Forget the bigger stores and their early door buster and Black Friday deals this Thanksgiving weekend. This is the year of the small business. Welcome to Small Business Saturday, taking place November 28, the first day in the Holiday season devoted specifically to promoting small business retailers and showing everyone just how important shopping locally is.
After you’ve signed up for the free marketing resources on the official Small Business Saturday website, it’s time to start thinking about what your business can be doing to drive more traffic into your store just in time for the holiday season. The answer is simple: Using Local SEO to help bring attention to your business.
Local SEO ranks your website and other web personas (company Facebook page, Twitter account, Yelp page, Google Local page, and so forth) for regionally focused keywords or phrases. With Local SEO your focus is on ranking your website (www.examplebakery.com), your other web personas, or both for keywords and phrases (for example: Los Angeles Bakery). Simple right? But here’s the bigger question: what type of company should be doing Local SEO?
Well, the simple answer to that question is: any company focused on local foot traffic to make sales. So, if you are a restaurant, bakery, hair salon, clothing store, or any other type of local business, you should be focusing on Local SEO. If you aren’t, then you’re missing out on traffic and customers. For example, if someone in Los Angeles searches Google for “Mexican Food Restaurant” and you’re not focusing on Local SEO, your LA-area Mexican restaurant won’t show up in the results. The good news is that getting started is a lot easier than you might think. All you need to do is follow the two steps below!
Step One: Optimize Your website
First, make sure that your website is ranking for the keywords you think best describe your services. Are you a fashion forward clothing boutique? Or an authentic Mexican restaurant? Google the phrases that you want to describe your shop. This will give you an indication of the companies that are already ranking for the keyword in your local area.
Now that you know who is ranking for your chosen keywords, it’s time to expand those keywords. Don’t limit yourself only to “Mexican Restaurant”, go ahead and try to rank for “Best Burrito”. This will help you reach the entire demographic that you need.
Then, make sure you update your website so that it references the following:
- The region you want to rank for (this is typically your local area)
- Your key phrase placed in the text in a way that it makes sense, like “Try the best burrito in San Francisco!”
- Your key phrase placed in the H1 tag on each page.
- Incorporate Schema.org references into your website. Schema is a form of data that search engines can read to associate you with a location.
- Your full physical address so that Google can recognize you as a business in your targeted area
- Clear any and all links to your social media and other web personas. Don’t worry! We’ll explain your next step with your social media next.
Above all else, if you have multiple locations then make sure you repeat the previous steps for each location-specific page. This will allow you to rank each location for the specific keywords necessary.
Step Two: Utilize Your Web Personas
The next step in upping your Local SEO game is making sure that you’re getting the most out of your web personas. Web personas are basically your social media accounts or anything you use to interact with your customers on the Internet. Think sites like Facebook, Yelp, Eat24, Google, etc. These pages are not only gateways to ranking your own site with Local SEO, but in some cases are more important for ranking.
- Web personas rank higher due to being on an established domain name
- Web personas can often allow customers to leave feedback, which brings new visitors to see what others have to say about you.
- Web personas show your product or services in other places outside of a normal search engine like Google or Bing.
So how can you best utilize your web personas?
- Make sure you claim ALL of your listings, even if it’s just to protect you against potential harm in the future.
- Reserve your social names on every social media site. The last thing your business needs is someone making a fake page that could do damage to your brand.
- Use high quality images! This should go without saying, but better pictures of the items you sell can often mean more interested customers.
- Monitor, embrace, and acknowledge all feedback. Customers that land on personas like Yelp or Google Local make their decisions largely based on the feedback that has been left by your customers. Responding to the feedback, whether it’s glowing or negative, will go a long way to not only letting new visitors see what stellar customer service you provide, but also will allow you to improve your business.
- Post regularly and get your customers to be active on your social media sites. The higher they rate you the better your ranking will be and the more feedback you’ll receive, resulting in driving you more customers.
- Link to your website. Above all else, you need to make sure your social personas link to your website. This will help elevate the rankings of your website.
Ready to get started? By optimizing your Local SEO efforts with the above two steps, your business can make Small Business Saturday not just a great start to your holiday season, but the strongest day of the year. Good luck and happy shopping!