How Smaller Businesses Can Stand Out Through Local SEO Services
Google a local SEO service and you’ll get thousands upon thousands of results. And that’s not surprising: overall, local SEO services can be invaluable to the many businesses out there that are struggling to stand out, not only within their own communities but also from their competitors nationally. There are a host of tricks and tools small, local businesses can use to get their names on the map – literally and metaphorically. So how can local SEO benefit you and what do you need to know? Here, we cover three of the most important questions.
I Have Limited Resources. Can’t I Rely On Social Media To Get My Messages Across?
Local SEO services in the UK and beyond can have an incredible impact on a small business’s profile, and therefore on its profitability. There is indeed a strong temptation these days for small businesses to concentrate their limited resources primarily on engaging with existing and prospective customers through social media.
There’s no denying the popularity of Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and so on; and if you use them well, you’re sure to reap the benefits. But if you really want to stand out from your competitors, you shouldn’t rely exclusively on social media. You also need a well-optimised website.
Some small businesses think the two are interchangeable and so choose not to have a website at all. Others may try to avoid the expense of hiring a web designer and use one of the many free templates available to create a token online presence. If you do this, though, you are making a mistake. Spending time, money and effort on a quality website, which is search engine optimised by experienced local SEO consultant services, will pay dividends in the future.
It’s a fact that most consumers still prefer to use company websites when they’re looking for a local business. They don’t search Facebook if they need a local restaurant, plumber or toy shop, for instance. They may well use social media once they’ve found a suitable company, to check its reputation on Facebook or even to register a complaint or praise its services after they’ve used it. But the very first step is usually making a search for a website on a search engine like Google. And you won’t be appearing in any results lists unless you have a website, because the top ten factors Google uses to determine the rankings of search results are related to websites, not Facebook profiles.
Even if prospective customers find your company through an online business directory, such as Yelp, YellowPages.com or Google My Business, the first thing they expect is to be able to click through to an informative, engaging website to find out whether you are offering what they are looking for.
Besides, social media doesn’t really give you the opportunity to demonstrate your worth and the full range of your products and services like a website does. Taking Facebook as an example, there’s a limit to what you can do to present your business effectively to the public. You’re restricted to a standard format, which is pretty much the same for you, your competitors, and every other business out there. Your website, on the other hand, is your showcase, your shop window. If all your attention is focused on your Facebook profile, you’re missing out on a chance to establish your firm as a credible, well-established presence in the marketplace. So you definitely need a website.
But don’t just throw together a few badly written pages and post a couple of photos. You need a well-presented website that is fully optimised for local SEO. This allows prospective buyers to see that your company offers quality products or services, and is established, trustworthy and dependable.
To be seen, you need local SEO assistance from an agency that will help demonstrate and build the authority of your business on the internet. An optimised website with relevant, quality content and meaningful, trustworthy links to reputable third-party sites, is critical to your success as a business.
So, don’t make the mistake of thinking social media is king. Yes, it’s important, but not at the expense of a website employing the latest local SEO solutions. Getting the balance right and allocating your resources appropriately between the two will pay dividends. And a website that’s fully optimised for local SEO may not cost as much as you think.
What Are The Main Benefits Of Local SEO, Then?
These days, local SEO has gained popularity and became a crucial aspect in achieving exceptional results in terms of businesses’ online marketing goals. Making use of a local SEO service will allow your prospective customers to find you when they’re looking for goods or services in their neighbourhood. Local SEO helps searchers identify the exact location of any business and gives credibility to Internet searches.
In more detail, the benefits include:
1. Greater customer engagement
Today, the clear majority of us are completely dependent on search engines when seeking out information on local businesses. Whether you’re looking for a local Italian restaurant, a garage that sells and fits new tyres, or a locksmith to help when you’re locked out of your home at midnight, it’s almost certain you’ll search online for a business in your locality first.
So if your business caters to customers your local area, and most of your custom is derived from people living, visiting or working in the immediate vicinity, then it’s absolutely critical to incorporate local SEO into your online marketing approach. That way, your prospective customers can easily locate you and who knows, they might turn into loyal, long-term supporters of your business.
2. Better local engagement
Local SEO services UK wide can guide you towards marketing that’s more focused towards your ideal customer. And with that focused marketing strategy, you can encourage better feedback from customers who have used your business (it’s here that social media can also prove useful). By welcoming customer reviews and replying promptly to their queries, you can improve your services, build better relationships and enhance your overall reputation in your local area.
The insight you gain from your customers can show you how to offer a more personal approach than your competitors and can help you formulate plans to grow your business. Knowing what their needs and interests are, you’ll be able to extend your stock, run better targeted seasonal promotions and sales and overall, understand and fulfil their expectations, thereby generating lasting relationships and greater profits.
3. Reaching customers who use mobile devices
According to Google and many other commentators out there, mobile search queries now make up the bulk of internet searches, by far surpassing desktop queries. What this means is that more of your prospective customers are now searching for the products or services you offer ‘on the go’, and a large percentage of local searches lead those mobile users to visit physical shops, cafes, restaurants, solicitors’ offices and so on. So if you focus on optimising your local SEO offers to target mobile users, you’ll see increased footfall and be able to connect more to your customers.
One of the first key recommendations of a good local SEO service provider will typically be to create local listings on sites like Bing Places, Yahoo! Local, Internet Yellow Pages, and Google My Business. Another critical recommendation is only to use one format for your NAP (Name, Address, and Phone Number) across all your directory entries and web pages, so Google associates the various references with your business and your customers are not confused.
Are Blogs Still Relevant In Today’s World Of SEO?
All successful businesses understand the importance of SEO, but many still underestimate the importance of having a blog and the role it plays in improving search engine rankings. Too often, blogging is still seen as a luxury that can be ignored when budgets are tight. However, this is very far from the truth. Local SEO services for businesses should continue to offer blogs as an integral part of their SEO approach.
Regardless of whether the key purpose of your website is self-service, lead generation or e-commerce, you are constrained by the keywords you use to improve your rankings in the search engine results. This is primarily because you need to ensure your pages are relevant. Having relevant keywords helps to ensure in turn that your content is also relevant, and that you are offering your visitors high-quality content that positions you as a source of expertise in your sector.
A blog created with support from local search SEO services allows you to expand on the depth and breadth of your content. When you do this, you can outrank your competition and dominate the search engine results pages (SERPs). A blog also provides additional touch points for visitors to discover your brand. Moreover, creating new and broader content allows you to expand your keyword set, and all without losing relevancy.
Work with an expert SEO agency and you can expand your keyword set; find and use appropriate and effective long-tail keywords; and make the most of local search terms. The right SEO company can do this without losing sight of the need for high quality content that offers value to your visitor and sets you up as an expert in your field, so that you still meet the requirements of the latest Google algorithms.
Of course, your local SEO services company will only be providing value for money if your increased click-through rate converts into higher sales. If you are still losing customers through the conversion funnel, then something is missing from your approach.
When a visitor enters the funnel, they often don’t realise they have started their buying journey. They may have only come to research a service or a product, to compare what different brands offer. Some may be looking to have questions answered or problems solved. Where the sales funnel works effectively is when the move from searching to buying is seamless. Again, this is where a professionally written blog can help.
If your blog offers answers, solutions, product comparisons and expert opinion, your visitor is more likely to convert their interaction into a sale. You become a trusted source of information, and so your visitor no longer feels the need to shop around on your competitors’ sites.
However, to achieve these kinds of results, your website and your blog must offer the right information at the right time. This means that your SEO agency must understand your visitors and where your sales funnel is most vulnerable to losing potential customers. By identifying these key areas, you and your SEO company can create content that recognises the customer’s concerns at that point and offers guidance and reassurance that they are on the right path.
Your blog is only going to help you achieve better ranking, though, if people can find it and be attracted to reading it. For this reason among others, it is crucial that you choose local SEO optimisation services that understand how to market your blog, including through social media, and the all-important social media snippet.
Contact Us Today For Bespoke Local SEO Packages
If you’re looking for expert help in enhancing the profile of your business locally, and therefore increasing your visibility, your sales and your profitability, take a look at our local SEO services for businesses. With our wealth of experience in assisting companies of all sizes and types, we can tailor a package of services to your requirements, ensuring that you maximise your marketing budget and get measurable results.