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  • 16
  • October

How to promote your local business online

This is a common question facing many local businesses whether they are a new start-up or have been in business for a long time. Digital marketing is one of if not the most important form of marketing. Gone are the days when you could just put an advert in the Yellow Pages, now you have to be findable online and have positive reviews to your name. Traditional forms of marketing have their place but I don’t think anyone can deny how important search engine optimization, a good website and a digital marketing strategy is these days. So here are our tips at Omni Web Design Leeds to make sure your business can be found online.

There are 3 main categories that work to strengthen each other.

  1. Local business citations
  2. Social media
  3. Search engine optimisation

 

Local Directories and Citations

People use various methods to search for a business online. These can be categorised as:

  1. Google/Bing searching
  2. Searching platforms like Yell, Yelp, Thompson local etc.
  3. Asking friends for referrals on social media.

You need to claim your My Business page on Google and the equivalent on Bing. Not only will this help greatly for SEO of your site and business but it will mean you have a better chance of coming up for local search results and in the maps.

Make sure you use the exact same business name, address and phone number for all citations. Consistency is the key so that search engines know you are the one and the same business. You can easily check this by using the tool on moz.com here https://moz.com/local/search check the inconsistent tab.

Moz is also useful to find the main citation platforms for your industry. Use this link to find your industry and make sure you are listed on each of them. Check main citations in your category here https://moz.com/learn/local/citations-by-category. Another good place to check the main citations is this blog post from verticalresponse.com http://www.verticalresponse.com/blog/top-20-places-business-needs-listed-online/

People search these platforms for businesses like yours so make sure you are listed and have many good ratings. Positive ratings will help your business appear above the competition and will make you more appealing to potential customers. These platforms are popular and have strong domain authority, so links from them to your site will give your site a healthy SEO boost.

Adding your business to these platforms might seem tedious but it only needs to be done once and the benefits are well worth the effort.

Here is a useful checklist of local business citations must-dos:

Google Profile

  1. Google+ Profile - Do you have a Google profile setup?
  2. Google My Business Page - Have you claimed your Google Business Listing?
  3. Accurate Category - Are you listed in the right category for your business?
  4. Accurate Listing - is your business name, address and phone number CORRECT on your Google Business listing?

Others

  1. Bing - Claim your listing on Bing.
  2. Apple Maps - Claim your listing on Apple Maps.
  3. Yelp - Claim your listing on Yelp.
  4. Current Listings Correct - Do your current listings have the same name, address and phone number as your Google Business Page. if not fix them. Use https://moz.com/local/search check the inconsistent tab to identify your inconsistencies.
  5. Top 50 Citations - Find the top 50 Citation sites for your industry, (Check your competitors who are on page one). Other tools to use include https://moz.com/learn/local/citations-by-category and http://www.verticalresponse.com/blog/top-20-places-business-needs-listed-online/

Social Media

Utilizing social media is a great way to connect with local customers but it does take time and effort. The best approach is to find the right platforms that work for you and where your target market is. Most people are on Facebook but younger audiences use Instagram and Snapchat. Instagram is great for products and image based promotion whereas Twitter and LinkedIn are good for business to business. You don’t have to be active on all social media platforms, it’s best to pick the right one to concentrate on and build a following over time. Here are some social media platforms and their advantages.

Facebook - Biggest user group with effective target market advertising

YouTube - Second biggest search engine, no.1 for video

Instagram - Great for products, fashion and anything you can take pictures of

LinkedIn - No.1 business platform, great for business networking and finding leads.

Twitter - One big open conversation, easy to post things, can build many followers.

 

Search engine optimisation

The other 2 categories have a big effect on search engine optimization, especially the local business citations. Search engines love to see your business registered with business accounts in Google, Bing, Yahoo, Yelp etc. because it verifies that your business is a legitimate trading business. Those platforms also have a lot of domain authority so a link from your site from theirs is a powerful boost in SEO, one that your competitors will have so you need.

Content

Other ways to SEO your site include putting lots of content up. Search engines love content because their algorithms rely on that content to determine the relevance of your site for search terms. The more content you put up the more keywords you will hit. Lots of content like blog posts and FAQs give you content to post on social media and allows other platforms to point to your answers.

Creating blog content give you something to post on your social media and keeps your website active which is great for SEO.

 

Buyer journey through search queries

Remember people use search engines in all stages of the buyer journey. They might start out by asking for solutions to their problems, then they might research those solutions and finally, they will search for a provider. Here are the main ways people search for solutions to problems based on an example of someone having back pain whilst working:

  1. Symptom based - “my back hurts at work” - They are looking for causes that will lead to research on solutions.
  2. Research based - “how can I reduce back pain from sitting all day” - They are looking for a solution.
  3. Solution based - “office chairs with back support” - They know the solution they want but not the brand or model.
  4. Awareness stage - “ergonomic desk chairs for sale” - The buyer knows they want a specific type of desk chair.
  5. Direct - “Bulbo executive desk chair black” - The buyer knows exactly what they want, even the brand and model.

These search queries become more valuable to businesses as the buyer moves from 1 to 5 with 5 being the most valuable because the customer is ready to buy. For this reason, keywords for search terms from no.5 are the most valuable to bid for on pay per click advertising, they convert better than keywords for queries in no.1 and 2.

A blog or FAQ section will provide answers to their initial questions helping your site rank for relevant answers to customers questions. Once the customer is familiar with your brand and your solution they might move into the ready to buy phase and go straight to you. Thanks to your content, your site has been referred to by other sites, Google knows that your site is relevant to their search query and will recommend your site when they are ready to buy.

Of course, this requires a lot of work and if you have many locations and keywords you need to rank for then the quickest way is to use pay per click adverts.

 

Conclusion

I hope you can see how these 3 approaches work well together to promote and advertise your business locally online. Setting up your business citations is the easiest part. Although it takes some time it only needs setting up once and you’ll notice an immediate effect. Building a social media presence and search engine optimisation will take time and continued effort but it’s more than worth it as advertising can be costly.

Omni Web Design Leeds will guide you through these steps or we can set all this up for you so you can focus on your day to day work. If you’d like more information please contact us.

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