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Growing local business with digital marketing
This year, shopping to support small and local business owners has become more critical than ever before. The worldwide downturn hit small businesses hard. But in true NZ spirit, shoppers across the country have shown genuine interest in purchasing locally-sourced products and opting for local service providers.
There’s only one problem – if they can’t find you, they can’t buy from you. You could be the best business on the block but unfortunately, these days, if you’re not showing up on Google, you might as well not even exist. The good news is that growing local business by maximising your Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is easy once you know what you’re doing.
Get on Google
Google My Business (GMB) is a top tool for making sure that your customer base can find you. Not only does it allow local customers to utilise their ‘search near me’ feature, but it will also help to optimise your listing in Google search results. Once your business is verified on GMB, you need to stay active. Try posting photos of your product offering, menu, or service lists. You should also verify your locations and update your store hours regularly. The action that will have the most significant influence on rank will be your management of and response to Google reviews. Good reviews with in-depth comments will push you up the search rankings making you easier to find.
Google has stated that the three most important factors of their GMB ranking system are: relevance, distance and prominence. To be relevant, you really just need to be offering what your customer is looking for, make sure to list your business category correctly and change it if your business pivots. You’ll find local interest will grow when you show up on the nearby business listings, allowing you to increase your audience of nearby customers. Prominence is about becoming well-known. You should request reviews on Google, but you also need to be linked through websites other than search engines. Speaking of websites…
A Website is a Non-Negotiable
While some small or local businesses rely on word of mouth and foot traffic if you’re looking to grow business fast, you need to be online. You don’t need to have a big, expensive website. As long as your service or product offerings are outlined clearly and understandably, your website will contribute to higher-ranked searches. Design is still an essential factor for your website. People respond to clear and concise layouts that are visually pleasing. If you don’t want to hire a development company, you can still create a great looking site from a free template.
Your website will allow you to link to other accounts like your GMB and social media, giving your business more legitimacy in the eyes of a consumer. It’s important to know that the page you link to on your website from your GMB does have an impact on your SEO ranking. Make sure to link to a page that has detailed information on your key offerings and plenty of backlinks. Just as your website helps your GMB ranking, your GMB page helps feed traffic to your website. All the cogs are connected and create an important piece of your well-oiled SEO machine.
Search-Worthy Social Media
People aren’t searching for you exclusively on Google. With geotags, location-based searching, hashtags and tagged photos all available on social apps, businesses are more searchable than ever. Having your patrons geotag you is great but if there’s no social account linked to the location, they will quickly forget about the picture. That means you’ll be wasting the free promotion provided by your customers and giving up potential business. Consistent activity is key to ensuring that you’re showing up in searches. So, make sure you get on social media and stay there.
Your social media interactions will piggyback off of your GMB page. Once customers find you on Google, they’ll either link to your site or your social media accounts to find out the information they want to know about you. Ultimately, your social pages are a crucial source of information for your potential client. Want them to know about your Covid-19 cleaning policies, holiday hours or new delivery options? Put it on your social media accounts where it’s easily accessible to all. While social media may seem more viable for product-based companies, service-based companies can still participate by promoting offers and discounts.
Local SEO Brings it Home
Once you’ve got your basics set up, it’s time to dive deeper into your SEO strategy. What will set you apart in the Google rankings and make you top of mind for those seeking products and services in your area will be the landing pages you create specifically for them. Not only will you be triggering higher-ranked search results, but you’ll also be showing up under more searches that include location tags. Creating geotargeted landing pages is an effective strategy in SEO, but one that not many people are using. Get a head start on rankings by creating location-based landing pages for your neighbouring areas.
We recommend creating suburb or geotargeted landing pages so that you can speak specifically to your customers in nearby areas. For instance, if you own a bike shop based in Ponsonby and want to encourage afternoon and weekend walk-in traffic, you’ll want to keep neighbouring areas in the loop. For this, you could create location-specific website pages for areas such as Eden Terrace, Grey Lynn and the CBD to encourage local business growth across a wider geographical area. When they search for bike shops in their own area, you could be one of the top listings.
Following these simple steps could set you apart from competitors in your local area. With these focused SEO tips, you’ll increase your ranking and grow local business. Zib Digital offers industry-leading digital marketing work to enhance local business efforts. As specialists in an ever-growing industry, we help companies to facilitate an earned space for themselves within their local market. Get in touch to discuss your specific digital marketing strategy for your business.