At it’s core, search marketing is anything you do online that contributes to your business making face-to-face contact with potential customers.
If you meet with customers directly (storefront or service related) you are a “local business”. You now have the opportunity to leverage the internet to increase your business’s visibility . These skills and techniques are often called “search marketing” or “local SEO”.
Keep in mind that optimizing your business for local SEO is certainly not a set-it-and-forget-it opportunity. It is shifting and changing world, but don’t let that overwhelm you.
You don’t have to do everything immediately. One step at a time, you can build a strong foundation.
The goal is to find the right strategies that fit your business niche and provide the best return on investment for your time.
Keep in mind that 97% of consumers are researching local businesses online.
That my friends, is an opportunity worth investing in.
Here’s the framework we think through when helping our clients with local search marketing.
Does Google like you?
Your Google My Business listing is the most important listing for your small business. Follow Google’s guidelines and represent your business well. Make sure al of your information is up to date!
Does your website work?
Does it pass all the tests that Google likes? Page load speed, smart navigation structure, mobile optimized.
Does your content engage?
Does your site provide the valuable content that people are looking for and is it easy to use? Google is paying attention to the content you publish but also the ways browsers are interacting with your content.
Do you even SEO, bro?
Has your site been optimized for the right local keywords, including certain geography terms? Make sure your website have terms on it that are relevant to your city.
Check yo’ NAP
Name, address, phone number. Make sure all of these are consistent on your site and any third party sites out in the wild.
Submit your site on Google Search Console
Any SEO service worth it’s weight has submitted your site to Google Search Console. This is a great way to check on some technical SEO aspects of your site. For search marketing purposes make sure two things happen: 1) Double check that you have a sitemap submitted. 2) Use the structured data tool to submit your NAP and hours of operation to Google.
Online reviews are incredibly important for any local business. It’s a proven fact that reviews foster trust in a business and the number of reviews can impact your local search ranking. Develop a strategy to encourage customers to give reviews. Keep in mind that each platform has guidelines and policies related to collecting reviews. Don’t break the rules.
The Goal: gain new traffic, build trust, grow your business.
If you invest in local search marketing, you are gaining a competitive edge. This is not a silver bullet, but should be considering a piece of a holistic marketing strategy.
The amount of time you’ll want to invest in the strategy is going to look different for each business depending on industry and geography, but getting started today can pay dividends for your business.