Local SEO Tips
Actionable advice on how to best position your business for a top of search ranking!
Tips You Oughta Know to Take You to the Top of Search
Are you trying to figure out how to get visibility online for your local business? If yes, explore this page for local SEO tips that well, you oughta know!! 😉
Building Your Brand's Visibility Online with GBP
Building visibility online as a small business starts with a few simple steps.
If you are a brick-and-mortar or service-area business, start with securing a Google Business profile.
Fill out your Google Business profile completely. This one step is so undervalued for visibility and engagement. Think of it as an information-rich business card. Share the products & services you offer, add Attributes, COVID updates, and photos, and add Q&A. Share as much information as you can because this will give your prospective customer and your profile more real estate on the SERP page. You can even publish a Google Business profile website. It acts as a business citation in addition to your business website.
Once you’ve completed the profile as best you can, use Google Posts like you would any other social channel and provide value to your potential customers regularly. This feature used to disappear after 7 days but sightings appear to suggest that old posts are re-appearing which is a big deal and means this provides you a real opportunity to increase engagement.
Know Your Competition
Your Primary Google Business profile category selection is a critical component of your visibility strategy on search. Using a tool like GMBspy is helpful to better understand your competition.
Sharing this information amongst the business will enable ALL to accelerate, pivot, or backburner initiatives. And, with the business metrics a focus with your team every 2 weeks, you will be sure to keep everyone focused on what’s most important…Driving Sales.
Local Pack Visibility
Local Pack visibility starts with a strong local search strategy.
To get the most bang for your buck, make sure you understand how to target the keywords that have local and “high” buyer intent so your hard work can help you become visible and be well-positioned to drive revenue.
Buyer Intent (low): types of tile
Buyer Intent (medium): tile ideas for bathroom
Buyer Intent (high): tile store near me
“Near me” searches have extremely high buyer intent. The searcher is very likely to be searching for a store to visit.
Building a strategy for visibility around search queries like this will be well worth the investment of your time and money on your path to grow your business.
Your Brand SERP (what a searcher will see if they Google your brand name in search) is described in the search world as today’s business card. For a local business, your goal should be to command the entire first page for your brand name.
You can accelerate the amount of real estate your small business commands on your Brand SERP with business citations.
Go after as many relevant citations as possible and then remember to keep the NAP (name, address, phone number) consistent. This can include social media channels and relevant industry online directories. For example, a designer might choose Houzz, Yelp, Instagram, BBB, Facebook.
A common small business challenge is a lack of brand differentiation.
In a competitive market at the local level, the business that goes above and beyond just marketing the product or service they sell …will WIN the contest of “being chosen”!
Developing your brand’s differentiation is the key to standing out. Tackling the challenge starts with understanding why a customer would be searching online for your product.
Drive Fast Growth Online
What can you do as a small business to drive faster growth?
Anna’s core strategies to drive faster growth require placing focus on brand differentiation, the customer experience, and community involvement.
A great example of this is the Coastal Trends of Brunswick County piece she created for a partnership client.
(1) It’s a brand play for the business
(2) Serves as an inspiration guide for the target customer thinking about a home renovation
(3) Creates local community engagement with Interior Designers that service the community
(4) Is something the business can become known for locally
Click to view the Coastal Trends of Brunswick County.
If you’d like to get help on creating a hero piece for your business, contact Anna today!
How Strong is Your Google Business profile?
The strength of your Google Business profile is dependent on how complete your profile is and how frequently you update it.
Think about your product or service business. What aspect of your business could you photograph regularly?
Build a content strategy around elements of your business that provide inspiration, answers, or both to your target customer.
Google Business Profile Posts
46% of Google Searches are for Local Businesses!
Let’s talk about your Google Business profile. Did You Set It and Forget It?
To be found online and chosen (BEATing your competition!), you need to manage your Google Business profile just like you would your social media. Weekly, if not daily.
Google Business profiles are what searchers will see and it’s how you’ll get found and chosen from a Google Search by your ideal customer.
If you just claimed your listing as a small business now is the time to go back to your Google Business profile and take advantage of the Google Posts feature.
Treat Google Posts just like your Social Media. It’s a big engagement factor and will allow space in search to show and tell your prospective customers why they should choose you.
Create a Google Business Offer
Not all Google Business profile features have been shown to increase your search rankings but all of the features will allow you to deliver a message to your target customer.
And, a targeted message can help you increase your chance of being “chosen”.
Use a Google Business profile offer to increase engagement with your customer.
Position your local business for the long term with a Local SEO-optimized website that includes a content marketing strategy that reaches your ideal customer with relevant information on how your business can solve their pain, problem, or need.
Claim Your NextDoor Business Page
Business citations are great for your search ranking when they are relevant to your business. NextDoor is where neighbors support local businesses.
Claim your business page today to increase your brand’s local footprint.
Planning for Zero Click Search
It is becoming easier and easier to get the information you need without visiting a brand’s website with Google consistently adding new SERP (search engine results page) features.
Planning for this zero-click search environment where the searcher receives everything they need on the SERP without having to click a link is a big priority for a local search strategy.
Take the first step and Google your brand and target keywords to evaluate how visible you are and whether your brand messaging is strong to attract your ideal customer.
Spotlight Your Differentiation
Ask yourself “How can I be different”? 🤔
Differentiation is such a key to a small business owner’s success. You have to stand out and be memorable to increase your chances of being chosen!
Take advantage of your Google Business profile and start using Google Business profile posts to highlight your differentiation. Treat the posts feature like a social platform to boost engagement.
The more consistency you can have in your brand voice and messaging across all channels the higher engagement you will see.
For most business owners chasing their tail, this will feel impossible. But, this is where building a strategy instead of just implementing tactics comes in handy.
When you have a strategy, it is SO MUCH EASIER to maintain consistency. You just follow the plan instead of attempting to make a new plan every day. 🤪
Optimize Your Website's Google Business Profile Landing Page for Search
Are you a local business?
If so, your landing page (the link the Website button on your Google Business profile takes a user to) needs to be optimized for local.
One of the most helpful first steps you can take to be found for is to do the following with your page title. Include your business name, city & state along with a keyword that is your primary focus!
New and Without a Portfolio?
If you are a new service business without a portfolio or track record for success, here’s a tip.
One of the easiest ways to build your business is to launch a marketing campaign that visually highlights the expertise you have for your ideal customer.
Think about ways to capture your expertise. Document your skills for prospective customers to see.
Here’s what I mean. Brunswick Cabinets and Countertops offers kitchen design and installation services for cabinets and countertops to residential homeowners.
When they first opened their doors back in 2019, they didn’t have customer photos for renovated kitchens to promote but they were designers and could select cabinet and countertop pairings to demonstrate their expertise.
This was an easy way to highlight the design expertise they were capable of and something that could be promoted both online and in the showroom to help customers get inspired.
Don’t wait for the perfect portfolio…find a way to show off your skills and expertise today!!
A Common Marketing Mistake
Many small business owners are spending both time and money in the wrong areas.
Owners are bombarded with invitations to advertise. They are also easily influenced to be in as many places as possible.
Top of Search, however, would encourage any local business to only play where they can be visible consistently and where their brand is “playing” better than most.
Before you dive into a new opportunity, ask yourself the following:
1 – Can I measure the success of this effort?
2 – Does this opportunity provide my business with more than one chance at success? Or will this opportunity exhaust my yearly budget quickly?
3 – Is my ideal customer likely to be searching for my product or service here?
4 – Can I show up big here and really stand out? Equally important, if I pursue this opportunity can I do it consistently?
Businesses must evaluate the pros and cons of each opportunity that lands on their table. Understanding the risk of failure and its potential impact on the business’s marketing and advertising budget is critical.
3 Steps to Position Your Brand for Next Year's Tourist Season
Positioning your Brand for Search Visibility takes preparation.
With good prep, you can transform your business’ potential for revenue during our Tourist Season.
Tourists rely on finding information about the area by going online.
Make sure Next Year’s Marketing Strategy takes your ideal customer’s pain points into consideration and follow these 3 easy steps.
Step 1 – Identify the Search Query
Identify the search query a customer is most likely to use to find you.
Step 2 – Build Your Home Page Strategy
Build a strategy around your query chosen in Step 1 and position the content on the Home Page to address it.
Step 3 – Amplify Your Strategy on your Google Business profile
Amplify your strategy on your Google Business profile by consistently posting on your Google Business profile posts feed the messaging you’ve created for your search query.
What Affects Local Pack Rankings?
The real deal is a lot of things. But alas, that’s not what you want to hear!
The short answer is the actual searcher affects rankings.
Their actual location from where they are searching from.
Their past search history.
Just about everything that Google knows about them 😳 can help determine how Google ranks local businesses.
But, from a marketing perspective, that’s not something you can control.
The business ranking factors for Google are:
1 – Prominence in the Local Community for the Product/Service the Searcher is Looking for
2 – Proximity to the Searcher
3 – Relevancy to the Search Query
So, what should you spend your time focusing on?
In almost all cases, I recommend focusing on relevancy to kick off a local search marketing strategy.
You have to make sure Google knows you are relevant to the high-value search queries you want to be ranking for!
What's A Search Intent-Driven Website?
You’ve probably heard of an SEO-optimized website but have you heard of a Search Intent-Driven website?
The architecture of your site needs to have the power to drive your ideal customer to you.
The intent behind a searcher’s search query is how you should be thinking about your website.
If you’re a local business and want to drive visibility to your brand online, you’ll want to optimize your website for matching search intent.
If you’re just getting started, I highly recommend getting a tool like LucidChart and mapping it out starting broad for core pages and then narrowing on the interior pages.
This is one of the first steps in my process when I’m working to improve a client’s website in order to address the local search ranking factor, Relevancy to improve their visibility.
Get More Local Visibility
Get more local visibility … by letting Google know where your small business is located.
Add “Wilmington NC” to your website’s home page title tag!
Your title tag is a ranking factor and an often-overlooked, rarely-optimized element. If you are attempting to gain local visibility this is a must and you can also include your top keywords, especially if they are not a part of your business name.
…you’re welcome. 😁
Quality Content is A Ranking Factor
One of my favorite tactics is to create content plans for clients to become known locally. If you create helpful content that could aid in a prospect’s decision on where to buy the product or service they are looking for, you are much more likely to catch your target’s eye!
And, I mean really helpful content.
✅ The type of content that will save your prospect time.
✅ The type of content that answers the fears/concerns they might have about buying the product or service you offer.
✅ The type of content that only the experience of an expert could produce.
✅ The type of content that educates and demonstrates you’ve got what it takes.
✅ The type of information that feels like it should cost.
Oh and guess what?? Quality content is a ranking factor for search. The better you do it, the higher (all things apples to apples) you will be.
What type of content could you create?
How Much Are You Investing in Marketing?
Are you investing 4% of gross revenue? 10% of gross revenue? Zero into marketing? I’ve seen all 3.
As a small business owner, it can be difficult to determine how much you should budget for Marketing each year. Here are a couple of tips to think about prior to coming to your ideal budget.
❓What are your revenue goals for the year?
❓What sales initiatives do you have planned this year?
❓What does your ideal customer typically do to find a business like yours?
❓How did your current customers hear about you?
❓What success metrics do you have for marketing? Said another way, what are you looking for Marketing to accomplish?
❓How much time do you or a team member have to invest in marketing?
Starting with these questions will not only help you define your Marketing budget but will also help you make the best decision on whether an in-house Marketer, an agency or a consultant makes the most sense for you.
The actual range of investment statistically varies widely. And, a good budget is directly tied to business goals and marketing success metrics so that you can consistently evaluate whether the output is worth the investment.
I personally strive to see my clients investing in the range of 4% – 7% of gross revenue for local search success. The ideal client for this type of marketing is a business owner that wants to attract a local customer in their geographic area online.
Interested in personalized tips for your business?
Oh, Top of Search can do that for sure! Helping business owners avoid unnecessary setbacks towards growth is something Anna loves to do! If you are looking for marketing assistance, request a consultation. Email Top of Search at Hello@TopofSearch.com or complete the form. During your consultation, Anna will provide you with a tip or two just for your business’ industry!