To run a successful local business, you need determination and hard work as a minimum. You also need to offer high quality services or products and be competitively priced.
In addition, you must have an up to date website presence, with your company name, address, opening times and phone number easily accessible. As a local business you are relying on customers who are searching for specific items in their specific location.
This means that you are competing against huge internet companies like Amazon who can deliver anywhere, and other local niche businesses in your area. In order to increase your profits and attract the bulk of the local custom to you, your business needs to work harder – and smarter. This is where SEO comes in.
Local businesses have a customer base that primarily consists of visitors to the area and local residents. As customers are using tablets and smartphones more than ever before to shop as they walk, there’s a high chance that they will be searching while in your vicinity.
More than 60% of all Google searches in a day take place on a mobile device, and searching online while shopping in real time is becoming more prevalent. Thanks to the sophistication of internet search engines, a simple search of ‘restaurants nearby’ can give enough information for the customer to make a decision on which business to visit.
Local search results are similar to online search results. This means that you’ll find the most relevant results first, and these will be followed by less optimised and therefore less relevant results.
If you want to attract more customers as a local business then you need to optimise your website to appear in the top results of the search. There are a few ways to can help make this happen, and the most important is to make sure your business details are up-to-date and showing.
There are four main questions a customer will always want to know the answers to:
- What’s the name of the business?
- How can I find the business?
- Is the business open today?
- Can I phone up first?
Having these basic details published on your website is important in terms of gaining higher positions in the rankings online.
While having your own website is a good idea, it’s not the only way to appear in the top search results, thanks to local business directories.
Make sure you have a Google My Business account to start off with. With this, you’ll be able to add your details, manage any reviews and analyse various details. You should also use other business directories available for your area.
In the UK, this means sites like Yelp (global business directory), Opening-Times (specialises in retail opening times) and the Yellow Pages. Opening times and more detailed information on a business directory will help your company show up on searches.
Update your website
We would always advise having a website for your business and, crucially, keeping it up-to-date. You need to ensure it works with Google’s latest guidelines, in order to maximise your search results rankings.
Your main details (name, address and where you are) should be visible on every page of your website. If a customer can’t find out how to contact a company very quickly then they soon go elsewhere.
Social media accounts
For local businesses, it may be better to concentrate on Facebook and Instagram. Create and actively manage your businesses’ social media pages as soon as you can. This resource is potentially huge and definitely worth putting the time in.
Keep posting relevant content in order to build your online following and convert into customers. Interact with your followers when they ask questions and stay lively and vital. This will help you steadily attract new customers.