Unique Elements Required for a Service-based Business to Rank Properly in the Search Engines.
While big multinational companies employ SEO strategies to gain clients and customers from all over the world, a small business who deals only with customers in its geographic region only wants local leads.
This article looks at what you must have in your SEO strategy if you’re one of those smaller businesses and you’re trying to gain visibility with clients local to you.
1. Your website
Look at your website and see if you can tell where your business is located and who it services.
Your target area should be prevalently noted in the Home page copy, your contact page, as well as in the footer. You can even incorporate it into your business name or URL.
The idea is of course to make sure that when someone gets to your website looking for what you provide, they are also affirmed you service their area.
Put these terms in your META data too. It makes a difference in reaching local customers doing specific searches for your city or business service area. Additionally, when you create individual pages for each service you provide, work the locations serviced into the headlines and copy.
2. Google My Business
If you haven’t already done so you should create a Gmail account for yourself, so you can easily log into all of Google’s apps and products.
Google My Business is one such tool available for free that gets your business pinned on Google Maps and if Google sees the right signals you’ll show up high in the local rank results too. The local rank results are those results you’ll see when Google has understood your search query to be location specific.
Try typing ‘plumbers near me’ into Google and you’ll likely see a few ads and some localized listings before you see the organic search results. This could be 1 – 3 ads or 3 or 4 local listings depending on how competitive the market is.
Those local listings are valuable to your business and by creating and verifying your business with Google you’ll have at least initiated the steps it takes to get listed in those local listings.
Once you have the account, fill in everything you can. Provide photos and use your service and locality keywords in the description and anywhere else you see a sincere opportunity.
3. Local Citations
Local citations are when your business is listed in local directories. You’ll likely only ever need to do this once and it’s very easy.
Just look up your location with the word ‘directories’ after. There are some obvious ones like Yelp but you may find some niche directories for your locality as well as your service too.
Don’t ever pay for these as those paid directories will have already been flagged by Google when it reviews their site. Paying for links or citations will always harm your ranking efforts.
When it comes to local customers, reviews are golden. They’re testimonials that other potential clients can trust. Requesting these from previous customers is totally fine; however, falsifying them is not.
Don’t have them log into their Gmail account from your computer to leave a review or Google will see that your reviews all come from the same IP address and the reviews then won’t help your rank.
There are plenty of other things you can do as well but those 4 points are staples in any local SEO strategy and if you’re a service-based business you’ll need them in order to get the right traffic.
Of course, if you’re looking to really dominate the rank results and ensure you’ve got a solid strategy you’re going to want to hire someone providing professional search engine optimization. They can take things further as well as actively maintain the efforts needed to let Google know you provide what you do, where you do it, while you spend your time actually providing your service!
Susan Friesen, founder of the award-winning web development and digital marketing firm eVision Media, is a Web Specialist, Business & Marketing Consultant, and Social Media Advisor. She works with entrepreneurs who struggle with having the lack of knowledge, skill and support needed to create their online business presence.