A recent consumer study found that nearly 90% of people use the internet when looking for local businesses. It's extremely important for business owners to make sure that people can find them when they look online. A strong web presence can be the best form of advertising.
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Of course, simply making a website won't be enough. Business owners will also need to make sure their sites are search engine optimized. These SEO tips will ensure that potential customers will find your business first.
Give Search Engines the Information They Need
When it comes to local SEO, your first step should always be to make sure that search engines know where your business is located. Include the location of your business on every page of your site, as well as a phone number with a local area code. It's also a smart idea to include a map.
Create Location Specific Pages
When creating your site, your goal shouldn't be to compete with other businesses across the world -- it should be to compete with businesses in your area. If your bookstore is located in Rochester, MN, you'll want to make sure that people located in Rochester are the ones that will find you first.
You'll want to make sure that every page of your website contains both keywords pertaining to your business and location. In the case of the bookstore in Rochester, you could use the title "buy books in Rochester, MN" or "independent bookstore in Rochester." Phrases like this will help ensure that your site gets found.
Seek Out Local Social Groups
Social media is always a powerful SEO tool, but it can be particularly potent when applied to local internet advertising. When used wisely, it can boost conversion rates and dramatically increase your overall audience.
When it comes to local SEO, the key is to find groups targeted at niches in your area. If you own a coffee shop, seek out a Facebook group for coffee drinkers in your city. If you sell craft supplies, find a Twitter list of local crafters. Join the communities you find and promote your business to their users.
Seek Out Reviews
When a consumer searches for a local business, one of the first things they'll look at is reviews. A few positive reviews can be enough to convince someone to give your business a chance.
Make sure that your business is listed on local directories, and encourage satisfied customers to review your business there. Monitor your online presence, and take the time to respond to any complaints. By putting in a small amount of effort, you'll show consumers that your business is worth trusting.