Tag Archives: Local Business

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5 Ways to Promote Your Local Business on Facebook by @tallchickvic

Here are five ways you can use Facebook to promote and drive more business to your location.

The post 5 Ways to Promote Your Local Business on Facebook by @tallchickvic appeared first on Search Engine Journal.

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5 Ways to Promote Your Local Business on Facebook by @tallchickvic

Here are five ways you can use Facebook to promote and drive more business to your location.

The post 5 Ways to Promote Your Local Business on Facebook by @tallchickvic appeared first on Search Engine Journal.

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How to get started with local SEO

Local SEO proved to be one of the biggest trends throughout 2016 and 2017, and is expected to continue doing so throughout 2018.

Businesses that have been able to optimize their on-page and off-page SEO strategies are already reaping the supreme benefits of local SEO. For others, there are undeniable opportunities to begin their local SEO journeys.

Google suggests that 80% users conduct online searches for local businesses, while 50% of users who do a local search on mobile for a business visit its store within a day. Yet businesses continue to miss the opportunities that local SEO provides.

Don’t be that business. Instead, use the tips and tricks mentioned in this guide to get started with local SEO.

Claim your Google My Business page and optimize it

Google+ might have mostly fizzled out, but Google My Business continues to be a cornerstone for implementing local SEO. If you’ve not claimed a Google My Business listing for your business yet, this is the time to do so. The chances of your business featuring on the front page in a local relevant search improve manifold purely by having a well optimized and filled out My Business Listing.

Go to google.com/business, start the registration and verification process, and wait for Google to send you a postcard to your physical store location.

Make sure you understand that Google only allows real business owners to have their My Business pages; so you need to work out an arrangement with your digital marketing consultants so that you continue to own the My Business listing even if they depart.

Your business name, address, and phone number (abbreviated as NAP) must match what you have been using for digital marketing till now. Also, lay special emphasis on selecting categories, business hours, types of payment accepted, etc.

Then, have top quality photographs of the office front and insides uploaded on to the profile. Digital businesses without a location can hide the address to still be able to claim their My Business listing.

Here’s what a well maintained and optimized Google My Business profile could look like on a search page.

Understand and master the art of citations

Here’s it, put simply – every mention of your business online is a citation. More citations are good for your business’ local SEO. How does Google consider a mention as a citation? Well, your business NAP has to be mentioned for it to be counted as a citation.

Too many businesses have already lost several months of efforts in getting themselves mentioned online, purely because of inconsistent NAP. Though increasingly there’s consensus among digital marketers that Google actually triangulates data and identifies slightly different business names as belonging to the same business using NAP, we’d recommend you play it safe.

Keep on optimizing your website for mobile

Though this is something every website owner must do, local business website owners need to speed up their game particularly well. That’s because a majority of local searches are done on mobile devices, and are intent-backed.

Responsive layouts, intuitive user experience and interface design, etc. are the basics; you need to step past them! Google’s Mobile Friendly testing tool is a great starting point. I did a test on a post I was reading recently, and was impressed with the tool’s validation.

How to get started with local SEO

How to get started with local SEO

Add business directories to your to do lists

Apart from giving you a valuable citation online, business directory pages for your business also garner more visibility for your business. Here are some action points for you.

  • Start with the most notable business review directory websites such as Yelp and CitySearch
  • Next, use this list of business directories and create your business profiles on each (target at least 7 complete profiles per week)
  • Look for niche specific business directories and create your profiles there
  • Look for local business community websites, and grab your listing there
  • Check if the state government has a Chamber of Commerce or equivalent website, and look for a way to get a mention there
  • Use the services of citation aggregators like Infogroup, Acxiom, and Factual
  • Look for an opportunity for a citation via local newspaper websites
  • Of course, remember to get your NAP spot on every time.

‘Localize’ your website’s content

You can do a lot to help search engines understand your business’ local appeal by optimizing your website for the same. Local content, for instance, can help search engines contextualize your website’s niche to its local service. Then, you could include an interactive map widget to further enhance the local SEO appeal of your website.

Also, consider creating a separate local news section on your website, wherein you could post content about niche-related local events. This will serve you well in terms of allowing the usage of local SEO relevant keywords.

Businesses such as restaurants, lawyer services, house repairs and interior décor, etc. have a lot to gain by using these basic tactics.

Be very hungry for online reviews

A Moz report attributes 8.4% of ranking value to online reviews. It doesn’t sound much, but considering how 88% users depend on online reviews to form opinions on quality of businesses, brands, and products, the eventual impact of reviews is significant.

Google My Business reviews are the primary source of SEO juice; you need at least 5 reviews for Google to start showing your reviews. Facebook Business reviews must be the next on your radar, because of the trust they inspire among online users.

There are several other review websites you need to take care of, to maximize the local SEO benefit from the same. To get more reviews, try out these tactics:

  • Motivate store managers and field sales personnel to get reviews from customers on handy mobile devices, asking them log in to, for instance, Zomato or Yelp, and doing it on the spot (consider giving them a little discount for the same)
  • Use email marketing, with a single link that takes users to the reviews page
  • Consider using a social listening tool such as HootSuite to be alerted of your business and brand mentions, which you can transform into reviews
  • It’s worthwhile seeking services of online reputation management agencies for this.

Invest effort in local SEO relevant rich schema

Schema markup can be added to your website’s code to enhance its readability for search engines. There are several scheme markup tags that specifically focus on local attributes of your website.

Local schema markup tags assists local SEO in two ways:

  • First, it allows search engines to understand your business’ local relevance
  • Second, it means search engines can show your business page result along with rich snippet info such as phone number, address, business working hours, ratings, reviews, etc.

Here’s an example of how web results with local SEO schema markup appear on SERPs.

How to get started with local SEO

Local schema markup is beyond the scope of this guide, but here’s a good tutorial from Schema App.

Don’t forget to run your website through Google Structured Data Testing Tool to understand if the schema markup is done correctly.

Concluding remarks

As you read this, there are hundreds of potential customers searching for businesses in your neighborhood. Your website could be staring at them through their desktops and mobile phones, as soon as you get started on local SEO with the tips, tricks, tools, and methods described in this guide.

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How businesses can optimize for Google’s new Question & Answer feature

Back in August, Google introduced a new feature called Questions & Answers, or Q&A, in Google Maps. 

This feature allows you and other people to ask and answer questions about your business.

Like reviews and other user-generated content, this update could have an impact on your business’ reputation, so it’s important that you take an active role in managing your Q&As.

Here’s what you need to know to make the most of this feature.

What does Google’s Q&A feature mean for businesses?

Google’s Q&A feature lets anyone ask questions about your business. These questions show up on your Google Maps page. You can answer these questions yourself, or other people can answer them. As the business owner, you can also preemptively ask and answer questions that you think might be useful to customers.

Examples of what the Q&A section looks like in Google Maps. Source: onlineownership.com

The new Q&A feature is undoubtedly handy for customers – who hasn’t wished they could ask questions about a business or venue before actually going there?

For business owners, though, keeping up with Q&As means adding one more thing to the to-do list. There’s no way to opt out of questions and answers if you have a Google My Business listing.

While you could choose to ignore the feature, that’s not a good idea – it’s best to represent your own business online whenever you can, instead of letting others do it for you.

Will this feature be good for your business? Maybe. Like reviews, Google’s Q&As have the potential to build your reputation online. A variety of questions and thorough, high-quality answers on your page can boost your business’ professionalism and trustworthiness in the eyes of customers.

But it remains to be seen whether this will actually bring more customers to you, or just prevent you from falling behind your competitors who make good use of Q&As.

There are some potential downsides to this feature. Like any other crowd-sourced information, Google’s Q&As are vulnerable to spamming and abuse. You obviously don’t want spam on any page associated with your business, even if it’s not your fault it’s there.

And if your competitors have a mean streak, it’s not out of the question that they might try to sabotage your business by planting false or harmful information in your Q&As.  

Another, more subtle downside of the feature is that it could decrease traffic to your website. If customers can get all the information they need straight from Google, they might not bother clicking through to your site. Time will tell whether this will become an issue for businesses.

The good news? You’ve still got plenty of time to optimize for Google’s Q&As. The feature isn’t even available on all devices yet. When it launched in August, it was available for Android devices only. It now shows up on iOS devices as well, but still isn’t available for desktop users.

Start working on your Q&As now, and you’ll be ahead of all your competitors who wait to start using the feature.

How can you optimize for Google’s Q&As?

1. Commit to tackling this new challenge

You can’t avoid or opt out of the Q&A feature, so you might as well take a hands-on approach to it. If you don’t manage your Q&As, somebody else will.  

2. Come up with a list of questions and answers

If customers haven’t asked many questions about your business yet, beat them to the punch. Write up a list of questions and post helpful, relevant answers to those questions yourself. Make sure you’re signed into your Google My Business account when you do this, so that Google will mark your answers as being from the business owner.

Posting your own Q&As lets you establish official answers to frequently asked questions before anyone else has the chance to provide potentially incorrect information.

3. Don’t be afraid to get specific

If there’s something you want people to know about your business or services, go ahead and include it in Q&A form. For instance, if your restaurant can modify any order to be vegan, that would be a good thing to include in your Q&As, even if it’s not a frequently asked question.

As long as everything you post is relevant and potentially helpful to someone, there’s generally no harm in providing a lot of information.

4. Put yourself in the customer’s shoes

As you write your Q&As, aim for helpfulness and clarity. Think about what questions you might have if you were a customer who’d never been to your business before. Phrase your questions and answers in plain English, and avoid any technical jargon that casual visitors might not be familiar with.

5. Don’t post anything spammy or unhelpful

This probably goes without saying, but keep all your questions and answers professional, helpful, and to-the-point. The Q&A feature is not a promotional tool for businesses – it’s designed to help customers. Don’t stuff your questions or answers with keywords, and don’t post Q&As that are just thinly veiled advertisements for your business.

6. Stay on top of your Q&A section

As long as you’re logged into the Google Maps app, you’ll get a push notification whenever someone asks a question about your business. Answer these questions as soon as possible. Don’t put them off, or someone else will probably answer them for you.

If you provide quick, complete, and helpful answers, other people will be less likely to chime in with less accurate or helpful information.

How businesses can optimize for Google’s new Question & Answer feature

The Google Maps app sends you push notifications when someone asks a question about your business. Source: Search Engine Land

The Q&A feature uses an upvoting system, which makes it especially important to get your answers in quickly. Earlier answers will have more time to collect upvotes, meaning they’ll be more likely to be displayed.

7. Report any malicious content in your Q&A section

Unfortunately, you can’t hide spam, irrelevant questions and answers, or malicious postings in your Q&A yourself. The best thing to do is to report this content to Google immediately. Keep a close eye on your questions and answers so you can catch and address any problems right away.

One tip for preventing Q&A mischief: never answer a question with just a “yes” or “no.” Users can edit the questions they asked after the fact, making it look like you said “yes” or “no” to a completely different question. Provide a complete, detailed answer to prevent this from happening.

The takeaway

Google’s new Q&A feature is still in the process of rolling out for all devices, and its full effect has yet to be seen. For now, the best thing to do is to be proactive.

Take the initiative in asking and answering frequently asked questions about your business, and monitor your Q&A section to make sure it’s up-to-date and full of helpful information.

What do you think of Google’s Q&A feature? Has it helped your business? Share your thoughts in the comments!

 

Amanda DiSilvestro is a writer for AgencyAnalyticsan all-in-one reporting platform for agencies. You can connect with Amanda on Twitter and LinkedIn, or check out her content services at amandadisilvestro.com.

Google Officially Launches Editing Local Business Info In Search Results

Google announced this morning that they are officially launching the ability to edit your business details in search…

Google My Business Support Telling Businesses To Submit Reconsideration Requests?

This is a weird one – according to Tim Capper in the Local Business Forums, official support representatives from the Google My Business team are telling those who had their businesses suspended on Google My Business to submit reconsideration requests in the Google Search Console…

Google Updates Schema Guidelines for Local Business Reviews by @SouthernSEJ

Google has made a number of notable updates to its Schema guidelines with respect to how local businesses can markup the reviews they receive.

The post Google Updates Schema Guidelines for Local Business Reviews by @SouthernSEJ appeared first on Search Engine Journal.

Hidden Google Command: Search “**” For a List of Local Business Websites by @SouthernSEJ

Users have discovered that searching for “**” (without quotation marks) pulls up a list websites for physically nearby businesses.

The post Hidden Google Command: Search “**” For a List of Local Business Websites by @SouthernSEJ appeared first on Search Engine Journal.

Google Local Business Cards or Posts about to roll out to ‘thousands’ of SMBs

Search feature will soon be broadly accessible to local businesses and their agencies.

The post Google Local Business Cards or Posts about to roll out to ‘thousands’ of SMBs appeared first on Search Engine Land.



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