Wanna hear a dirty little secret? Local businesses need SEO as much as national businesses do. Shhhh… Don’t tell your competition but local search engine optimization makes a difference!
Most buyers, especially the ever growing population of mobile and tablet users, are using the search engines as a starting point for their local buying decisions.
Search engines are the leading source of information about local businesses, second only to word of mouth! Here’s why:
- 82% of people using local search sites followed up with an offline action like in-store visits and phone calls. (TMP Directional Marketing)
- 89% of consumers making local, in-store purchases in key categories have conducted research online. (BIGResearch)
This means that your business has to be found in those local search results to make the MOST of this opportunity! (It’s OK. We are here to help!)
We offer three Local Search Engine Optimization Packages:
Basic Local SEO
For companies who only want their consistent name, address and phone number (NAP) information listed in major local search resources and owner-verified with Google and Bing to secure their information. No on-site search optimization for keywords so your information is most likely to only be found by people searching for your brand or type of business.
Standard Local SEO
The traditional Local SEO service. The advantages of NAP consistency and owner-verified listings with Google and Bing, plus on-site keyword optimization to expand search visibility for keywords beyond your company’s name and local service category. Includes RocketReviews or Organic Call Tracking
Enhanced Local SEO
Standard Local SEO plus clean-up of old and duplicate listings for your business. Any business that has relocated, changed names or is in a highly competitive niche should use this service. Includes RocketReviews and Organic Call Tracking
Specific services included in each package are listed in the following graphic.
Contact SEO Rocket, or call 336-993-3333 today to learn more about how our Local SEO service can work for you!
What is Local Search Optimization?
At SEO Rocket we’ve come to truly appreciate the importance of this often overlooked aspect to search engine optimization. Every business owner has a desire to “be number one in Google” but what does that mean? When two different individuals search for a plumber will they get the same results?
The answer is no. The first variable Google looks at is where is the searcher sitting. In other words, if the person who executed the search is sitting in Greensboro, North Carolina then Google has realized that if that person is looking for a plumber then they probably aren’t interested in a plumber in Sioux City, Iowa.
But Google has gotten even more refined than that. Not only do they try to provide the local businesses that the searcher might be looking for but they also want to provide the best business and the one that most likely meets the searchers needs. To do this they look at who recommends that business. One of the obvious ways to see this is to look at reviews and testimonials for that business. Google has a very rigid review process on its Google+ Local pages in an effort to get the most accurate representation of a business (more on this on our Online Reviews page). They also look for citations or mentions of the business on other relevant websites like a chamber of commerce.
“People love us! We can do this.”
Reviews have become such an important part of the web that businesses have tried to find ways to manipulate them and review web sites have tried to find ways to prevent this. The first thing to know is that you shouldn’t try to manipulate your reviews other than provide the best products and services that you can. After that know that there are some things that you can do to help with your web presence when it comes to reviews. You can help the search engines know when you publish a review by including hCard or schema.org code to identify that text as a review. (Oops, geeked out there for a moment. We can help with this.) Second, without asking for a 5-star review, encourage your customers to place reviews about your business on the web sites that they can access. The strongest reviews on the web are posted to Google, FaceBoook, Yelp, TripAdvisor and Yellow Pages when those reviews are posted by people who log in (nothing anonymous) and have a history of reviewing products, services and businesses.
Local businesses that count on their customers coming from a select, geographic area are smart to learn the ways that search engines provide local search and to optimize their presence in local search results. But it can be a daunting task. There are hundreds of local directories on the web. Many times those directories are scouring the internet looking for information about your business and posting it hoping that you will sign up with them, pay for additional services or advertise on them. You may find that, without actively submitting any data, you find your business name address and phone number in a directory that you’ve never heard of. How did this happen? Some directories pull from public information like when the business got its phone number or applied for a business license. Others have agreements with large data aggregator companies that mine all of the public information out there and build profiles.
It has grown beyond traditional directory listings
Web providers are looking for more ways to tap into the power of local geographic areas. On May 30, 2012 Google launched Google+ Local, a simple way to discover and share local information featuring Zagat scores and recommendations from the people you trust in Google+. Google+ Local will become extremely important in the future as it may replace Google Places as Google’s hub for businesses to present their information for Google local search.
Google places has been Googles tie-in to actual physical locations (and mapping) and continues to be an important component in their marketing mix and search engine ranking. Bing has also created their Bing Places for Business component to list local business better for local searches.
“Cool. Then I don’t need to do anything.”
It looks like it might all happen without you but what happens when this information is incorrect? Many of these services get the new business information but don’t have a process to get an update when you change your phone number or move the business. Few things can be more frustrating to a new customer than to drive to the address in the directory only to find that you moved and you’re no longer there. Search engines look at the data and try to group similar name, address and phone number (referred to as a NAP in SEO geek-speak) listings together. If a company has 10 listings at one address and 8 listings at a new location then the search engine may see it as two companies with an average of 9 listings. However, if all of these citations were corrected and had the same address there would be more “weight” for the company because it would have 19 listings!
A June 2, 2014 Huffington Post article offers up “5 Tips to Improve your Local Search Presence“.
The key items were items we agree with and would encourage businesses to follow:
- Make sure your business is listed in prominent online directories
- Don’t forget the Yellow Pages
- Audit your Google+ listing and make sure it is complete and accurate
- Be smart about your social media strategy
- Encourage customers to leave reviews
“I don’t have time for all of this and don’t know where to start!”
We know that. That’s why we offer two effective local SEO packages. In both of our packages we set up a baseline local business data accuracy report where we try to find out the places your business is listed and if those listings reflect accurate information. Next we verify your page on Google + and make sure that it contains accurate and consistent information.
We utilize two of the largest data aggregators to “push” the correct information for your business out to the companies that publish that information on the web. The combination of these two services means that we are providing your accurate information to over 90% of the listings on the web. Two of the most important players in this game are the search engines Google and Bing. We supplement this data feed with manual submission of your Enhanced Business Profile to these two sources.
Next we look for more ways to place a reference to your NAP (name, address and phone number) into quality sites that will help the search engines recognize that you are a legitimate business providing the services that you list. We also take your images of your business and products and build a custom business video slideshow to create a YouTube presence for your business profile.
We wrap all of this up with strong advice and monitoring. We will provide website optimization recommendations for your marketing and web teams and advise on the latest tips and techniques you can use to enhance your local search results. To measure the citations and activity we provide a monthly Local SEO progress report giving you feedback on the effort made with the account.
But wait! There’s more!
Our Enhanced Local SEO package offers all of the above services plus you get the advantage of being included in high traffic social networks and you’ll receive monthly reputation management reports.
We expand the number of sources where we provide ongoing clean-up of old and duplicate listings as we continue to monitor and correct flawed data. We provide phone verification of your business to Expressupdate, Yelp, YellowBot and YellowPages.
You’ll have access to our tool for monitoring your reputation as measured by reviews and testimonials. This has become an important variable in the local search arena and it is crucial to track where people are commenting on you, what they are saying and how it is presenting your business. This Reputation Monitoring service helps you to monitor and modify the presence on the web that is generated by these local reviews. We give you access to our SEO Rocket Dashboard to help you keep track of visibility progress, online customer reviews, social buzz and your competitors.
Are you ready to maximize your local presence?
We are ready to help you create a stronger awareness of your business in your local service area. One of our two packages will help you see results. If your business serves multiple areas then we can build a custom package for you that reaches into each of your markets. Call us today at 336-993-3333 or contact us via our contact form and let’s get started.