How Authenticity Boosts Your Local SEO a.k.a. Street Cred

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How Local Are You Really?

Everyone knows that businesses get hipster brownie points if they can market themselves as local. But being local isn’t just a buzz word. You can brag that your food is locally sourced, your racks are stocked with local brands, and your coffee or beer travelled no further than 100 kilometres to serve your customers, but unless you can show that you’re a local business, the customers who will really appreciate it will never find you. To many people (not just hipsters), the fact that their money is going back into their local economy is very important. Here are some ways that authenticity can boost your local SEO.

The Difference between Local and Local

One small side note: “Local” SEO in this context is mainly referring to businesses serving their local community, not necessarily businesses who source locally made products. However, if you are a business that sells locally produced goods, pay attention!

Authenticity Through Local Listings

One of the most important steps you can take in boosting your local SEO is by registering your business and website on a local listing (keyword local). People searching for “micro-brewery Liberty Village” on their phone will come face to face with a local directory, like Google, Yahoo or Bing. The yellow book might be dead but don’t dismiss yp.com or Canada 411. Google’s algorithms are rewarding websites who establish themselves on local directories, so do yourself a solid and get set up on as many local searches as possible.

TIP: Separate yourself from other businesses by showing potential customers exactly where you are and when you’re open. Make sure your information is consistent across all websites, and that it’s accurate and up-to-date. Don’t forget to post your holiday hours, address, and phone number. You may think that people don’t use their phones to call anymore, but you can boost your authenticity just by showing your local area code.

Authenticity through local listings
“Hmm…this local coffee is really top drawer.”

Authenticity Through Online Reviews

No one likes bad press, but if you provide excellent service with an amazing product, there should be no reason to fear bad reviews, right? Obviously, people have bad days. Maybe a cashier brings their problems to work one day and serves a review junkie. The point is, customers read reviews. They use reviews to determine if your shop, restaurant, café or service is worth their time. If the good reviews far outweigh the bad ones, potential clients are more likely to think that the bad experience with your business was a one-off.

Customers also like to see that business owners respond to their reviewers. Engaging with your customers does a lot to boost your local SEO. Don’t just address the few not-so-good reviews. Take the time to thank those who give you 5 stars. Maintaining a rapport with local people establishes a dialogue with your community.

TIP: People reading your reviews are pretty good at catching fake ones. DO NOT pay for good reviews. When it comes to authenticity, paying for good reviews is pretty much doing the opposite of that. Don’t waste your time. It might actually harm your business in the end.

BONUS TIP: Claim your website on Yelp and other review websites.

Online reviews are free and honest referrals
Online reviews are free and honest referrals

Authenticity Through Quality Content

If you’re a business and you’re proud of the community you serve, then show it by producing quality content that appeals to your customers. Do you sell bespoke suits that are made using local fibres? Show your customers the quality of your goods by writing about your partnership with the local fibre farm. Take pride in your community by engaging with its members.

Writing content that showcases the legitimacy, trustworthiness, and knowledge of your business boosts your local SEO by making you a dependable source of information. If you sell cheese, show your knowledge and passion of the cheese industry by writing quality content that informs your customers without nagging them to buy your products.

TIP: Think of your content as something written by people for people. In other words, don’t be a salesperson. Don’t alienate potential customers by using your content as one long-winded ad. One sure way to boost local SEO is to show your authority on a subject. And the best way to do that is through well-written content.

What that guy said.
What that guy said.

Local SEO Starts with a Dream

Local SEO is an important step in becoming a pillar of your community. You have to act local and think local in order to reach local customers. Although you may have the most beautiful storefront or website that draws in anyone who happens to see it, you won’t reach your potential unless you show that your business is authentic. If your website is struggling to show up on local listing or search engine result pages, get help from the pros. Contact Awkward Media to discuss your local SEO strategy.

Published by Genevieve Morrison