Consumers now spend a considerable amount of time online, making businesses shift their marketing strategies from the traditional model to an online and digitally-powered one. In an effort to keep their revenues going and to be where the customers are, gaining site traffic from online users is a goal that most companies aim for these days.
For brick and mortar stores and service-oriented businesses in the local setting, establishing an online presence is an effective business tool. However, ranking high in search engine results pages through search engine optimization (SEO), specifically through local SEO techniques, can be overwhelming if you do not know where to start.
If you are among the business owners in need of a reference on what local SEO strategies to use, here are a few effective ones to take note of:
• Start with your site. Your aim as a local business is to attract customers online so that they can find you offline. To do this, you need to show the search engines and its users that your website is a place worth visiting. But don’t make the mistake of building just any website. You need one that is built to be engaging and appealing to its online visitors.
Optimizing your website’s mobile layout and loading time is a good place to start. Weed out any malicious content or unreliable links that are attached to your domain and create a homepage that is pleasing to the visitor’s eye. Make sure your site is secure, user-friendly, and with a clean layout, to ensure higher internet traffic. If possible, have a separate blog where you can create content relevant to your business’ niche. Do not forget to fill your website with important business-related information, also known as your NAP (name, address, phone number), so users can follow through with a visit to your business’ physical location.
• Get listed. Once you have built an authoritative and attractive site, get users to notice you by taking advantage of listings online. For example, Google, one of the world’s largest search engines, has created Google My Business listing. Here, you can register and provide relevant business information (i.e. your NAP), alongside a Google Maps pin to your location. This can help you rank in local searches, such as those with “location + near me” keywords, as Google pulls out information from the Google My Business listing you have created.
• Build and maintain your reputation. There are many ways to do this. One, you can post testimonials and ratings on your website. This shows online visitors that you respond to both positive and negative reviews, and it establishes your relationship with customers. Second, you can produce high quality and useful content, so you can earn quality backlinks from reputable sites. Articles with relevant and non-spammy content is a great means to attract both online consumers and other sites in search of useful backlinks. In turn, search engine bots interpret these backlinks, online traffic, and quality content as indicators that you deserve a higher spot in the ranks of search engine results pages.
Author Bio: Rana Tarakji is an entrepreneur and a contributing writer at One SEO, a digital marketing company in Lebanon, Beirut. Rana is passionate about digital marketing, startups, helping entrepreneurs grow, and empowering them to live their dreams. She has worked as a marketer, a technology co-founder and business developer, and a writer.