10 Tips for a Thriving Local Business

If you are a small, local business, it’s easy to think that search engine rankings are beyond your reach. That’s no longer true, with the advent of local search techniques. So here’s what you need to know to make your local search campaign successful:

1) Don’t get hung up on traffic stats. Sure, it’s nice to know what people are visiting your site, but unless they purchase your product or service, it web traffic doesn’t matter. Make sure you have a way to track how new business finds you, including your website or social media presence.

2) Don’t get obsessed with being the first result, either. Statistics show that while many searchers do click on the first search result, the majority of searchers have click patterns that aren’t yet predictable. This means that getting on the first page of search results will make a meaningful difference in your business.

3) Don’t spam people. It’s easier than ever to report spammers to the search engine providers, and they are blacklisting spammers by the hundreds. Meanwhile, you still pay for the service that got you de-listed from Google. It’s a bad deal all the way around.

4) Start with your current site statistics. If you don’t know what to make of your site statistics, hire someone who does. They can interpret for you who are visiting your site, how they find it, and how long they stay.

5) List yourself with a Google My Business page. It’s the largest and most ubiquitous search engine out there. If you can only afford one thing, this should be it

6) Get positive reviews, ethically. Offer customers a small reward for taking a survey or writing comments about their experience with you, either online or in your shop. Make sure the form you use asks permission to use their comments and first name on your Google My Business page. Coupons for their next visit or purchase are a great idea for a good review.

7) Get those positive reviews online. Online surveys are easiest to post, but old-fashioned pen and paper works too. If the customer has given you permission to use their comments, transcribe them on your Google My Business review area word for word. This improves your search ranking and makes customers feel like a part of your team.

8) Use real photos. Don’t give in to the temptation of using generic photos on your Google My Business page -searches are tired of generic images. It’s the shots of you or your staff interacting with customers that get attention.

9) Use your meta title tags. Populate your meta title tags with terms that might increase click-throughs. For example, if you have a florist shop, consider using “delivery” and “FTD” in your meta title tags. Once you’ve populated the meta title tags, search for your business yourself and look at your business on the search result page to see how your meta title tags look.

10) Use your meta descriptions. I know, I know, Google may or may not use them. But what if Google does use it? You’ve missed many click-through opportunities that your competition hasn’t.