Going Local: How Small Businesses Can Dominate Local Search Results

It's common for small businesses to feel like digital marketing is only for big brands with big budgets, but local competition is hotting up online. Today you'll be hard pressed to find a business which doesn't have a web presence of some description.

This means the marketplace is even busier than ever before and small local businesses must work harder to be as visible as possible on the web.

But if you don't have a full in house digital marketing team on hand or the resources to hire an agency, how can you grow and maintain your digital presence to ensure as many potential consumers in your local area find you? We've come up with a few easy-to-apply tips which will help you get found in local search before your nearby competitors.

  1. Nail your metadata
Metadata is the information which appears when your website shows up in a search result. Comprised of an emboldened title (between 50-60 characters) and a longer description (between 160-200 characters), this data can be added to your site using plugins like Yoast (although most good CMS systems will already have an option to add metadata).

Metadata matters for two key reasons: 1) It is the first thing many people will see when browsing for a product or service, if you want users to click your link instead of a competitor’s it needs to be clear, professional and persuasive. 2) It's a great spot to add keywords which will help ensure your website shows up in search. To get metadata right:

  • Eliminate any unnecessary words and don't overspill on character counts (this will create an ellipsis which looks unprofessional and cuts off your strong, persuasive statement).
  • Include the name of your city, county, town, village or predominant area of operation.
  • Include your business name in the title.
  • Focus on one keyword, don't over-stuff your metadata with terms. Place your focus keyword as early as possible in your title or description.
  • Stand out from the crowd with a snappy description featuring more unusual, fun language, incorporating numbers or asking a direct question.
  1. Set up your Google My Business listing
This is an absolutely crucial step for any local business which wants to be found online. Setting up your listing is free and relatively straightforward, involving a verification process, a few hoops to jump through and some information to fill out. This will make your business much more visible to local searchers, plus make your information more easily accessible. While you're setting up your Google My Business listing, you may also want to register with other main directories such as:
  1. Nurture reviews
Reviews are the lifeblood of online businesses. In a world where we're marketed to seemingly every 20 seconds, it's what our peers have to say about businesses which really counts. To start generating positive online reviews, consider offering vouchers or other incentives to customers who take the time to have their say about your business online.

Facebook and Google are key spots for reviews, so focus your attention on cultivating plenty of good feedback via these channels. If you want to get more serious, tools like Get Five Stars and Reputation Loop can help you go further, while handy tools like Hootsuite will alert you whenever your business is mentioned via social media, so you can keep close tabs on what's being said.

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Thursday, 14 December 2017
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