How to use SEO to attract more clients to your local business
For a local business, nothing is more important than having your name, address, phone number and opening hours up-to-date online
Running a successful local business requires hard work and determination. In order to attract customers, you have to offer high-quality products or services at competitive prices. However, for a local business, that simply isn’t enough.
An online-based company can easily attract customers from larger areas without having to go through much hassle. Local businesses, however, rely mostly on local customers that are searching for specific products or services based on their current location.
Not only are you competing against other internet giants, you’re also competing against other local businesses that are operating in the same niche. This means that in order to increase your revenue and profits you have to stay ahead of the competition. Moreover, you’ll have to attract more customers. This is where local SEO comes into play.
The main customer base for local businesses is made up of local residents and tourists. Most often, these potential customers find themselves walking through a particular area when they decide to search for a certain service or product.
People are using smartphones and tablets more often than ever: more than 60% of all daily Google searches are done through a mobile device. This means that a potential customer who’s strolling in the neighbourhood of your business looking for something you’re selling will most likely search for it on Google right then and there.
Thanks to Google’s search engine and location services, a simple search like “plumbing services London” or “restaurants nearby” will result in enough information for the customer to decide whether he’s going to visit your business or not.
Local search results are very similar to online search results; the most relevant results will always be first, followed by less-relevant or less-optimised results. If you want your local business to attract more clients, you need to be in the top results. There are several ways through which you can make your way to the first results page, however, none are more important than having your business NAP (name, address, phone number) opening hours present and updated.
There are four questions that a client will always have:
- What’s the name of the business?
- How can I reach it?
- Is it open today?
- Can I phone in advance?
Having your business address, hours, contact info, and photos updated and published on your website is crucial towards gaining positions in the search ranks.
Relevant websites and local directories
Having a website for your local business is not a requirement to be in the top search results, thanks to online and local business directories.
Your first step should be to set up a Google My Business account. This will give you access to Google’s powerful online tool. You will not only be able to add your business NAP, but also be able to view and analyse various insights, manage reviews, and much more.
Secondly, you should tap into the other various business directories available for your location. In the United Kingdom the most powerful local directories, in terms of making your business rank, are: Yelp (a global business directory), Opening-Times (which specialises in the opening times of retailers and store chains) and Yellow Pages. Adding your opening times on a business directory will further improve your company’s local visibility. Make sure to also add special hours, like Christmas hours, bank holidays etc. in order to prevent customers finding your business closed unexpectedly.
Keep Your Website Updated
If you do have a website, you should always keep it as up-to-date as possible. While posting relevant and helpful information will help bring in more customers, you also have to make sure that your website is on par with the latest Google guidelines. Inability or unwillingness to abide by these guidelines could cause irreparable damage to your search results ranking.
Furthermore, your NAP should be present on all your website pages. Have a designated area containing all your contact information that can be accessed from any page on your website. Not being able to contact a company will rapidly cause potential customers to search for services elsewhere.
Social Media Presence
Social media is the gathering place for billions of people everyday. When it comes to local businesses, Facebook and Instagram should be your first two options. Create and manage your company’s social media page as soon as possible. Post relevant content and media in order to attract more views and eventually more customers.
Keeping your audience interested is done by posting on a regular basis and answering their questions. By doing this, you will steadily be able to grow your audience and attract new potential customers.