The pandemic has accelerated the need to have an online presence, permanently altering the way consumers choose to shop. Now, that’s anywhere, anytime, it has never been more important to ensure your business is active and visible online, and that’s where local SEO plays a part, writes Tamara Oppen, Managing Director at GoDaddy Australia.
A digital presence wasn’t just a safety net during 2020; small businesses must have an online presence long-term to remain competitive. We know that Australian consumers are spending more time on the internet than last year. In addition, with 98% of Australian internet users using conventional search engines like Google to gather information about brands, ensuring your business has visibility is essential..
How to claim your Google My Business listing
For small businesses implementing local SEO (search engine optimisation) strategies, one of the most important steps is to claim and verify your Google My Business. This is a free listing that helps boost your business’ visibility amongst locals searching for goods and services nearby. All you need to do is compile a detailed, unique description of your business, including opening hours, address, phone number and use high-quality images to help your profile stand out. If your business has multiple locations, you can set up multiple listings, provided you have a physical address in those locations.
Check your local citations
A citation is a mention of your business name, address and phone number on various online directories and websites. Check that your details are up to date and consistent in these digital directories to generate quality local links that direct back to your site. Not only does this signal that your business is real and local to the area, it can also help increase your ranking and visibility on search engines.
Optimise your website
There are a number of ways to optimise your website for local SEO purposes. One of these is adding keywords that people are searching for online that relate to your products and services. Nearly one third of all mobile searches now include local intent, when a user modifies their keyword search to specify a local area. For example, they might search for ‘Florist in Sydney’, rather than ‘Florist’. Brainstorm potential keyword searches made up of more than one word – such as ‘Pilates studio Brisbane’ – and ensure they’re weaved prominently throughout the copy on your website to help it show up when potential customers make relevant online searches.
Through tools like, for example, GoDaddy Websites + Marketing, you can build an eye-catching website with advanced marketing capabilities to help you appear wherever potential customers are searching. What’s more, with the website automatically optimised for SEO, it means you can spend less time thinking about search marketing and more time thinking about your customers and growing your business.
Encourage customer reviews
While, driven by technology, marketing techniques continue to advance, Word of Mouth Marketing (WOMM) is still one of the most powerful tools for small businesses. Not only can customer reviews have an impact on search engine rankings, but they can also influence potential customers’ decisions. When nearing the end of an interaction with a customer or client, don’t be afraid to ask them for an online review or feedback. Use it as an opportunity to show search engines that you’re a real, responsive and professional business. Make sure you respond and thank everyone who leaves a review, even those that are negative. Responding to less glowing reviews is an important way to demonstrate you’re authentic and open to improving.
Local SEO can be an effective and smart way to put your business on the map and give you a competitive edge where it matters. With Australians spending more time online than ever before, it has never been more important to make sure your business can be found online.
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