If you have a local shop, you’ll need to invest local SEO in order to reach customers. Ensure you’re visible to people close to your store by creating a listing in local listings, engaging in social media and building a local search presence.
So what does our mean by local, exactly? We’re talking about businesses with a local shop—like a fashion shop, or a grocery shop. But we’re also talking about a service area business that goes out to meet with customers—like a sweeping service, or a plumber.
These types of local businesses usually sell products and services to people who live nearby… and people who might look up stores nearby. For example, your potential customer might live nearby, but he’s coming to your aria on holiday and looking for your products while he’s there.
These businesses usually rely on things like The Phone Book to connect with their potential customers who are looking for their products and services. If a person wanted to buy something, he might search up stores nearby, and then visit a few to see what was available.
But nowadays, people want everythings from their sofas via their mobiles and tablets, or browse the Internet on laptops to pass time standing in a queue.
If they’re searching for a product or service like yours, and they’re nearby your shop, it’s the perfect opportunity to get on.
But, how does a local search work?
A man wants to find a fashion shop near his flat. He does a type for a fashion shop, including his city or town as one of the terms. Next, he’ll get a list of local stores, including the address, phone number and the working hours.
If he’s on a mobile, he can click to call the shop, or he might even use the map to help him navigate his way to the shop, a great feature if he’s already out and about.
So how can you build a local online presence for your business?
First and foremost, be sure your location details are on your local directories. If you have a shop, be sure to include your address, and maybe even a map so a customer can get directions, and your phone number, and your working hours.
And if you have a service area business, be sure your local listing explains what areas you cover, and how people can contact you.
Step 1. Get Listed in Local Directories
Local directories are a great way for local businesses to connect with their potential customers in their area. The first step is to create a listing in these local directories – Google My Business.
These online directories include your key information, like your shop name, your address and your telephone number.
To get started, you’ll need to pull together your business name – as you want it to appear online, your store address, or your aria pin, and your phone number.
The name of your business should be matched with what you provide. But, consistency is key. If the board of your shop says Mike’s Fashion, then you don’t want to list your shop like that in one directory and as Michael’s Fashion in another.
For the address, you’ll need a physical shop address or location. Just like with your business name, include your address in the same exact way for every local directory.
Telephone numbers should be local as well, including local area code, so generally you won’t want to use a mobile number.
You’ll need to have these three things—name of your shop, address, and a telephone number—to land local customers.
Now that you know how to list, it’s time to find out where to list it. There are lots of local directories to choose from, but we’ll start with the obvious ones.
Every local listing site has its own registration and verification process, but many of them work in the same way.
You’ll need to include those three key informations—your business name, address and a phone number—and some additional business details like your working hours, photos or videos of your shop, and anything else they’ll let you list. You may be asked to select one or more categories to list your business, and while you might not find the perfect category, you should always try to list under the closest fit.
Sometimes many local directories will ask you to prove that you are the owner of the business you’re verifying. It makes sense, and every online listing is different, but most will verify you by leaving a voice or text message for you with a code, or sending you an email with verification instructions.
Once you’re verified, you can update and manage your listing any time. You’ll need to keep your local listings consistent and up-to-date. Remember if your name, address or phone number change, you need to update all those information immediately.
Step 2. Promote Your Business Locally: Local SEO
First, you have to keep in mind that the Internet is everywhere. That means that if you’ve a fashion shop in East Delhi, people in West Delhi are going to be able to find you online… and people from all over Delhi as well. But assuming that someone in Noida isn’t very likely to buy something from you, it’s probably not going to be a good idea for you to waste your advertising money on people in Noida.
And that’s what makes local advertising completely different – it’s targeted to showing your ads to people who are close to your physical shop and likely to be – or become – your customers.
You can promote your local business online through a lot of different channels, and search engines, local directories, and social networks are great places to start.
On search engines like Google, you can bid to show your ad for certain search terms, and all of the major search engines allow you to limit your ads to only people in nearby locations and geographies. For example, if you were bidding on a keyword like “branded t-shirts” you could limit your campaign to only bid if the person that searched it in was within, say, 10 miles of your fashion shop.
So, what other options do you have? Well, social networks like Facebook and Instagram offer business pages, as well as paid advertising to target local customers. The social networks can figure out where people are located just like with search engines. You can also limit your ads to show only to people who are nearby with a really relevant, local message.
And of course, the online directories and review websites offer advertising opportunities as well. Over and above your listing, which is usually free, you can often pay a little more to show your ad in premium locations like the results page or even on your competitors’ listings!
And there are some other pretty cool things you can do with local ads that can help you find customers that are close to your physical shop.
So, whether you choose search engines, social networks, local directories or review sites, you can limit your ad to people near you and take advantage of the special local advertising features to boost your business in the neighbourhood.
Benefits of Local SEO
Reaching More Customers on Their Mobiles
Hey! Let’s talk about mobile devices, and how they can help your business connect with customers nearby to your shop.
We’ll tell you how advertising on mobile—from maps to apps to paid advertising that targets people nearby—can help you bring more customers to your physical shop.
Today, many people walk around with a mobile phone in their pocket. As a business owner, you can take advantage of this to reach nearby customers. First, let’s understand how local and mobile work together.
We all have used our mobile to find the closest shop to where we happen to be. Say you’re driving your car around the city when suddenly your car stops working. If you’ve got your mobile on you, you’re probably searching for a car repair shop that’s really close.
So if you own that car repair shop, or any other kind of business, what can you do to improve your chances of showing up when people need you?
Of course you’ll want to make sure your business is listed in online directories like Google My Business and search engines, and you might want to take advantage of some local advertising opportunities, but let’s talk about how you can take advantage of mobile marketing for local customers.
The first thing you need to do is make sure you have a pretty responsive website that looks good on mobile devices.
Next, you can take advantage of features that only mobile devices tend to have. For example, you can use a GPS function that can detect where they are and direct them to where they want to go.
Or, if you have an app that people install on their smartphones, it could use that GPS functionality to send messages—like sales alerts—when potential customers are nearby to your physical shop.
And remember, local marketing opportunities can be found in other places too, not just major search engines. Local advertising through social networks, online directories and more can be a really cost-effective way to reach your local customers.
Think about how your business marries mobile with local?
To get started, be sure your customers can find you online, using any device, and have a good experience whether they’re on a laptop, smartphone or tablet.
Then, try to include mobile specific features like GPS and apps to motivate your prospecting customers with local and mobile marketing.
And finally, if you’re advertising locally, you can target people nearby and on the go with your local marketing campaigns.
Reaping the Benefits of Search
You probably already know that search engines are a powerful tool for connecting potential customers with businesses. But did you know that they can prioritise your business in the search results if a searcher is nearby to your local store?
Start with the basics, and make sure your website includes important information like your business name, your business address or your service area. And if you meet with customers at their location, you must include your phone number and your working hours.
Another way to help? Add relevant content that also helps search engines identify your geographic location.
Content goes a long way in helping customers and prospects connect with your business. For a fashion shop, content might include a blog about men’s fashion and suggestions about the men’s fashion you host at your shop.
It could include descriptions, photos and videos of some popular fashion.
It might include articles about choosing the best fit clothes with an offer for local customers to visit the shop for help.
As you include more local information to your website, and search engines recognise its relevance to local searchers, the chances of appearing in the local search results may increase, too.
Keep in mind: the role of a search engine is to provide the relevant result, at the right time and in the right place for the searcher. In order to do this, search engines may use the proximity of the searcher to your business, or the location they type in as part of their search.
Just how well your business is popular may also be a factor. Just like in the offline world, some businesses are just more established than yours. In the online world, businesses that may have had online presence for a longer period of time or have a lot of references and content over time can be rewarded by search engines in the top results pages.
Add location details to your website, Continually add quality content that’s relevant to your audience and highlights the location of your business, and Ensure your site is mobile-friendly and easy for both search engines and visitors to understand.
It may take some work to get found locally, especially for a new business, but if you take the time to add local information to your website, build great content, and promote your site in local directories and social networks, your customers can start finding your business locally.
Now, you know how to setup your business in local directories that can help your business found locally. Next, buckle up, because we’ll be diving into the exciting world of Social Media in our next Chapter.