Category Archives: business marketing local customers

customers on smart phone and laptop looking for local businesses

7 Local SEO Myths to IGNORE

Local SEO can get a business more customers and sales. Local SEO myths don’t.

These online marketing statements sound black-and-white, but reality is not always that simple. As business owners try to sift through information about local search engine optimization (SEO), it’s easy to get caught up in the truths and untruths. In this blog post, we’ll discuss the latter; those outrageous local SEO myths that stand between businesses and results.

Let’s start with the worst local SEO myth.

SEO is junk.

This is an online marketing myth that has been around for a long time (and honestly needs to go away). It has its roots when black-hat search engine optimization tactics stopped working and results were not immediately obvious.

Recent search engine optimization statistics prove the opposite to be true. SEO is here to stay, and local SEO is a proven way for local businesses to be found online. These online marketing tactics utilize the latest online trends to build trust online. In local SEO, the goal of these tactics is to get a business found in online searches for local businesses and solutions.

All a company needs to attract Google’s attention is an optimized website.

A website built and created for readers and search engines is only one part of a strong optimized online presence—but only a part. In addition to a website, businesses should also utilize marketing tactics that meet their goals. A local business should also complete a Google My Business listing, maintain a strong social media presence, request and monitor reviews, and employ other online marketing tactics (use this full checklist of local SEO tactics) that target customers and search engines. (Find out more about how reviews play a HUGE part in getting a company found online.)

Adding keywords and cities throughout a website makes it rank better in local searches.

To be clear, the term “optimized” does not imply that a website should be loaded with keywords, local cities, and the business address. To the contrary, a website stuffed with keywords is actually a black-hat on-site SEO tactic that earn a Google penalty. In addition, loading every page with cities and location information can deter potential customers and make a business look like amateurs. Instead, businesses should build an optimized website utilizing the latest online trends and SEO tactics (or contact SEO professionals that can).

Google My Business listings are optional.

This local SEO myth is partially true. Google My Business (GMB) listings are completely optional. Business may even still get high rankings without a GMB listing. The key word is “may.” However, for a business serious about attracting local customers, verifying and completing a GMB listing is an essential part of a strong local SEO presence. A completed GMB listing guarantees that accurate information is used in search engine listings; to be clear, however, not all the information included may show up in listings, though customers have access to the filled-out information.

A bigger service area on Google My Business yields bigger results.

Many businesses are under the impression that if they designate a large service area in Google My Business, they get ranked in all the cities within the service area. The truth is that potential customers can see the service area and see how far a business travels, but the information does not guarantee high rankings in search results in all the cities within the service area.

Content is only for big businesses.

The one tactic that has continually proven to be an important part of a strong SEO presence is high-quality content (even through all the Google algorithm updates)—and it’s not just a tactic for large businesses. High-quality, optimized content produced on a regular basis is well within small businesses’ reach and their budget. Content marketing also comes with other benefits because content can be used for other promotional purposes. To get high-quality website content, businesses should designate the task to a marketing employee or outsource the effort to professionals with a proven track record.

There is nothing companies can do about reviews.

Negative and positive reviews are not—entirely—a random occurrence, though positive reviews on review sites are an important part of local SEO.  Though businesses cannot control when customers post, asking for and responding to reviews is an effort that can managed on a daily basis.

Because positive reviews are an important part of building trust online, businesses should evaluate their daily interactions with customers for chances to ask satisfied customers for reviews. This can be done by sales personnel at a follow-up meeting or during the checkout process. When reviews are posted, businesses should monitor social media sites and review sites to ensure that all reviews receive a response and customers are satisfied with their service.

6 Effective Ways to Make Your Local Business Stand Out

sale sign in business window trying to attract local customers with marketingToday’s customers have a lot of places they can spend their money. Online websites, local stores, big box stores…there an overwhelming number of places for consumers to spend their money.

Why should they choose your business?

The question itself is incredibly common among business owners. The answer is different for every business; however, if analyzed and used correctly, can yield incredible marketing and sales results.

Connect online.

Every business should strive to start a conversation with customers. Create and maintain a complete online presence with an optimized website, blog, and social media sites. Establish a stellar website with content optimized for search engines and created for the target audience (both written and images).

Produce premium content with the same audience in mind and choose the social media sites that are frequented by those users (use this social media demographic chart as a reference). Regularly update the social media sites with relevant content (i.e. videos, images, written content) that the target audience wants to see—and wants to engage with. In essence, use an online presence to create a connection that converts visitors to customers.

Choose a unique tone.

Snarky, smart, fun, professional, silly. Every business should have a tone that sets them apart and makes them unique. Decide on the tone and use it in every marketing effort (i.e. social media, printed materials, e-mails). A distinctive tone paired with properly branded materials makes a business easily identifiable—even among the industry crowd.

Invest in effective local marketing tactics

Be selective about choosing marketing efforts. The most effective tactics are delivered in ways that the target audience communicates, such as sending printed materials to a more experienced demographic. For a local business, tactics with the highest return-on-investment target a local audience, such as local website optimization and content produced with a local focus. Local website optimization is technology that targets customers around a business location and delivers top organic search results during local searches.

Highlight your local community involvement

As a local business, extra care should be taken to not only identify a target gender and demographic, but also a local audience. This is a distinct difference from a national online retailer’s marketing efforts. Make a concerted effort when marketing to showcase community involvement. Share information about local community events, event sponsorships, and relevant local information.

Answer their questions

Customer conversation should be a two-way discussion. Respond to their comments. Deliver exemplary customer service that goes above and beyond their expectations. Answer inquiries promptly, or let the customer know when to expect a response. When replying, ditch the canned responses; engage with responses that sound human and resolve the customer’s issue.

Showcase your “hook”

Every business has a “hook” that makes it different. Showcase it. Fast customer service, unique products or services, a high level of expertise…determine why customers should spend their hard-earned dollars and communicate with them accordingly. Be open and honest. It’s refreshing—and incredibly effective.