Local Business Roundup: The 5 Most Effective Search Techniques for Local Businesses

Eitan Katz

Shutterstock/Dabarti CGI

We know it’s impossible to keep up with all of the news in the local business space. That’s why we’ve cherry-picked the articles from this week that matter most for business owners like you.

[Local Search] The 5 Most Effective Search Techniques for Local Businesses

Source: Forbes

Local search is critically important in 2015. Without ever entering your store or using your product, most customers will have already decided whether they want to give you a chance based off your online presence. 

Use these five tips to help you optimize search to get your local business more traffic, more customers, and help you grow.

  1. Verify your listing in Google+. This is what we call "low hanging fruit," because it's easy and effective. Create a Google+ page for your business (if you haven't already). Then, make sure you're verified.  Once your page exists and is verified, you should spend some time building it out so all of your company's information is accurate and easily accessible.
  2. Make sure that your NAP (Name, Adress, Phone #) is consistent. This is another one of those things that's fairly simple, and can literally make or break your business's ability to be seen on search. Anytime your business appears on the web, make sure all the citations for NAP are correct.
  3. Build out your local profiles. SEO experts tell us that "place page signals" are responsible for 16.9% of the ranking signals for local businesses. What's a place page signal? A place page signal is any review or directory site — think Yelp, Foursquare, or MerchantCircle. For a full list of sites you should spend some time filling out, click here.
  4. Maximize your local Facebook page. Local Facebook pages have five times the reach, eight times the engagement level, and 40 times the overall impact of a business brand page according to MomentFeed. With Facebook as the second-most used mobile app for local search, you can't afford to ignore the social media giant when constructing your online presence. Get on Facebook, make yourself a page, ensure your NAP is correct, and monitor the page as often as necessary for your business. 
  5. Earn positive reviews. Surprisingly, the most important factor in your business's search ranking is your online reviews. Make sure happy customers are reviewing your business favorably on local directory sites, and keep a very close eye on those sites for negative reviews. If a customer is unhappy and posts it online, it's not only going to hurt your reputation, your "searchability" will be affected as well.

Why It Matters: As a local business, you need potential customers to be able to find you online. Your online reputation, much like your reputation in real-life, is very delicate, and unspeakably important. Follow these steps for local search success!

[Google] 4 Ways Local Businesses Can Get More Out of Google

Source: WordStream

Google is the king of search, and that doesn't seem to be changing any time soon. As such, you should get as much out of it as you can in order to propel your local business to new heights.

All local businesses need a strategy for Google — here are four tips and tricks to help you get the most out of one of the most important tools on the Internet:

  1. Claim and maintain your Google+ page. We spoke about this above, but it's worth mentioning twice. Type in the name of any local business into Google, and half of your screen will be inhabited by that local business's Google+ information. All of the information stored there, name, address, phone number, and most importantly, reviews, will be staring any potential customer in the face once your page is completed. Make sure the information is correct and the reviews remain strong!
  2. Create Call-Only Campaigns. If AdWords aren't a part of your marketing strategy, you should strongly consider it as a new avenue for bringing in customers and getting your business name out there. For local businesses, the opportunity to reach potential customers through paid search is enormous. Utilize Google's new Call-Only Campaigns. 70% of mobile searches calling a business directly from search results (according to Google) — establishing a strong Call-Only Campaign (which only appears on mobile) can bolster your lead-list, and potentially transform your business.
    Here's the basics of how it works:
  3. Make contact information prevalent with location and call extensions. When your storefront is the main place that conversions occur, the goal of your AdWords campaign should be to drive traffic to your store. Utilize all relevant ad extensions  in AdWords to not only extend the presence of your ad in the SERPs (Search Engine Results Page), but also to get your leads motivated to visit, with your location and phone number readily available.
  4. Ensure your location targeting is accurate in AdWords. There are several ways to target your storefront — make sure your ads are targeted to your area otherwise you're spending money to be seen by customers that aren't anywhere near you. Efficient spending on AdWords is what separates a great campaign from a wasteful one.

Why It Matters: If you can own your presence on Google, and spend enough time mastering AdWords, you will undoubtedly see a strong upturn in new customers and revenue. Once they're in the door, dazzle them not only with your services or products, but with your customer service as well!

[Mobile] Mobile Readiness Now Essential for Local Business Success

Source: Huffington Post

If your business isn't optimized for mobile you are missing out on a gigantic opportunity. Today, more than 87% of consumers use smartphones or tablets for shopping activities and some 68% conduct pre-purchase research on their smartphones. In other words: if you're not mobile, your business has a very low chance at success. 

Here are four things to keep in mind when you think about your mobile presence:

  1. Make your website mobile-ready/friendly.
  2. Get closer to customers with mobile in-app advertising.
  3. Stay social with consumers who are on the go.
  4. Mobile usage is only going to grow.

Why It Matters: Local businesses that takes steps now to ensure that all their marketing tools are mobile ready will have a clear competitive advantage, and will set themselves up for continued success in 2015 and beyond!

About the Author

Eitan Katz

Eitan Katz is a seasoned Social Media Marketer and Online Writer. He's managed the social accounts of EA Sports and the National Basketball Association, worked as a community manager at Uber, and was a featured columnist for Bleacher Report. He currently works at Booker Software, where he runs Social Media, maintains the Booker Blog, and hosts a Booker-themed web video series called "On the Road with Eitan."

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