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The Future of Near Me Searches for Local SEO

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The Future of “Near Me” Searches for Local SEO

As search technology evolves, consumers are quick to adopt new and faster ways to research and locate the products and services they want to buy. Local and “near me” searches expose your business to new customers looking to make purchases in the immediate future – usually within the day.

According to 2019 data from Think with Google, 83% of U.S. shoppers who visited a store in the last week say they used online search before going into a store. Additionally, the same report showed that “where to buy” + “near me” mobile queries have grown by over 200% in the past two years and mobile searches for “on-sale” + “near me” have grown by over 250% year-over-year in the last two years.

The Fast and Steady Growth of Digital Assistants and Voice Search

Digital assistants and voice search have turned our devices into magic wands. But instead of saying abracadabra, you just have to say, “Hey Google,” or “Alexa,” or “Hey Siri,” to find anything you want.

Forecast from U.K.-based Juniper Research estimates that 8 billion digital voice assistants will be in use by 2023, up from 2.5 billion assistants at the end of 2018. Most of those voice assistants will be on Android and iOS smartphones, where Google Assistant and Siri are ready to help – hands-free.

2018 research by Strategy Analytics estimated that in 2019, around 50 percent of smartphones will have a virtual assistant that can be controlled by chat or voice, and by 2023, availability on smartphones is expected to increase to 90 percent.

BrightLocal reports that 76% of smart speaker users perform local voice searches at least weekly, and 46% of users perform voice searches to look for information on local businesses daily.

Local SEO has always been and will continue to be about ensuring your business shows ups where consumers are looking for a way to get the quality products and services they want in the area they are in.

The exponential growth in voice search demonstrates the need to optimize for voice-based commands that include phrases such as “near me” and “open now.” Optimize content for long-tail keywords that answer the questions that are likely to be spoken, make your phone number and address easily accessible, and keep your Google My Business listing updated and complete.

Where you are now competing for real estate on page one, and the top three spots in organic results, the rise of voice search means competition is for the one and only “best” answer for spoken responses. Local businesses that optimize their SEO for voice search will have the advantage in the future of Near Me searches.

In-Store Search Users Aren’t Shopping Competitors

You probably assume that customers on their phone using search engines in-store are looking for nearby or online competitors selling the same things at a lower price. But that is not always what is happening.

According to Google, “While comparison shopping does happen, most in-store shoppers are actually searching online for more information about your store, brand, or the products you offer. In-store shoppers are 4X more likely to search on Google for the retail brand of the store they’re currently in compared to the next highest competitor, and there are 6X more Google searches for the retailer than for “amazon.”

Anticipating and delivering on in-store search needs helps you seal the deal and get the sale. Win search moments by setting up your online presence to provide fast and meaningful assistance to people using search while at your location. Look at the online customer journey for your industry so you can build an in-store search strategy that provides the content that customers are looking for.

If you have no idea what your customers are looking for before they arrive and once they reach your location – ASK THEM. Whether it’s product reviews, coupons, or things to do while waiting on services, part of your “near me” strategy should include what happens when they are still on search engines after arriving at your store.

Optimize Now for the Future of Near Me Searches

The expectation of finding precisely what you want, exactly when you want it using a search engine is growing. In fact, unless a person turns off the GPS option, Google search assumes local businesses relevant to search queries are useful links for both organic and paid spots on search engine results pages.

Make sure you’re showing up in moments of intent throughout the purchase journey and giving customers the answers they are looking for. The future of “near me” search means increased visibility and more customers for businesses that know how to rank in search engines for local consumers.

Near Me Search – How Local Businesses Are Found Online

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Near Me Search – How Local Businesses Are Found Online

Mobile devices are expected to influence $1.4 trillion in local sales by 2021, according to a Forrester research report. As more and more Americans rely on their smartphones to find local services and products, “near me” searches have become default functions for both search engines and the people using them.

Think about how you use your phone when you are heading out, or on the road, ready to make a purchase. Whether it’s a burger or you need a dry cleaner who doesn’t strip the buttons off of your shirt, Google is ready with suggestions on where to solve your hunger or button problems. And the search engine will gladly list them from best to worst, near to far, to make it easy for you.

Near Me Search – How Local Businesses Are Found

If you want customers near you to find your business first, local SEO (search engine optimization) is critical for exposing your business to new audiences. With the staggering growth of “near me” searches and other local intent searches on mobile devices, every business that wants more local customers should be optimizing their online presence for the way consumers now find new products and services.

According to Think with Google, 76% of local mobile searches for something nearby result in a same-day in-store visit, and 26% of those visits result in a purchase. Adding “near me” to an online search demonstrates an intent to take immediate action on search results. Are you using “near me” search strategies to ensure your business is showing up when people are ready to buy?

Optimizing for Near Me Searches

Optimizing your business’s online presence for “near me” searches requires paying close attention to the location identifiers, service/product listings, and categories so search engines like Google know precisely where you are located and exactly what you provide to your customers. Because all search engines want to give the best results first, not only does proximity to the searcher matter, but customer reviews will influence how you rank when there are multiple choices within close proximity to one another.

Local SEO Best Practices for Near Me Searches

To ensure you are showing up in search results when your next customer is online looking for what you are selling and ready to get in the car (or on the phone for an order), local businesses will want to follow these local SEO best practices:

1. Optimize Google My Business – Claim and fill out your GMB accounts completely – paying special attention to your address and pin location on Maps, categories, and services sections. Continuously add photos, update holiday hours, monitor reviews, and answer questions.

2. Gather (and Respond to) Reviews – Have a process in place that requests reviews from your happiest customers, monitor Google and other review sites, and respond to both positive and negative reviews professionally and compassionately.

3. NAP on Website & Business Listings – Wrong, missing, inconsistent, or incomplete business name, address, and phone numbers (NAP) on business listings and website pages confuse search engines, and they won’t provide confusing results to search engine users. Consistent and complete NAP are rewarded with higher rankings in near me searches.

4. Location Identifiers on Image and Meta Tags – Geotagging your images and metadata ensure your website contains the local identifiers that tell search engines your content is relevant and should appear for local queries.

5. Mobile-Friendly, Fast-Loading Website – How fast your site loads and how user-friendly it is on mobile devices are huge ranking factors in Google search. Fix slow-loading pages and ensure your website is mobile-friendly.

6. Local Backlinks (from Chambers, Associations, Directories) – Building local backlinks reinforces your business’s relevance in the community. Strategies include creating content local authorities want to link to, sponsoring local organizations, creating resources with a local focus, and hosting community events.

7. Written Text Driving Directions (with major cross streets) – Contact pages for each of your locations should include driving directions from well-known landmarks and list the names of the areas, neighborhoods, and cities you serve. The services and products you provide in written list are also helpful information that should be written in your website text and NOT displayed in PDF or image formats.

Near Me Search Has Redefined How Consumers Shop

We are drowning in data that lets us know where, when, and how people are using search engines to make purchasing decisions. Today search engine users expect search technology to guess their intent and find the places they can get the stuff they need.

Since “near me” is a popular phrase that shows up in search engine queries across all categories as people look for the closest options for activities, services, and stores, NOW is the time to use local SEO to earn new customers.

Local Lead Generation Using Social Media

Local Lead Generation Using Social Media

Local businesses need to consistently bring in new customers to increase sales and grow their business, so it’s crucial to embrace new digital marketing strategies to generate sales. Local lead generation using social media puts your business in front of a highly targeted market so you can get to work winning new customers.

A lead is any person who indicates interest in your products or services, and they fuel your marketing efforts. There’s no one-size-fits-all local lead generation campaign, but when you figure out where your ideal customers hang out on social media, you can create a local lead generation plan that keeps your business top of mind when purchase time comes.

Local Lead Generation Using Social Media

Studies from HubSpot have shown that even with only six hours a week spent on social media, 66% of marketers found it brought new leads. Social media business accounts allow you to target ads to people within your local area based on criteria such as location, age, sex, interests, and much more.

Social media platforms also make it easy to guide your followers to take action, from the swipe up option on Instagram stories to Facebook bio links. While social media is usually used for top-of-the-funnel marketing, it can still be a helpful and low-cost source for lead generation when used strategically.

Facebook Lead Generation

With its hyper-targeting ad capabilities, Facebook is one of the best ways for local businesses to find potential customers in their area. With Facebook, it’s easy to grow your local audience and get more eyes on your offers.

Facebook Lead Ads lets you run an ad with a conversion objective and send anyone who clicks on the Lead Ad to a Facebook landing page where they can opt-in on your offer. People can simply tap your ad, and a form pops up already pre-populated with their Facebook contact information and ready to be sent directly to you. 

Facebook also lets you put a call-to-action button at the top of your Facebook Page, helping you send Facebook followers directly to your website. And you get the added bonus of the ability to run your lead ads across both Facebook and Instagram as long as your ads follow Instagram’s design requirements.

Instagram Lead Generation

Instagram states that at least 200 million Instagrammers visit at least one business profile each day. And, 60% of people say they discover new products on Instagram. Where you can leverage all this traffic to meet your local lead generation needs is with geotagging.

Geotagging occurs when you tag your location in a social post. When you check-in at a location, you’re geotagging. You probably already ask your customers to check-in at your location if you’re using Instagram, but what most businesses are missing out on are the benefits of geotagging your own content.

With Instagram, you can geotag posts, stories, and hashtags. Adding your location makes it easier for people to find you, but it also helps your content show up in more searches.

According to Simply Measured, posts with a location tagged in it received 79% more engagement than those without any. Here’s how to do it:

  • Post: When creating an Instagram post, use the Add Location button.
  • Story: After you record or upload your story, you can click the square face, and the first button is Location.
  • Hashtags: Use city and industry-specific location hashtags to target your local and highly interested audience.

Twitter Lead Generation

The Twitter Business platform is where you can not only optimize how people subscribe to your business but how you engage with your Twitter audience.

Businesses with Twitter Business accounts can use a “subscribe to our newsletter” CTA button on their profiles, while also using URL cards, to make it easy for Twitter users to interact with their brands and increase the number of leads they generate from the platform.

According to Twitter, Twitter Business profile users increased their sales by 69% after customers started following them on Twitter.

These Twitter lead generation ads let you reach specific audiences through local geo-targeting with granular targeting by state, 200 metros, and 12k postal codes. You can also create a tailored audience list in three ways:

  • Using a list of email addresses or Twitter usernames
  • Collect a list of people that have recently visited your website with Twitter’s website tag
  • Reach people who have taken a specific action on your app

Once you’ve uploaded your list of contacts, you can choose to either include or exclude them from your campaign targeting, depending on your remarketing strategy.

LinkedIn Lead Generation

For B2B (business to business) lead generation, there is no better social media platform than LinkedIn. You can see professional demographic data to target the right people by job title, company, industry, seniority, and more.

Retarget website visitors, reach contacts, and build account-based marketing campaigns with Matched Audiences or a set of custom targeting options.

Create ads in the newsfeed, in messages, and on a desktop to capture leads and use sponsored content to promote company updates.

Using LinkedIn Lead Gen Forms also removes the main barrier to online conversion: forms that have to be filled out manually by prospects.

When LinkedIn members click on your ad, their profile data automatically populates a form they can submit with one click. They’ll save time and effort. You’ll get more accurate and complete information about your leads.

Take advantage of these opportunities on social media for your business to collect leads by offering up value on the platforms and social networks where your ideal customers hang out. 

What Lead Generation Means for Small Businesses

When looking to increase your customer base, small business

What Lead Generation Means for Small Business
What Lead Generation Means for Small Business

ses incorporating lead generation strategies and embracing innovative ways to generate new sales are seeing accelerated growth.

Small and local businesses are in a high-stakes competition for new customers in the shadow of a growing eCommerce presence and fighting for what little market space is left after mega-store and national brands have set up shop locally. If you find your business is struggling to bring in new customers, lead generation is a must.

Small Business Lead Generation – What is a Lead?

Lead generation is the process you use to create a highly targeted base of prospects and future customers that you and your sales team can nature and convert into sales and increased revenue.

To break it down, a lead is any person who indicates interest in a company’s product or service. Leads are the fuel your marketing efforts. And different types of leads will travel different customer journeys depending on their demonstrated level of interest or engagement with your lead generation efforts. Someone who signed up for your newsletter, for example, is going to get marketed to differently than someone who had a free trial or sample.

Using Lead Generation Strategies

With your lead generation strategies, you are working to attract and convert a new prospect into someone who has indicated an interest in your product or service. Basically, you are identifying and qualifying potential customers.

Local lead generation strategies are specifically engineered to get in front of and attract local clients. To do that, the first and most important factor for generating local leads is to master local SEO (search engine optimization) and ensure your website is ranking high organically in search results for your area and type of business.

List of Small Business Lead Generation Strategies

There’s no one-size-fits-all local lead generation campaign. You will need to be clear on what your business is about, how it’s different, and what you are hoping to accomplish before picking which strategies to use in your local lead generation campaigns.

Figure out where your clients hang out and do a deep dive into the lead generation strategies that work there to create a local plan that continuously feeds new leads into your business.

Content and Blogging for Lead Generation

Content is a great way to guide users to opt-in offers and landing pages. Typically, you create content like blog posts and lead magnets (incredibly useful digital content customers will trade an opt-in or email address for) to provide visitors with free information while reminding them of your expertise. You can include calls-to-action anywhere in your content — inline, bottom-of-post, in the hero, or even on the side panel, footer or back page of your content.

Don’t stress over creating books worth of content to start blogging or offering useful information. Keep things simple in the beginning and write down the ten most frequent questions your customers ask you, and you have 10+ blog posts ideas already. Add all ten together, make a cover, and save it as a PDF and you have a lead magnet.

Google Ads for Lead Generation

With Google Ads, you pay to appear at the top of search engine queries and map results. Obviously, this is prime real estate for any ad campaign, especially for small businesses.

Google Ads are popular PPC (pay-per-click) campaigns you can use to increase website visits, calls, and store visits while generating leads. And that’s why cost per lead within Google Ads is often a lot more expensive than social media lead generation tactics but you are seen by people looking specifically for what you are selling.

Even with quick results, this lead generation tactic can prove to be a testing ground for people not familiar with PPC management. But many small businesses believe Google Ads are worth the effort and costs for lead generation and new sales.

Social Media for Lead Generation

Social media business accounts allow you to target ads to people within your local area based on criteria such as location, age, sex, interests, and much more. And social media platforms make it easy to guide your followers to take action, from the swipe up option on Instagram stories to Facebook bio links.

While social media is widely used for top-of-the-funnel marketing, it can still be a helpful and low-cost source for lead generation. The key is using social media strategically.

Free Trials and Samples for Lead Generation

You can break down a lot of barriers to a sale by offering trials of your product or service. People like free stuff, bundles, and huge discounts. And they are likely to share with others and leave reviews for what they’ve received if they like it.

Deliver impactful, positive experiences, and you can convert a competitor’s customers into your new leads. Obtaining new customers is far more difficult than keeping existing ones, so consider that when weighing the initial cost of free or discounted starter campaigns.

Referral Marketing for Lead Generation

Referral marketing is a marketing tactic that makes use of recommendations, reviews, and word of mouth to grow a business’s customer base. You’ll want to use your biggest fans to help spread the good word about your company for increased exposure to new audiences so you can generate more leads.

Leads from referrals are the most powerful type of lead generation because the positive word of mouth and trusted opinion of people and businesses we trust are very persuasive.

Your lead generation strategy needs to be as dynamic as the people you’re targeting. Create and test enticing and attractive offers, CTAs, landing pages, and forms and then promote them through multiple channels. While you may have several moving parts in your marketing machine, lead generation puts your business in front of your ideal audience, so you can get to work converting them into customers.

Google My Business – What’s New?

Google My Business What's New? in Text and Google Logo at bottom
Google My Business
What’s New?

Google My Business – What’s New?

Launched in 2014, Google My Business has changed how physical location businesses are found online and in real life.

Creating a Google My Business listing is usually the first step in any local marketing strategy for anyone with search engine optimization experience. Google owns about over 90% of the global search engine market – trusting and relying heavily on their own Google My Business listings to provide the most accurate and useful local search results to its users.

Google has made it easy to play into their system and show up in both Google Maps and Google Local by providing Google My Business as a free tool that helps business owners manage their online presence across Google and its powerful roster of partners.

Google’s top-secret algorithm and somewhat strict guidelines for SEO can make it difficult to know just how and where your business will appear in search results. You can’t control Google, but you can take what we know and optimize your Google My Business listings to rank at the top of local search results faster.

Updates and New Tools – What’s New with GMB

Google My Business is continuously evolving to help local businesses maximize the impact of their GMB listings. Google releases updates, changes, and new tools all the time, but the following are particularly useful for local businesses looking to get the most out of Google My Business.

Add a Logo — businesses can display their logo on the upper right of the profile instead of a profile photo, and the image will appear beside posts or review responses. You’ll find options for adding a logo under the “Overview” tab in your GMB account.

Welcome Offers — these can be sent to thank customers/prospects who follow a business. You can include a description, coupon code, T&C’s, and a website link in your offer.

Look in the “Turn Followers into Customers” area of your profile and click on “Create Welcome Offer” to create, preview, and then publish your offer.

Marketing Kit — The Google My Business Marketing Kit is a new site to create and print promotional assets. You can get free stickers, posters, social posts, and more created from your GMB profile.

Want to make a poster for your storefront window highlight a particularly awesome review posted to your GMB listing? You can create those here for free. Download your in-store kit and receive printable posters, signs, stickers, and table tents for your business.

Visit https://marketingkit.withgoogle.com/ to get new promotional material for your business throughout the year.

Local Favorites —The top 5% of local businesses in a category will be awarded a “Local Favorite” badge. Currently, the Local Favorite program highlights the most popular restaurants in New York, Chicago, and Los Angeles but look for expansion of the local favorite badges for other popular categories.

Short Names —Businesses can create and register their desired name and search users will be able to search Google Maps for @shortname and bring up the profile. You can share a short URL to ask customers to leave a review or to share your Business Profile. All businesses that have claimed their short name in Google My Business can have a shareable short URL.

Request A Quote — Enable messaging in GMB, and you can create a “Request A Quote” button customers can use to request a quote for any services you choose, then you reply within the GMB app. To turn off the quote button, just turn off messaging in the GMB app.

Book an Appointment — Route search users directly to a landing page for booking an appointment. Managing your bookings through another booking provider simplifies the booking experience. Your customers also benefit from built-in integration with widely used Google products, like Calendar, and automatic reminders, so they don’t miss their booking.

You can use the booking tab in Google My Business to view the booking history of your business listing for bookings that came in through Reserve with Google. If you already use a scheduling provider on this list, you’re automatically eligible to receive bookings.

Keep Up to Date on Google My Business Happenings

If you want to stay on top of new features, Google My Business provides different ways to get updates on the latest product news and announcements.

Join the community discussion by subscribing via RSS to the Google My Business News & Updates board, where you can provide feedback and suggestions for the features you use most.

Most announcements are also made on social media so you can follow the Google My Business Twitter feed or Facebook page to stay in the know: Twitter or Facebook.

Why You Need an Optimized Google My Business Listing

Why You Need an Optimized Google My Business Listing

If you’ve ever Googled your competition and saw that their business listing showed up higher in search with a bunch of customer-centric information like photos, hours, special offers, and even videos, you might wonder how they got all that done. The answer is simple, they optimized their free Google My Business (aka GMB) listings, and Google rewarded them with higher search rankings.

Google My Business lets you take advantage of and grow your business’ presence, making sure your business shows up when it matters most: the moment customers are searching for your business or products or services like yours on Google Search and Maps.

Why You Need an Optimized Google My Business Listing

You may assume that if you have a strong online presence that people will find you in search anyway. Why would you bother managing your business listings directly when it’s so easy to find your website and contact information online?

You’d be surprised at how much search users depend on Google to tell them what the best answer is for their search queries.

According to one Gybo report, businesses that verify their information via Google Business are twice as likely to have customers view them as “reputable.” Google vouching for your business reduces uncertainty and encourages people to take actions like calling or visiting your locations.

And if you are looking to make it into the Local 3-Pack that dominates the top of both desktop and mobile search results, the only way in is through Google My Business.

What is Google My Business?

Let’s take a step back for local SEO (search engine optimization) beginners. Google My Business is a free tool that allows you to promote your business on Google Search and Maps. With your Google My Business account, you can see and connect with your customers, post updates, and see how customers are interacting with your business on Google.

With GMB, you can manage the information that Google users see when they search for your business or the products and services that you offer. When people find your business on Google Maps and Search, they have access to information like your hours, website, and street address.

Reach Highly Relevant and Engaged Customers

Google My Business gives you the power to attract and engage customers when they search for the type of products or services your business provides. Optimizing your GMB listing by filling out all the information gives your business a presence on Google Search and Maps. It also allows you to respond to reviews, post photos of products, services, or special offers, and provide information that helps search users choose your business first.

So, don’t miss an opportunity to read and respond to reviews from your customers and post photos that show off what you do. Businesses that add photos to their listings receive 42% more requests for driving directions on Google Maps and 35% more clicks through to their websites than businesses that don’t.

GMB Insights shows you how you can optimize your customer engagement for better results, and you can encourage more engagement by interacting with your customers from the Customers tab.

Google My Business also comes with a mobile app that is free to use. Do everything you already to with your GMB account. Use enhanced features to make it easier to optimize business listings on the go.

If you already have a website, Google My Business listings complement and promote your existing business website and raise your visibility online. No website? Your GMB listing includes a free professional business website that you can set up in minutes.

It’s created automatically using information from your GMB listing, and auto-updates as you make changes to your profile. You can choose from a variety of site themes and offer customers multiple ways to get in touch with you, like calling, messaging, or requesting a quote.

Google My Business Resources

When you take into account that Google owns 90% of the global search market, it makes sense that you would want to take advantage of a free tool that lets you rank your business in their search engines – and that tool is Google My Business.

There are simply too many people searching for the products and services business as yours provide. Make your business highly visible in search results by optimizing your Google My Business listing.

DIY Local SEO for Local Business Owners

DIY Local SEO for Local Business Owners

Local search engine optimization is ever-evolving as new algorithms are released, your software updates, and best practices change. Local business owners have to stay vigilant to compete for the top stops in search engine local results on both mobile devices and desktops.

What You Can Do to Improve Local SEO

Local SEO can get complicated, but there are some simple things that you can do, with minimal tech skills that will have a HUGE impact on how high your business website ranks in local search engine results.

Claim and Optimize Google My Business Listing

Google likes to keep things in-house as much as possible, so it favors its own accurate and current business listings when giving local search results to its users. Additionally, if you want any chance of showing up in the revenue-increasing Local 3-Pack, which prominently displays the top three most relevant results for local search, you have to verify and optimize your Google My Business listing (preferably with dozens of five-star reviews).

Have a Customer Review System that Generates and Posts Positive Reviews

Customer reviews are a powerful tool in optimizing your website for local search.  On-page, they give you fresh, local, user-generated content for your web pages.  Off-page customer review sites like Yelp often rank in the first or second spot for local search results showing the star ratings of top businesses. 

Google has put a much larger emphasis on the ranking power on customer reviews, putting them front and center in the three-pack and showing snippets of reviews on search engine results pages. Getting those golden stars to show up in search engine results with schema reviews markups helps your business stand out and increases your click-through rates.

Knowing how to get more and better customer reviews on the right sites means you have an advantage over your competitors. You can’t write your customers’ reviews, but you should be putting real effort into doing what you can to influence how often you get reviewed and how highly you are rated.

Create and Monitor Accurate Business Listings and NAP Citations

Your business listings make your business visible online, and the more listings you create, the better chance you have of customers finding you. That’s because your business listings and local citations are important to search engines like Google.

Listings and citations are factors in the ranking algorithms used to create search engine results, and a business with more citations will (if all other factors are equal) rank higher than a business with less.

Accuracy and consistency are of the utmost importance! And if you were going to outsource one activity on this list, business listing and citation management is the one you can have managed for you with minimal cost.

Have a Dedicated Page on Your Website for Each Location

For businesses with more than one location, it is hard to local optimize your website.  Instead of stuffing your pages with half a dozen city/area keywords and tags, give each location its own hyper-local page. 

Each location page should be linked to from a high-level navigation menu on your home page.  And make phone numbers highly visible and clickable on mobile devices. 

Also, when you have specialized services that people search for like sedation for pet grooming or local delivery for things that aren’t usually delivered, create pages specific to those services as well with internal links to your location pages.

Hyper-Localize Title Tags, Videos, and Images

Title tags are the actual words of the anchor text in search results that links to your website.  Metadata is the actual words that show up below your title tag in search results. And image tags are the words that show up when you hover over them online and let search engines know what a picture is about.

Be sure the tags that make sense to both search engines and local customers.  Use your keywords and location in a logical way that matches how customers would pick your business as relevant from a list of results:

GOOD TAG: “South Philadelphia Dog Grooming Training Boarding

BAD TAG: “dog grooming PA

Don’t Let Competitors Top You in Search

Now is a good time to optimize your website for future local customers using their mobile devices and computers to find the best and closest places to spend their money. Use local SEO to make sure future customers are finding your business at the top of search results.

Local Businesses Grow Faster with Local SEO

Local Businesses Grow Faster with Local SEO

Do you have a business that serves one or several local areas?

Your run-of-the-mill website SEO won’t bring the impactful results of local search engine optimization. And local SEO is what you need to be found by new customers in your area.

Local search has been a windfall for many local businesses because physical proximity to the user is a huge ranking factor in local search results. The good news is there are things you can do to reach qualified customers at exactly the right time, converting local searchers into new customers.

What is Local SEO?

There is so much talk about search engine optimization for small businesses, but a lot of the chatter revolves around optimizing the web pages of businesses with a strong online presence who sell products or services online. Local SEO is all about optimizing the website of a local business so they can rank higher in internet searches made by local users in their area.

Local search optimization is going to affect rankings in mobile search where people are on the move and looking to spend money now and also enhances positioning in searches that use local terms such as:

  • shoe repair near me
  • kennel near me
  • wedding cake in [city name]
  • carpet cleaner in my area

Specifically, when we talk about local search engine optimization, we mean designating and highlighting your city name, complete address, and key service or product in the places that search engines and search engine users are looking for them.

When asked, the talking heads at Google are quoted as saying, “relevance, prominence, and distance” determine what links show up in local search results. That is a huge oversimplification of a very complicated ranking system, but here’s your big take away: Google will first search their own Google My Business accounts to determine relevance, prominence, and distance – so GMB is where you should start your local SEO campaigns.

Why You Should Focus on Local SEO

Local SEO connects your business with real-life customers in your community. Effective local SEO results in everyone in your area seeing your business on page one of search engine results when they are looking for the type of products and services you provide.

Let’s look at some Local SEO stats and facts:

  • 78% of location-based mobile searches result in an offline purchase. (SEO Tribunal)
  • 46% of all Google searches are seeking local information. (Go Gulf)
  • 4 in 5 consumers use search engines to find local information. (Think with Google)
  • “Near me” or “close by” type searches grew by more than 900% over two years. (Chat Meter)
  • 72% of consumers that did a local search visited a store within five miles (HubSpot Marketing Statistics)
  • 97% of people learn more about a local company online than anywhere else (SEO Tribunal)
  • 88% of searches for local businesses on a mobile device either call or visit the business within 24 hours. (Nectafy)
  • 92% of searchers will pick businesses on the first page of local search results. (SEO Expert)
  • By 2021, mobile devices will influence more than $1.4 trillion in local sales. (Forrester)

The importance of local SEO continues to grow as Google’s search results ranking methods become more intricate, and search users expect even more individualized results.

As a local business owner, you need to dominate local search results to win new customers. You, more than online or national businesses, must rely on local SEO to build an attractive online presence and expose your business to more and more potential customers.

What can you do right now to improve your local SEO?

Here is a quick-tip guide of local SEO activities you could do right now to help search engines find and rank your website when customers are looking online:

  • Add keywords and geographical (local) identifiers to meta, title, and image tags on your website, so search engines know you are a good match for local search queries.
  • Structure your webpages and URL’s to highlight your locations. (ex: Charlies.com/foreign-auto-mechanic-south-vegas is better than Charlies.com/home)
  • Claim, location optimize and consistently update your Google My Business account.
  • Build and maintain accurate and identical business listings and citations across the internet.
  • Have a plan in place to get more five-star reviews online. Start with claiming your business account on all major social media networks and review sites.

It’s past time you optimized your website for local searches, “near me” queries, and voice-activated shopping research. Most users now have location or GPS enabled on their mobile devices. Now that most apps require this to be enabled, even users who previously had this turned off for privacy reasons now have location services active. Use local SEO to make sure future customers are finding your business at the top of search results.

Conversion Rate Optimization for Local Businesses

Conversion Rate Optimization for Local Businesses

Your website is getting traffic, but growing your business is more than getting eyes on your product. Higher conversion rates generate more sales for the same amount of traffic you are currently receiving, so now is the time to employ some conversion rate optimization tactics to grow your local business.

What Is Your Conversion Rate?

Your conversion rate is the percentage of website visitors who take action on an offer you present to them. Your physical location, industry, product, and target audience all factor into your ability to convert visitors into direct sales or leads. And there are varying degrees of difficulty in turning those leads into customers.

Conversion simply means you convinced someone to take an action you wanted them to take. Maybe you want website visitors to sign up for a newsletter, call for a demo, book an appointment, or answer a survey – all of these actions are measurable conversions that can lead to business growth.

Conversion Rate Optimization for Local Businesses

Conversion rate optimization (CRO) is your strategy for creating an experience on your website that transforms visitors into customers. Conversions have different ways of being measured and how you prioritize your CRO tactics will depend on what you’re trying to achieve with your website.

Use resources like surveys and heat maps to find out what your websites visitors want to see and where they are engaging with your webpages. Google Analytics will show you what pages bring in your traffic and where they are dropping off your website.

Conversion rate optimization is focused on getting website visitors to take action so to understand what will work for your business, step into the shoes of your ideal customer:

Where do they live?

What local terms are they going to use to find what they want in their area?

Can they easily navigate your website?

Can they easily contact your business?

Are your Calls-to-Action promising something they want?

To determine the best conversion rate optimization tactics for your business, you need to first establish your baseline and then set a goal: Current Conversion Rate vs. Conversion Rate You Want to Achieve. With your data in hand and a goal in mind, you can create an optimization plan to start with.

4 Local Conversion Optimization Tips

Local businesses have smaller budgets, less staff dedicated to marketing, and fewer resources all around. But when you know how to optimize your website for SEO to get customers on your website and use CRO to convert that traffic into customers you can beat out local competition easily.

Get more traffic to your site and convert more visitors when you implement these local conversion optimization tips:

1. Create an In-Depth FAQ Page

Create in-depth FAQs pages – or just answer questions on your site Q&A-style. Not only will this help you convert more traffic, but it’s also more likely to get the right people to your site – the ones who know exactly what they’re looking for.

2. Make Your Site More User-Friendly

To get users to dig into your website and stay longer, include plenty of internal links to relevant services and products pages. Also provide an OBVIOUS way to contact someone immediately for more information when they are online, interested, and ready to buy.

3. Include Written Driving Directions

Providing old-school driving directions from major landmarks, highways, and points of interest creates LOCAL content that Google loves and reflect the language people use when searching for specific services in certain areas. Directions also let people on your website know exactly where you are when they are ready to make a purchase or an appointment.

4. Get More and More Reviews On and Off Your Website

Continuously gather customer reviews on a variety of sites and display the best ones on your website. This increases conversion in two ways: 1. People will arrive at your website near conversion because of reviews they have read. 2. People are less likely to leave your website to go look up reviews.

REMEMBER… none of these strategies will increase your local conversion rate if you don’t make it very clear what you want your visitors to do on every page, so have at least one clear call to action for every page.

Increasing Your Local Conversion Rate

Local conversion rate optimization is something you can start now. Test different tactics, measure results against your baseline, find what works for your business, and invest resources into high return activities that increase your conversion rate.

While SEO optimizes your website for search engines ranking, CRO is what turns those website visitors into real customers.

How to Increase Website Conversion Rates

How to Increase Website Conversion Rates

A conversion happens when you get people who visit your website to take any action designed to lead to an immediate or future sale. While it can be a long road from getting a person to give you a social media share or signing up for a newsletter to an actual purchase, even these types of conversions are getting future customers into your funnel.

Make a purchase, submit a form, click an offer, read an entire blog post, reach a landing page – these are the conversions you want to see from website visitors to grow your business. The percentage of visitors who take an action, or convert, is your conversion rate.

What Kind of Conversions Do You Need?

Increasing website conversion rates is a high-ranking goal for any growth-focused marketing strategy. To raise your conversion rates, you first must determine what it is you want your website to achieve for your business. Which website conversions are important for your business are dependent on the purpose of your website?

If you sell products or services online, then the most important website conversion rates will center around purchases. But most local businesses use their website to grow awareness, generate leads, and convince website visitors that they are the best option to fulfill whatever need the consumer is searching for. If you fall into the latter category, website conversions that feed lead generation will be the most important.

Once you determine which conversions are the most important, you’ll need to know what your current conversion rate is for each action you want your website users to take. The easiest way to determine your website conversion rate is to use a tool like Google Analytics, where all the data sets you need are just a few clicks away.

Here is how conversion rates are determined: If you have 10,000 website visitors a month and 500 take one of the actions you want them to take then your conversion rate is 5% (because 500/10,000 is .05). A website conversion rate of 100% is impossible, but you should optimize your website for conversions so you can get this number as high as possible.

How to Increase Website Conversion Rates

1. Get Micro-Commitments

Micro-commitments are small steps you ask your visitors to take towards a conversion goal. They are so small that your website visitors don’t need to think too deeply about doing it because it doesn’t cost them anything.

You can build on these micro-commitments to create engagement, familiarize visitors with your brand, and move them through your conversion funnel.

2. Use Enticing & Bold Calls-To-Action

Calls-to-action tell your website visitors what to do next. Clearly communicate the benefits of taking action now and use power words to inspire conversion. Remember, it is important to deliver what you promised immediately.

3. Get Website Visitors on the Phone

Use call back solutions like phone lead engagement software on your website to convert traffic into leads and new customers. This new click-to-call technology lets you build on high-value engagements; creating a unique experience for prospects and customers.

4. Build Trust

Use social proof such as reviews and testimonials on your website to build trust. With trust, you are more likely to get the desired conversion.

5. Use Soft Conversions and Nurture Leads

Soft conversions are actions that indicate a demonstrable interest in your products or services. Every visitor to your website isn’t ready to buy right now. An overwhelming majority of your online traffic is seeking more information before making a final decision. Smaller conversions such as opt-ins for free information can still be valuable leads, though they may require more time and nurturing.

Investing Resources in Conversion Rate Optimization

Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO) to increase your website conversion rates needs to be part of your digital marketing plan. You don’t need to implement all of these CRO tactics to increase your conversions within days or weeks.

Start where it’s easiest for your business optimize today. It’s possible to see small wins almost immediately, so try one or two CRO tactics at a time, track effectiveness, discard what isn’t working and invest in the activities that make a difference.