Before new customers arrive at your front counter to check out, there’s a high probability they will first turn to their mobile devices and do a local search. Out of every three customers, at least one of them performs local searches prior to shopping. Google statistics show a compelling 73 percent of all online searches are for local information.
Eighty-five percent of small business owners say they want customers to find them on local search directories and apps. But sadly, only half of these local small business owners actually get around to updating their online information. In order to gain the strategic advantage over other brick and mortar retail competitors, take action with these proven search engine optimization and Google Local search strategies.
Create a Google My Business account
Google now offers a new way for customers to find your store online: Google My Business. Set up your page and list your address, website and hours of operation. By completing this information, your company will show up on a map when people do a search for your business. It’s a great tool for casting a wide net, because Google My Business puts your business info on Search, Maps and Google+ so that customers can find you, no matter what device they’re using. If you need help, Google explains how to create a Google My Business page to support local search. Enter as much data as you can because more content improves search results.
Use keywords and location
Appropriate keywords that describe your business should be used when setting up your Google page and on your website. For example, if you own a marketing agency, list that in your description because Google will match what people enter in the search bar to your profile. Also, be sure type your location in title tags and in other content, so your business will match on searches in your area.
Ninety-two percent of customers say third-party reviews are more trustworthy compared to advertising. Having a large number of reviews improves your store’s search ranking. Encourage your customers who have had a good experience to use Google for their reviews.
Develop your website
Where can customers learn about your store’s products and or business services? What about customer reviews or sales?
The answer: your store’s website.
All of your marketing efforts center on your company’s website, which should be optimized with the right keywords. It’s an essential part of your Google rankings. Start your keyword list by doing a search on Google and Bing for words your customers use, but don’t hit “Enter.” Study the list of words displayed. Repeat this process to develop a solid list of keywords for your blog, About Us page and other pages so they show up in a Google Local search. And don’t neglect to update these regularly.
Make your site mobile-friendly
Since just about everyone uses a smartphone for local searches and shopping, it matters to Google that websites are mobile-friendly. The following tips increase the chances for prospective customers to do business with your store if your mobile-friendly website:
- Loads fast
- Has a lot of whitespace
- Includes buttons and links that are finger-sized
- Fits to their mobile device’s screen
Fill out local search directory listings
While completing a local listing takes a lot of time, it’s worth it to get more traffic into your store. To rank well with search engines and to get the most from local search engine optimization, thoroughly complete the listing. According to a study by the Local Search Association/Burke Inc., here’s what people want to know about a local business when they do a search:
- Phone number
- General proximity to location
- Hours of operation
- Company name
- Website URL
- General product or service info
Sweet success on social media
Depending on which social media sites your customers use, set up a Facebook, a Twitter or other social media account and share stories about your store’s products, services, special events and sales. This is one of the most important local search tips to get more customers into your store. Link social media profiles to your website to generate high online search results. Keep your social media channels updated by building an editorial calendar to determine when to post promotional events and new product information.
Dedicate someone to monitor your social media channels to ensure fast response to customer concerns. Not only will you serve the customers you already have, your store may gain new ones. A first-class local search and social media campaign enables your store to continue enjoying the sweet sounds of new and returning customers checking out their purchases.