By Nate Velazquez, Bayshore Solutions Account Manager
I attended the ClickZ Live New York (Formerly SES Conference & Expo) last week and spoke with many other digital marketers about some of their successes and challenges. One of the biggest topics of the conference was integrating Mobile and Local SEO strategies. In addition to the fact that Google announced that mobile search surpassed desktop in 2015, many local businesses count on organic search as their primary source of business. As much as 56% of local businesses consider search engines to be their primary source of new business. Optimizing your website for mobile and local SEO requires some investment of time, but can greatly improve your organic traffic and conversions. Continue reading for some tips on integrating local and mobile SEO Optimization.
Local Listings Management
Managing and reviewing how your business shows up in local listings like Yelp!, Yellowpages.com, and others is vital to compete in today’s online environment. Your first step should be to ensure your name, address, and phone number are correct across the web. No one wants to lose a possible lead or sale because the phone number was incorrect. Along those same lines, use a local phone number over an 800 or call center number if possible. Adding images and a unique business description are other tactics that can help boost your local listing traffic as well. Below are a few additional Do’s and Don’ts for local listing management:
- Use your proper business name, ex. “Mike’s Hard Wood Flooring” instead of “Hard Wood Flooring Co.”
- Include business images, social media links, and business hours.
- Add driving directions for customers to find your location.
- Attempt to manipulate search results by adding keywords to your business name; Google and other search engines will pick up on this and may penalize you.
- Create multiple listings for the same location; this will confuse your customers – and the search engines.
- If you use a local listing service, be wary of how their changes are made – some of these services house your local listing changes on their systems and hold you to a contract in order to keep your updates accurate online; check with your provider and ask them how they update your local business citations.
Google My Business/Google+
Google My Business/Google+ has undergone several significant changes since 2012. While Google+ never caught on the with the same popularity of other social networks like Facebook or Twitter, optimizing your business listing on Google My Business is still a factor in search rankings. Despite what you may have heard, adding images, a unique description, and yes, even posting on Google+ can help your business in your local search results. You may need to tell Google Maps to adjust the map marker if your business is in a shopping center or other location that is difficult to find. Regularly reviewing your Google My Business listing for errors can you help avoid negative calls from confused customers – or worse, losing customers who can’t find you and go elsewhere.
Online reviews affect how other customers know and trust your business. Two out of every three searchers say that online reviews are important to whether or not they purchase from a business. Managing your online reputation and reviews on Google, Facebook, Yelp!, or any other listing site, can be challenging for any business owner. Having a documented response plan for both positive and negative reviews can help you better handle a negative or unwanted review. Below are some best practices on how to handle reviews:
- Ask your customers for reviews. If you know customers that are delighted with your product or service, ask them to help you build your content. You may want to reach out to them via email and ask them to leave a review on a particular medium, like Facebook or Yellow Pages, if you need to beef up reviews in these media.
- Thank customers who have left positive reviews. Show your potential customers that you value their feedback and opinions.
- Attempt to submit fake reviews. Google and other listing sites catch up on these fairly quickly, and you will likely suffer consequences for attempting to game the system.
- Ignore or defend your negative review. Most businesses will encounter a negative review at some point. If you have a documented procedure on how to handle reviews, be sure to practice what you preach. Reply to the bad review and ask the customer to call your business to keep the conversation offline and propose a resolution.
Mobile Usability and Closing Thoughts
Mobile-friendly sites have a huge advantage over non-mobile friendly sites in organic search results. If you think about your own browsing habits, when using your smartphone, you probably leave a website that isn’t mobile-friendly because of how difficult it is to navigate. It’s no different for your customers. Running Google’s Mobile Friendly or Website Planet’s responsive checker (more dynamic) test can help you identify areas where you can optimize your site for mobile.
Bayshore Solutions has worked with many businesses to develop mobile friendly websites for local and mobile SEO.
Contact us today to learn more about how we can take your website to the highest levels of search-visibility.