To run a successful online business you should implement a search engine optimization (SEO) strategy. At the most basic level, this means organising web content with keywords that will help potential customers find your website.
If you are a small business there are additional considerations specific to Local SEO that you should consider. When someone in your local area does a “near me” search related to your product or service, the goal is to make sure your business ranks at the top of the search engine’s results page.
Time-poor and cash-strapped business owners need not get into the weeds of backlinking, guest blogging and content marketing to see a boost in their online presence. We have put together some simple tips to improve your website’s local search rankings, hopefully with these tips, it will bring in more traffic to your business’ website, and ultimately, new customers to your store, restaurant or office.
1.) Get on Google My Business. This is a free service that helps you set up a business listing on Google that works with Google Search and Google Maps. When someone types in a relevant search term, your business profile–which lists an address, phone number and reviews–will pop up in the results page or the map. You should not rely on an automated listing, you need to actively claim and verify your information to boost credibility.
2.) Bing, Yelp, Yahoo, too: When you have finished setting up your information on Google My Business, do the same for other local search directories. Think of the best platforms for your business: Angie’s List, Manta, TripAdvisor, YP.com, etc. The key here is consistency. Make sure your business name, address and phone number are consistent across all directory websites. If your business is located on “Main Street” in Google My Business, spell out “Street” in the other listings, too. This way, the search engine will easily find you and your business and verify information across all sites.
3.) Get your website in order: You need more than just having a presence on multiple listings. As a local business, you should secure a URL and launch a website that has key information about what makes your product or service special. Whether you run the most trusted boat hire business in town or you just opened a butcher, establishing an official website is key.
4.) Optimize your web content for local searchers: After you secure your domain, it’s time to add in website content, you should make sure the text you add across the site is optimized for local search. Include your location in easily accessible locations across your website, a good place to add this is in the header or footer so that it displays on all pages, not just the About Us and Contact Us page. Be sure to add your business hours, too. Use conversational terms and local language as well and keywords that mimic the way an everyday customer would search for your product or service. While you may be proud that your new restaurant in Port Vila serves only Italian coffee, don’t lead your content with “we serve only the best coffee and espresso, fresh from Italy”. Instead, keep it basic and think of the local customer’s search mentality. “Port Vila restaurant” or “Port Vila’s best cafe and restaurant” might work better for search.
5.) Study your competition: Understanding the four steps above will go a long way to boost visibility for your local business. If you find that you’re ranking low in results, here’s another fix you can try: Click on the top three search results. Study their websites for how they present their content, URLs, keywords and contact information. Are there any best practice tips you can take and apply to your own site? Then ask yourself if your website communicates all the essential information to the people in Vanuatu, whether they are local regulars, curious tourists or passersby’s.