Do you ever wonder how two great coffee shops standing right next to each other have completely different success rates? Why does one coffee shop flounder while the other one thrives? While there may be more than one explanation, the answer could lie in local SEO. But before we open that can of worms, we should probably establish what local SEO is exactly. According to Yoast, "Local SEO basically is the optimization process for the local results in search engines." Local SEO is not something you notice when you walk into the place, but it's just as important as your menu board. Here's how you can use local SEO to increase sales, improve your reputation, and beat out the heavy competition.
Use Powerful Keywords and Keyphrases to Distinguish Yourself
Let's stick with the coffee shop example. You may think that there are so many ways to say the words "coffee shop Toronto". But the more descriptive and varied you are, the more likely you'll increase your local SEO. If you need help in that department, there are many powerful keyword generators that will compile a list of top searched key phrases. For instance, the words "coffee shop queen west" will produce a long list of related key phrases, such as "cafes on queen street west," "queen street west coffee shops" and "best coffee queen west". These long-tail keyphrases will improve your search engine result page ranking and sound a lot more natural in your content than a single keyword that's repeated over and over again.
Take Your Professionalism to the Next Level With Consistent Information
As greedy information consumers, we have a tendency to distrust inconsistent or incorrect business information. Something as small as different store hours posted on different websites can make us question your business' level of professionalism. It's absolutely important that your phone number, website info, store hours, and address are the same all across the board, and that you make regular and prompt updates to any information that changes. How does this boost your local SEO? For starters, you want to make it as easy as possible for your customers to find you. Second of all, you don't want to have the reputation of being unreliable. If someone wants a cup of coffee, they'd much rather walk into a place knowing what they're going to get.
Don't Be Afraid of the Reviews
It's important to take your online reviews seriously and to engage with your critics. You may not have all the time in the world to sit down and respond to every single review, but try to at least address the criticisms in the most positive and professional way possible. If someone complains about the service, thank them for their review and let them know that their comments will help you become a better service provider in the future. Offering them free coffee the next time they come in won't hurt matters either. This lets other customers know that you care about their experience and you're committed to doing better.
DO NOT try and make a customer feel bad about their complaint or try to make them seem wrong. Accepting responsibility for the negative reviews makes you seem fair and human, which customers actually appreciate it. What customers don't
appreciate is reading reviews that are clearly paid for. If you think you can sneak your way to five stars, take our advice and don't even bother. It will hurt your local SEO in the long run, which is not what you want, right?
Stake Your Claim on Local Listings
Show an active online presence by claiming your business on local listings. Fortunately, this is really easy. Since the lion's share of internet searches are performed on Google, getting your business on Google Places will streamline searches and make on-the-go mobile searches much easier. Your Google business page should include all the necessary business information as well as high-quality photos of your physical location and products you offer. But don't stop with Google. Every search engine has their own local directory, as well as review sites like Yelp. The more established you are on local listings, the more you will boost your local SEO and increase your SERP ranking.
How Local SEO Practices Can Increase Your Traffic in a Nutshell
Sometimes, we like to end our posts with a message that gets to the bottom line using pure common sense. So, how does local SEO improve your traffic and beat out the heavy competition? In a nutshell, local SEO makes you more approachable in the real world and more visible on search result pages. Since search engines only care about the user, ensuring the user has a great experience is all that matters. That's why businesses who use white hat SEO to increase their traffic will always be rewarded with better SERP rankings.
Boost Your Local SEO By Teaming Up with Your Neighbourhood SEO Company
Establishing proper local SEO isn't difficult if you know what you're doing. Do you consider yourself a local SEO savant? Or are you struggling to take charge of your local listings? Fortunately, there's help if you need it. Local SEO can turn your new business into a neighbourhood mainstay. Fortunately, Awkward Media is there to help. We've worked with many local businesses to improve their SEO, increase their visibility, and boost their bottom line. Check out our portfolio
to see our magic in action, or contact us