How to Attract Local Customers: A Guide to Local SEO
Google is one of the hardest working search engines in existence. They constantly invest effort into creating parity amongst businesses as well as new growth opportunities for everybody. It is these objectives that have led good websites to show on the top of search rankings. Further, this mission to promote quality is how Google has helped to deliver valuable content to searchers. However, this also means that it can be tough for small startups to gain recognition and conversions.
In a bid to constantly improve its system, Google frequently changes their algorithms. One such algorithm update was called “The Pigeon”, which was introduced in 2014. The intention of bringing in “The Pigeon” was to give greater weight to local businesses by putting an emphasis on websites which had locally-oriented keywords. Needless to say, this shook the marketing world to its core.
Many advertisers could never recover from this algorithm change. And why is that? It’s because while they refused to try, others saw this as an opportunity to reach local customers and expanded their businesses in a completely new way. That’s precisely what we intend to teach you about in the following sections.
Now, let’s see how you can use Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) to reach local clients, customers and conversions.
The Importance of NAP Consistency
NAP doesn’t stand for that activity we like to do in the afternoon. It’s an acronym that stands for Name, Address, and Phone number. This information may seem outdated and useless to many of us, but let’s take a minute to look at it from a different perspective. No matter how strange it is to put a focus on the NAP, it is, in fact, the most important information for local customers.
Local customers need an ease of access to your business. This is especially true for older generations because they put an emphasis on phone calls. A 2015 survey of some 100,000 businesses shows that half of them never update their NAP listings online. This is both funny and tragic because these businesses are stripping themselves of an important opportunity to get traffic.
Another 2016 survey shows that NAP searches make up 21% of all searches, showing how vital it can be to a locally-oriented SEO strategy. Improving the way your data is listed online can help you to get new customers right from your headquarters. This also includes putting a domain in your email. By using your own website as the domain, Google will prioritise your business more. This strategy applies to your phone numbers as well because local codes always get the advantage when it comes to searches. These two elements can be the driving force for an SEO turnaround for your brand.
Making a Credible Basis for Your Business
So, we’ve already covered the NAP and its importance when it comes to building a business. The next step in reaching your conversion goals would then be to get local reviews. Because Google’s algorithms get more and more intricate by the day, local reviews are one aspect that you cannot ignore. That is because Google tracks the number of people visiting your business in the vicinity and prioritises your website in comparison to others.
Aside from that, however, there is another thing to look out for. And that is the fact that customer preference has a lot to do with personal reviews. About 90% of customers admitted that businesses with a 4.5 or 5-star review led to their subsequent purchase of a product or a contact made.
To make things even harder, Google and many other search engines have rating filters as well. These tools make it easy for customers to completely disregard any ‘bad’ businesses. But why do bad reviews happen? Usually, it’s because of customer dissatisfaction. And that begs the question: how do we prevent bad reviews from happening?
The answer is to motivate customers to review you. For instance, you could include a statement asking for feedback on your website’s homepage. Doing so will gradually give you an influx of good reviews. How you ask? It’s simple. The effect is psychological – customers get an impression that you’re proud of your business whilst still seeking constructive criticism. In turn, even if they had a bad experience, they would appreciate your attempts to listen to complaints. This will help to create a favourable image for your brand.
Make a Story that Emphasizes Your Location and Neighbourhood
Brand presence is crucial no matter the location of your business. And while some SEO strategies may focus on creating a global presence, it’s important to make sure your image is well-rounded. But how do you do this? The answer lies in content marketing.
Customers love a good local story. As such, everything that you do should be an element of that. Your actions should fit into some greater narrative for your brand, and it should manifest on your website. Doing so will help you to better reach out to audiences and boost brand relevance.
In turn, doing so will increase your options for more content marketing opportunities. And those opportunities don’t magically appear – they are borne from other opportunities. Every SEO expert will tell you this.
So, share every news piece, every review and comment about your business. That gives your customers a sense of belonging and loyalty to your brand. That shows them that your brand doesn’t remain in isolation, it lives through its customers and progresses by cooperating with them.
Something else that is good to have is a small but efficient “getting there” section. Instead of merely posting your location, describe the route and how customers can get to your business. This will go a long way in showing your customers that you care. After all, this is the most important message to send.