According to Forbes, fifty percent of smartphone users who browse local businesses enter the store. Search Engine Land adds that thirty-three percent of those searchers will be non-locals who are seeking help finding a restaurant, store or tourist attraction. For many people, their phone is their go-to method of finding just about anything from grocery stores to doctor offices.
With that in mind, here are five easy tips for helping your business show up in the top SERP for your local area.
- Keep your Information Up to Date and Accurate
While this might seem obvious, it is a vital part of guiding people to your front door. More than that, make your information match across websites and on your street level display signs. That way, your listing with Yelp, your local chamber of commerce, Yellow Pages, Google, Facebook, and anywhere else will all point to the same name and place – which will help the search engines find and match your paid listings as well as your free, organic listings.
- Have something interesting that changes from day to day, such as chalk board specials.
Ever walk past a restaurant and see their soup of the day or meal of the day listed on a chalk board outside the business? Maybe your mouth was set for a Reuben or a broccoli chees soup, and that board pulled you right in. Use a virtual white board to create listings on your website that match your local store listings and pull that wandering lunch crowd right in!
- Use local directories.
Your chamber of commerce and local telephone directories are good examples of local directory listings. Make sure the names and locations are the same as the ones listed on your website to save on confusion and to help search engines find your business. Many local directories have both print and digital versions – you want to be listed in both.
- Keep up with trends in SEO.
Search engine optimization is vital for your local business. Using Internet best practices, you can compete with other businesses in your area that provide similar goods or services just by using a catchy snippet for the SERP, and by adding keywords that refer to local events. Get your name linked with local events through sponsorship or advertising to remind year-around residents that you are their neighbor, and that you take part in the community. A good example of this is to pay for an ad in a school yearbook – and be sure to include your website, especially if you sell goods or services of interest to students or their families. Reciprocate by giving them a little space on your website to feature a student or an event.
- Offer relevant, interesting, quality information on your website.
Relevant and interesting should have something to do with your main business operations but can be almost anything. Keep the information short, immediately useable, and fresh. A good example of this might be directions for making a craft from something connected to your business that might normally be a throwaway, or it might be a recipe. While it might seem as if you are giving away trade secrets, people love being “in the know.” You could offer a recipe for one item on your menu, for example, but not for the other fifty items. Since no two cooks make a recipe the same way, your store item will still have its unique flavor – and your customers will marvel at how great it tastes!
In addition, remember those mentions of local schools, students and events? Keep them tasteful, and protect student information, but honoring student achievements can bring proud parents to your business.
Once you have your Internet customers in the store, make them welcome. Whether they are locals who have come in for a few minutes during their lunch break or after work, or whether they are tourists who have come to see the sights of your city, when you and your staff make them comfortable they are likely to return. Even if they don’t come back to your storefront, they might buy things from you through your online merchandise site.
Two last things you can offer the Internet customer who comes to your store is a chance to give some feedback about their service that day, and maybe something a little extra for taking a brief survey. Keep your surveys short, simple and to the point, but allow room for comments. They are part of making your customer feel as if he or she matters, and the collated data can help you improve your services both on and offline.