Are you ready to become a ninja of Google's local search? Small business owners are busy people. They don't usually have enough time to understand digital marketing and the importance of an online presence. As you’ve seen in the past, I’m a big fan of social media and blogging to increase engagement and traffic, but there are other quick and effective ways to amp up your online presence.
To get started, watch this video from the Google Gods themselves on how local search works.
Google's Local Search Breakdown
Local Search is Google's way of making sure that small businesses get recognized online, too. Using a database of local companies to refine results, this technique allows brick and mortar stores to be found more easily and compete with big name brands for customers. The results of local searches are both hinted and exact, meaning the engine responds with a unique combination of what the user asks for, and what they don’t.
Sounds confusing, huh? Let’s take an example:
I’m out of town on business and realize I need a haircut before a big presentation. By simply searching for “haircut”, the engine knows that I most likely need nearby results; therefore it provides the best options in my surroundings. That’s the hidden part of local search. The specific part is when I search for something like, “best pizza in Chicago”, in which the Google engine has more specifics to provide to me.
Local search also allows people to uncover or recover results. Users often find great local places because local search display is presented as more of a suggestion rather than a list. And finding directions to somewhere you’ve been is simple because you can simply type, “museum south main st., Tampa”, so it helps you get repeat customers.
Tips to stand out on Google's Local Search:
- Fill out your business profile completely. Google and Yahoo! offer business profiles to help get you noticed. Include everything from your address and phone number down to pictures and store hours.
- Encourage customer and client reviews on sites like Yelp! and Google Reviews to increase your rankings and engagement. It’s another opportunity to catch up with your clientele and find out how to make your firm shine. Also, reviews tend to be a hidden gem for keywords, especially when someone says, “They’ve got the best pizza in Chicago!” Hint hint.
- Get more active on social media by suggesting people “check-in” when they walk in the door. Not only does it increase your local search presence, but it also presents opportunities to engage with your customers more. Offering promotions to your Facebook fans that check-in creates an even more valuable reason for them to follow your business.
Search engine marketing can be tough, especially for small businesses, but local search can actually take your company to a whole new level of recognition. Take advantage of all the free ways you can improve your business’ rankings and you’ll find competing with those big bad chains is actually easier than you thought!
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