Is Local SEO Game Changer for Small Businesses

Regardless of whether you have your own business or you work as an agency with other businesses, local SEO is the way forward. It’s a definitive measure that gives you an edge over your local competitors.

It has become more important to focus on factors other than just your website. The Pigeon Algorithm update from Google is a good indication how keen Google has been for better local search results. Hence, a good part of your marketing investment has to be invested on review sites, maps, and directories etc.

How Pigeon Algorithm Helps

When you build our website, it’s not guaranteed to appear at the top of the search page every time as the competition is very tough. With Google’s Pigeon Algorithm, you will now find maps and directory listings ahead of the business websites.

Not many web surfers scroll down to the end. According to a research, nearly 52% of searchers do not go to the second search page. Out of this 52 %, only one-third of searchers goes beyond the third search result.

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Source

So if you’re not focusing on these little but important local SEO factors, you are missing out on marketing opportunities.

What Local SEO Options to Go For?

Now that we have recognized the importance of local SEO, there are hundreds of local SEO options you can choose from. To give you an overview as to how you should go about it, we have compiled this guide for you. This guide will make sure that you are present at the top of the search engine listings.

Google My Business Account is Essential

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To ensure that you exist on local search results other than your website, you will first have to setup your business identity. There’s no better source than Google’s very own My Business Account. Google My Business is free and it allows you to appear on Google Maps. You can create your own listings with complete contact details.

Moreover, you can edit your listings for accuracy and to add more information. Add photos to your profile telling your customers what’s unique about your business. Once your business appears on Google Maps, your presence is almost guaranteed in the top search results for that particular locality.

Appearing on Review Websites

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There are hundreds of business listing websites on the internet. Make sure you claim your business on these sites. Now it may confuse you which websites to go for. As a guide, the first search for the top business listing sites in your region and claim your business account on the top search result sites.

For example, Yelp is a popular listing site all over the US. As soon as you have claimed your business on the site, you can start with your profile update. You can add maps, contact information, business details, photos and much more.

What you should know is that Yelp is a consumer review site. Your customers will be talking about your services here so it’s important that you keep your information and services updated all the time. User generated content is also good for your business. If the business is reviewed with positive ratings more time than other businesses. Google prefer it to list ahead of others.

Look for More Reviews

It’s little bit difficult but quite effective. Getting customers to review your services can be done through many ways but the unsolicited ones are always the best. Many review sites do not entertain solicited reviews to maintain transparency.

Since Google looks to provide the most comprehensive info to the searchers, it also includes customer reviews regardless of the fact they are solicited or unsolicited.

Take a look at some interesting stats about online reviews.

  • More than 60% of customers read customer reviews before buying a product.
  • If you have more than 50 reviews for a particular product, it can up your conversion rate by as much as 4.6%.
  • Customer reviews are trusted more than 10 times than the product descriptions provided by the manufacturers.
  • If there are no negative reviews on your site, 30% of viewers will doubt your reviews as fabricated responses.

Business Verification

While you set up your accounts on the business listing sites, it’s also important that you verify your businesses there. For example, there can be other businesses with the same name as yours. Therefore, you will have to look into the details closely while claiming your business. Here is a little guide how you should go about it.

Look for Duplicates

Companies get duplicate pages over the years for unknown reasons. To make sure this doesn’t happen to you, go to Google Plus and search your business name. The search results will let you know if there are any other businesses existing in the region. Note down your website URL and don’t forget to inform Google about the duplicate ones.

Email Verification

To further maintain legitimacy, you should attach your Business Profile with your website domain email address. There are hundreds of reasons why this is essential but primarily, it just authenticates your business profile. Ensure that this very email address is present in the contact details for your business.

Google Analytics and Web Master Tools

To keep a proper check on your website listings, penalties and crawl errors, Webmaster tools from Google comes in handy. Also, Google Analytics give you an in-depth analysis of your website performance. You are able to identify the weaknesses and strengths of your website to a great extent.

Be Specific with Business Categories

While setting up your business profile, it is instrumental to address to your business category. Be precise about which type of business you fall under. When you categorize your business, it becomes a lot easier to address potential customers. It also helps you separate from other businesses having similar names but different areas of operation.

Identity Photos

Another crucial aspect of business verification on listing sites is your business photos. It is always a great idea to secure your business through some identity photos. You normally require three photos i.e. your logo, profile photo and cover photo for your profile page. These photos normally do not change much and are a useful identification source.

By the end of verification, always check whether your website is complete or if there’s anything you might have missed out.