citation is simple to create. You can list citations in general national directories such as Facebook and yellowpages.com, general local directories such as your Chamber of Commerce website, and hair industry-specific directories. Make sure your NAP is identical across all citations.

Free listings are easy to find, but some directories charge a fee. Before shelling out cash, look at Google Analytics. Don’t pay for a listing that will not drive traffic and conversions.

  • Links: Inbound links from credible and authoritative websites are a key factor in reaching the top of the Google rankings. Develop relationships with service providers whose specialties complement your own, such as spas and nail salons, and then ask to trade links. You can use a tool such as the Moz Open Site Explorer to learn where your competitors are getting their links.

Step 4: Ask for Reviews

Customer reviews serve two key functions in your local SEO campaign. First, they help convince prospects to try your salon. Second, they reassure Google that you have a legitimate business. While all reviews are important, Google My Business reviews give the speediest rankings boost. Send your satisfied clients an email with a direct link to your Google My Business page, and ask them to write a review. If you do this consistently, you will soon have an ongoing flow of recent reviews.

Step 5: Track Your Results

The only way to know what’s working and what needs some help is to track your results. There are innumerable ways to analyze your data, but these metrics are the most critical:

  • Rankings: The Google rankings you see are customized based on your past browsing behavior. This means you need a tool to see your true rankings. Ask your webmaster to install the free Google Search Console (formerly Google Webmaster Tools), and be sure to look at your rankings at least once a month.

You can dig deeper into your rankings with a paid tool such as RankRanger.com. This extremely helpful tool tracks your Google My Business page as well as your individual webpages, and it automatically updates ranking data from all of your SEO campaigns.

  • Traffic: Arguably the best tool for tracking your website visitors, or traffic, is Google Analytics. You can view not only your overall traffic, but also the traffic for each separate webpage, as well as what portion of traffic came from Google search. Check your report at least once every 30 days, with an eye toward learning any long-term trends.
  • Conversions: A conversion is a targeted action you want prospects to take, such as contacting you for 10% off their first haircut. Google Analytics allows you to track both phone and web conversions, see which of your webpages have the highest and lowest conversion rates, and discover which services drive the most conversions.

Ready to Get Started?

Now you know why a targeted local SEO campaign is so important for hair salons. Make your way through the 5 steps one at a time, fully completing each step before going on to the next. Here is a recap of the 5 steps:

  1. Keyword research
  2. Keyword optimization
  3. Citations and Links
  4. Reviews
  5. Tracking

Want Help with SEO?

At Main Street ROI, we specialize in helping hair salons attract more local customers through Google. If you’d like help with your SEO, contact us for a free quote.

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