3 Reasons Local SEO Can Make Or Break Your Business

 

In case you aren't familiar with the concept of local SEO, it refers to search engine marketing that gets your business noticed by significant numbers of potential customers, who live right in the same area where you're doing business, i.e. within your service area. The whole point of local SEO is to have your website ranked very highly, preferably in the first three results returned by Google, so that searchers find your business easily.

The idea of local SEO came about several years ago when Google analysts determined that huge numbers of Internet searchers were adding the phrase 'near me' to their searches, because they desired to find businesses and services close by. This form of search engine marketing has now become so important, that if your business is not using it to advantage, it could literally be something which prevents you from becoming or remaining successful.

Even worse, your competitors probably are taking advantage of local SEO, so they are reaping all the benefits of high Internet visibility with local customers, while you are losing out. Below are described three of the primary reasons why your under-use or non-use of local SEO might be scuttling your business. Looking at the flip side of that coin, your strategic use of these three factors might be contributing to your business success in a very powerful way. 

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1. Unclaimed Google My Business & Bing Places for Business listings, or missing information

The forte of the major search engines is to provide results which match the search criteria entered by a user, looking for some product or service in particular. When a user is trying to find a local business, Google or Bing both know where the user resides because of the IP address of the device being used to connect to the Internet. The search engine will return every business in the area which apparently matches the user search criteria, and these results will include all those businesses which have been claimed on Google My Business or Bing Places, as well as those which have not.

There can be a huge difference in the results given to users, based on whether you as a business owner have claimed your business, or you have left it unclaimed. Claimed businesses are always much better represented in the results returned to a user, with all relevant information being provided, rather than the skeleton information which is likely when a business goes unclaimed.

By claiming your business in Google, you actually go through a process where you're filling out all appropriate information, such as street address, phone number, website, hours of operation, holiday times, etc. Providing this information to users helps them make a decision on whether or not to contact your company, or to visit in person. When users are given results from unclaimed businesses, there is almost always important information which is missing, and that can very well cause them to move on to the next potential solution, or match for their needs. 

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2. Website lacks local geography keywords

When you intend to especially target local customers for patronizing your business, you can help yourself immensely by including location-specific keywords in the content of your website. Using this approach, it's not really necessary to identify where Internet searchers are physically located, because the keywords which they are using will include some geographic information that you can match to on your website.

For instance, if a user enters a keyword phrase of 'Sacramento Golf Course', you can have the same keyword somewhere in content on your own website, and expect to match up well with that search. There are far more short-tail and long-tail keywords that you can embed in your website content to increase your chances of matching up geographically with user searches.

It's a good idea to include terms such as your local ZIP Code, the telephone area code, nearby landmarks in the area, popular tourist destinations, prominent street names, and anything else which distinctively describes the local area. By sprinkling some of these references throughout your website content, you can give yourself a much better chance of matching up with user searches, when users are interested in a specific geographic location.

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3. No reviews or poor reviews

An often overlooked aspect of local SEO and search engine marketing is the use of customer reviews and testimonials on your company website. Reviews of your website, and your products or services, can be absolutely critical in influencing public opinion, and the opinion of all those users who are searching for a product or service similar to those which you offer.

There are very few things which are considered by Internet users to be more reliable and trustworthy than the reviews posted by people who have already used a company's services or products. Since reviews are for the most part unsolicited, candid accounts of how any given consumer found a product or service to be, they have a built-in confidence factor, because they came from people just like the searchers themselves.

As a business owner, it's to your advantage to encourage people to write their positive reviews of your company, so that others can be influenced by their experiences, and patronize your business. If there are no reviews available for your company, the majority of Internet users will probably avoid doing business with you, simply because they have no references which recommend you.

An even worse situation would be if a number of users have posted negative reviews about your company, because this is very likely to cause most other users to steer clear. You can react to this by monitoring customer reviews regularly, and whenever a negative one is posted, you should quickly become involved, to find out why the customer had a negative experience. Then you can correct any issues which need to be addressed in your organization, and you can truthfully inform the reviewer that you have taken steps to correct the issue. The bottom line on reviews is that you do want positive customer reviews, and if you encounter any negative ones, you need to find out why, and fix things.

Local SEO from BridgeHouse Marketing

The use of local SEO and search engine marketing is extremely important to your business, and if your business is one which relies heavily on local patronage, it's no exaggeration to say that local SEO could make or break your business. There are even more things to consider about local SEO than those issues listed above, and if you lack that knowledge, or you aren't very tech-savvy, you are probably better off leaving it to the experts.

That's where BridgeHouse Marketing comes in. We have a very strong team of specialists who are expert at understanding the constantly changing landscape of search engine marketing, and we will leave no stone unturned in our efforts to make your business well-recognized locally. Contact us at your convenience, so we can discuss ways to implement local SEO practices that will keep your business at the top of the rankings, and will ensure success today and in the future.