UPDATED: JUNE 7, 2019
3 Ways Local SEO Gets You New Customers
By verifying & optimizing your businesses’ local search engine profiles or Places pages.
By expanding their digital footprint & boosting ranking signals of those search engine environments through claiming their business profiles in the most popular local search portals, internet yellow pages sites, and specialty portals.
By using some type of review generation system – however generous, overt, well-timed, annoying, distasteful, or laser-targeted, you choose to make it.
Now for the background and supporting info on HOW to get there…
What Is Local SEO?
It’s all about magnifying your business location and communicating consistent, accurate business details info.
When people in North County San Diego search for whatever it is you sell or service you provide, you want to be there – on that piece of search engine real estate – with an accurate, professional, and somewhat alluring presence.
From verifying or optimizing local search engine listings to fixing incorrect business info in one of the big data aggregators to replying to online reviews, local SEO citation building for businesses is more the task-oriented undertaking that will require some organization, but its certainly within the realm of the more tech-savvy digital marketing inclined DIY small business owners out there.
Local Search Engine Listings: Google My Business, Bing Places, Yahoo Local
Depending on how many locations and other potential roadblocks we won’t get into here…search for, claim, and correct your business listings in these primary local search engine environments.
Find your listing (or add one if you’re new), login to each one (Google, Bing, & Yahoo) to confirm the listing and make sure the information being transmitted is correct – primarily your business name (some nuance allowable – but BE CONSISTENT EVERYWHERE), business address, and business phone.
Example of Nuance – nothing needed for location & phone details, it is what it is:
- Carlsbad Smile Design: John D Doe DDS – OK, sorta and who knows about the future or previously penalized past.
- Best Carlsbad Dentist: Cosmetic Dental Excellence Carlsbad – Call 976-GUMZ – NOT OK. Too much, incorrect, violates guidelines.
Did you know with large or group medical and dental practices, the practitioners can also have Google listings in addition to the primary practice organization?
Same goes for Attorneys. And Real Estate.
Read the Google My Business Guidelines to learn more. – https://support.google.com/places/answer/107528?hl=en&ref_topic=1656880
Now that you’ve gone thru the postcard or phone call process of verifying your Google My Business and Bing Places listings, AND properly categorizing the listing, AND confirming the correctness of info, AND optimizing each listing to 100% with appropriate imagery, special offers, or captivating call to action copy, AND double-checked your work…now it’s time to work on improving the ranking factors of each listing.
You can try Yahoo Local too but it’s pretty much a mismanaged quagmire at this point. Don’t even waste your time, and certainly don’t fall victim to the 3rd party pitch from Yext – unless maybe you’re a nationwide franchise with 100+ locations in my opinion.
Google, Bing, Yahoo, and an exponentially expanding internet of everything information grabbers take their local business data compiled from a few major aggregators – and there is relatively zero standard for how this information is collected or communicated between parties.
All local Carlsbad business owners can boost their ranking factors in those foundational search engine environs through leveraging their name, address, and phone data by disseminating it through various local search directories, IYP sites (internet yellow pages), and niche online portals.
Your strategy can be as simple as doing a search in the area for the products or services you sell and taking note of the websites that show up in the organic search engine results pages (SERPs).
Local search sites like Yelp or Angieslist, internet yellow pages sites like yp.com or Superpages or Insiderpages, and specialty portals such as OpenTable or GrubHub, are all sites to target with your citation building efforts.
Choose sites that are the most popular with users in your area, or that show up well on a variety of searches – or dig a little deeper and see where your competition is ranking, then follow in kind.
After that selection process, go through each listing for your business (or add new ones if needed) to make sure the information listed is accurate and up to date.
Most sites allow some type of search – either by phone number or business name – to see if your practice is already listed.
Most if not all local search sites, IYPs, and even the specialty portals offer FREE listings!
You just need to identify, claim, & maximize those listings to your advantage by creating a window into your business.
To do this, use keywords and locations, ensure proper categorizing, and build out each profile to 100% completeness.
Online Review Generation
Online reviews for some businesses can be difficult to come by IF there is no strategy in place to collect, publish, then amplify your digital word of mouth.
Online reviews are an important ranking signal in particular to your Google My Business listings, along with proper categorization, and relative business location relative to the city center of our fine Village By The Sea – as defined by Google.
So how do Carlsbad businesses collect and publish more online reviews?
It all starts with a plan.
Collecting reviews is easy, but the ultimate goal is to recruit new customers by offering testimonials from existing ones.
Sure positive reviews make you feel good and reinforce why you chose this location for your business in the first place, but without prospective customers in your local area actually seeing the reviews when they’re on the search for your products and services, they’re really only good for the ego.
You want your reviews on Google, and on your Bing Places page…and recommendations on Facebook are always good, along with TripAdvisor, Mojopages, Angieslist, Citysearch, Yelp, Kudzu, MerchantCircle, InsiderPages, Manta…you get the point.
Develop an organic, non-invasive, completely unannoying system of collecting reviews for your business – using an email account as the foundational element.
- Reviews that customers can publish directly to your website or blog.
- Reviews that your customers can leave on their social media or local search site of their choosing.
- Reviews that are properly marked up with schema.org microdata in order to show those eye-grabbing gold stars in the search engine results pages.
A quick and dirty synopsis of an organic review generation system could be something as simple as:
- Crafting a custom email message to your customers asking them to leave your business a review – with call to action buttons linking to your social media and local search listings.
- Allowing them to choose where & when they leave the review – present options (not just your software app), and follow-up with surveys, news, product tips…etc.
- Sending them an email message with these design elements in place so customers are only a click away from positively amplifying your digital word of mouth.
As a channel partner of Constant Contact, we use that industry-leading email marketing platform for our members who are looking to organically capture and publish more online reviews for their Carlsbad small business.
For less than $50 a month, those business owners use Constant Contact’s suite of email & social media marketing solutions to amplify their digital word of mouth – the right way!
A word of caution here for businesses using iPads or tablets in their location to try to collect reviews onsite – Google knows the IP address of where the review is coming from, and it’s against Yelp’s policy to ask for reviews.
So if Google notices a run of reviews coming from your business IP, those reviews could get flagged as spam – and never published.
And if Yelp catches wind of you soliciting reviews you could watch your listing ranking drop, or worse…but maybe the annoying phone calls from overzealous salespeople would drop as well.
We all know by now that a FREE business listing with Yelp is all you need, right?
Maybe another argument for another blog post.
So there we have it…
3 Ways Carlsbad Business Using Local SEO Can Get New Customers
- By Owning (& optimizing) Your Local Search Engine Presence (Google My Business, Bing Places, Yahoo…etc.)
- By Expanding Your Online Business Visibility (Yelp, Angieslist, TripAdvisor, OpenTable…etc.)
- By Amplifying You Digital Word of Mouth (Review Generation)
Still have questions?