Take Charge of Your Local SEO
Many business owners work tirelessly to find success in their business. They wake up early, they go to bed late, they skip meals…but do they also skip out on important steps? With a schedule packed to the brim, it’s too easy to let important tasks get pushed back or forgotten altogether without even realizing it. When it comes to ongoing investments like digital marketing and local SEO, you must always have your head in the game. You may think you have complete control over your digital marketing, but do you, really? Ask yourself, do you know how you are perceived in the community? How about the way your competition is perceived? Is your business information easy to find?
Local SEO can be an overwhelming feat if you don’t know how to tackle it. When in doubt, it’s best to follow the “four r’s” of online marketing to take charge of your business’s success.
Research your business. So, you know what your short term and long term goals for your business are, but have you broken that down even further? When it comes to digital marketing, how do you measure your successes? Research is an important component in so many fields, from writing a report or buying shoes, to knowing your market and adjusting your campaigns accordingly. One of the first steps in taking over your local SEO is researching all the aspects of your business so you can better measure your success. How?
- Target the right keywords. Whatever the nature of your business is, you must ensure you are visible to your audience. If you were looking for your product or service, what would you search for? For example, Amanda runs a company that sells Denver Broncos fan gear. While she targets keywords such as “Denver Broncos”, she should also consider keywords such as “Denver Football” or “Football Gear” or “Broncos Jerseys”. By using a wider range of relevant keywords, Amanda’s business can reach a wider range of relevant customers.
- Consistently check the results of those keywords. Some keywords initially seem like a great idea, but over time, your results may not agree. It’s not enough to brainstorm some great search terms and leave them alone; it’s almost more important to track which keywords are yielding results, and which ones might be costing you money. If you are constantly on the forefront of your keywords, you can make better business decisions about how to run your marketing.
- Understand your client-base. Do you know who your potential customers are? Where do most of them live? What demographic? Part of researching your business is researching those who will keep it going. If you know that your potential customers will likely live in Colorado, are you going to put out ads in Maine? If you’re in the business of selling chocolates (yum!), would you place your ad on a site showing you how to clean your ceiling fan? Of course not! The better you understand your client, the better you can satisfy their needs.
- Look for new trends. A great businessperson will always be thinking of their next step, without losing sight of the one that they are on. They are surveying the market and anticipating how their product or service can fit in with this rising trend. I encourage every business owner to keep this in mind when they are conducting research on their market. In order to be successful when it comes to local SEO, you can’t be right on the tails of your competitors. By keeping your eyes open to new opportunities for your company, you can be one of the first to take advantage and lead the pack.
Review your reputation. Your reputation is all you have. In fact, it used to be that it took many good deeds to conjure up a good reputation, and only one bad one to tarnish it. Thank goodness the world is a little more forgiving now, but not without more work. If you really want to take charge of your local online marketing, you have to take charge of your reviews, both good and bad. What does taking charge of your review mean? Basically, you need to be in the center of everything that is being said about your business. Whether someone is raving about your fantastic food, or tearing apart every fiber of your staff member’s being, you need to be ready to respond.
It may seem like you only need to rectify the reviewers who had the worst experience because those reviews are the ones that ruin reputations so quickly. However, it is also important to thank those who took the time to write a positive review in the first place, as we all know how rare that is.
Social media and review forums have helped bridge the gap between business and consumer. Thanks to digital media, business owners can finally regulate their online status and in some cases, fix a problem before it really begins. Reviewing your reputation is a key part in taking ownership of your SEO.
But wait. There are so many review sites out there, how can you manage them all? Luckily, there are several tools out there, such as Via Omni, that help you manage your online reputation by merging the major review forums together and giving you notifications of reviews in real time. There is virtually no excuse not to grab the reins on this.
Repeat your information on every listing. Consistency on the web is a critical step in setting your business up for success. You might find this hard to believe, but on nearly every business that I analyze, I see inconsistent listing information on the various online directories. All too often, businesses forget to update their address or their phone number, or there is a typo, or information is just missing altogether. Not every person uses Google and Bing, and without having the proper information on all directories, you are missing out on opportunities. To reach as many potential customers as possible, you have to make it easy for them as possible, or they will find another business that does.
Regularly update your content. Think of your web presence as a living, breathing entity. Now think of fresh content as food to help your web presence thrive. Doesn’t your business have something new to offer since 2012? If not, I may have to direct you to a whole different article. Show the world what new information you have, or new services, or products, or employees! Show us that you are alive and active!
Content, though, is a dual-purpose concept. In addition to keeping current with your client-base, you also make Google happy. A happy Google is worth more than gold…sort of. Search engines like Google are constantly crawling through your website, and others like it, to determine which sites have more, better, fresher content. In Google’s eyes, great, new content means you are more of an authority within your market. Additionally, the more content you write, the more opportunities you will have to tackle new and relevant keywords. With regularly updated search terms and quality content, Google will have no choice but to validate you as a solid source. Content is king.
If you haven’t already, it’s time to take charge of your local SEO. Wrestling with this concept can be daunting, but not impossible. If you know your market, your client base, and your reputation, you are helping your business in more ways than online marketing can reach. Anymore, you can’t just rely on your world class service to help your business thrive; you have to fit localized marketing into your busy schedule to guarantee you aren’t missing any steps, like some of you might be missing meals.