Guest blog by Michael Ryan of Ink Digital Ltd
As a business owner you are inherently busy doing what you specialise in. On most occasions you have great authority in your field, whether you are an expert plumbing & heating engineer or an award-winning accountant, you likely started your journey with the product or service knowledge you needed to make a successful business.
An area that can stunt growth for many businesses is understanding how to find and market to your potential customers. In the modern world we aren’t always physically connected, we are however, constantly connected digitally, giving us unique access to research, search & convert on the go. Regardless of your business niche, it is absolutely vital you look at different marketing disciplines that will help you grow and scale your business.
Way To Market Your Business
As mentioned, you have a number of options available to you including:
- Social media
- Email Marketing
- Cold Calling
- Lead Prospecting
You can create content and generate leads though any of the above options with a high conversion rate. I aim to show you why digital marketing & more specifically SEO can you help you grow your local business and generate leads.
If you got home from work and found you had a broken boiler, would you pull out the yellow pages? No, I did not think so. This is 2021, the world has moved on from directory books.
Thankfully, our lives are a lot easier these days and we’re able to lean on our trusty smartphones to enable us search products and services we need whenever we need them. This is why it’s vital to have visibility through search engines.
Search engines refer the best type of traffic for businesses with over 3.5 billion searches being made through Google alone every day. The amount of traffic SEO can generate has made it one of the most competitive marketplaces, but when done well, the most rewarding and profitable.
How Local Businesses Need SEO..
You might be saying to yourself, ‘Well I’m a local business, customers come to my store, they don’t buy online I don’t need SEO.’ Well, I am here to tell you that, SEO isn’t just about driving online sales or bookings. You also still need to be looking into SEO as a way to increase visibility and sales. 87% of consumers start their shopping decisions online. This statement shows that having page 1 Google visibility is going really help when driving brand awareness ands sales to your local business, even if they are physical face to face transactions.
If you’re able to work on your business and rank above your main local competitors, you will build a competitive advantage enabling you to scale at a quicker rate.
SEO Tips For Local Businesses
Here are some immediate tips you can go and implement as a local business owner to start improving your SEO today.
- Keyword Research
Before you can start building your brand online, you need to understand your audience and potential customers. What do they search your find your services? What device do they use to search?
There are a couple of tools you can use to research this. The first one is Google’s own tool, Google search console. This will allow to see what keywords are currently generating impression and clicks for your website.
As a local business you’ll be looking to take advantage of targeted local terms.
- Local Website Pages
If you offer services across multiple locations, then it’s important to have dedicated landing pages for each location. This enables the search engine to differentiate between business locations. For example we have a dedicated location page for ‘SEO agency in Essex’ which explains our targeted services within this area.
- Create A Google My Business Page
This is the most effective way of increasing your opportunities to rank in the local map pack as well as increasing your local visibility. Once created you will have a knowledge graph for branded search terms as well as an area for customer to leave reviews and you too respond.
You should make sure to keep your business page updated with business hours as well as any special offers customers should be aware of.
A Google My Business page also give you the opportunity to provide information such events and what payment methods you accept before users make the trip to see you.
Finally, a Google My Business page also allows you to show off some of your finest products or how inviting the interior of your store is within the photos section.
- Create Relevant Citations
The next to tip work hand in hand. A citation is essential an online directory listing such as Yelp, YellowPages, FourSquares & MapQuest. It will list your business, and some will give you a backlink.
- Ensure NAP Information Is Consistent
NAP simply stands for Name, Address, Phone number. These details need to be consistent across the internet to make it as easy as possible for a search engine to understand your businesses vital information.
Make sure this is crawlable text that Google or other search engines can read and not an image!
- Mobile- Friendly Website
As well as being visible via search engines, it’s become absolutely vital for your website to be optimised for mobile.
61% of Google searches are through mobile, if your website is not optimised for this device you will be losing out on important conversions.
These are just some of the ways you can increase your local SEO as a business owner. SEO is vital, whether your customer base makes online purchases or not and implementing these fixes going forward can help you stay ahead of the hundreds of competitors that won’t be.
After gaining experience across digital PR and content marketing, Michael decided to focus his career on search engine optimisation (SEO), where he managed projects for some of the UK’s largest e-commerce retailers in an agency environment. He later went in-house for the UK’s fastest-growing travel agency, helping maximise growth across SEO and conversion rate optimisation (CRO). His passion for all things digital saw him embark upon his own journey in 2019 when he founded his digital marketing agency.