Given the current economic conditions, marketing teams are being stretched thin and are expected to do more with less.
If you are a marketer focused on generating revenue from local areas, then you know that fierce competition is waiting for you to slow down your local marketing initiatives.
In times like these, it’s important to maintain a consistent framework of outputs that will allow you to stand out in local search results.
Here is a checklist of the 5 areas for you to focus on if you only have 30 minutes a week or less to devote to local marketing efforts.
1. Optimize Your Google Business Profile Listing And Social Profiles
A complete and verified Google Business Profile listing is one of the cornerstones of local SEO.
One of the biggest mistakes marketers make in local SEO is simply uploading a minimal amount of information to Google Business Profile (GBP) and then putting it on autopilot.
A powerful lever to getting your business higher in local SEO listings is having all of your name, address, and phone number (NAP) information completed, as well as adding pictures, categories, hours of operation, and so much more.
Once your GBP listing is filled out, you need to make sure it is verified. Verification can happen through phone, text, email, or video. Here are the instructions you need to make sure it is verified.
Once it’s verified, this is where you need to make sure that you are paying attention to your listing to respond to reviews or questions from customers.
Check back in at least monthly (if not more) to upload new images and check on the performance of your listing within GBP.
Follow this same process for your main social media profiles.
Local search queries in social media have gone up drastically in the last decade, and you want to make sure you can just as easily be found on Google as you can on Facebook and Twitter.
2. Complete A Job, Ask For A Review
Generating five-star reviews is one of the most impactful ways to increase your presence in local search engine results pages (SERPs).
By increasing your average rating and volume of ratings, local SERPs tend to float those results higher. Additionally, the social proof extracted from five-star reviews is an invaluable way to get customers to trust your brand.
Before you put out concerted efforts to generate reviews, you need to be cautious in how you request reviews from customers.
There are ‘review filters’ on platforms like Yelp that will omit certain reviews or penalize your business listing if they look like they were unnaturally solicited from the business owner.
Here are two effective ways to generate more reviews (without getting them filtered):
- Manually: After your finish a job or deliver a product or service, simply ask for the review and leave a link (on the invoice) to where your customer can go to leave their review.
- Automated: Tools like GradeUs, Birdeye, and GatherUp all offer automated solutions for pushing people to your social profiles to leave a review. If your business has more than three to five new customers each week, this is the more convenient and effective route (compared to manually asking for the review).
3. Create Localized Blog Or Website Page Content
Your business needs a level of localized content on it to rank in local search
Without local signals on your site, search engines are less likely to associate you with your targeted geography.
Here are a few common ways to localize your content:
On your product/service pages, include localized modifiers within the copy and image descriptions so that your audience makes the localized connection.
One of the biggest mistakes local businesses make in building out their product pages is that they make the copy so generic that the page could be used for a business in any city.
Conversely, you shouldn’t stuff your web copy with localized terms. Search engines are pretty good at demoting your content when your copy looks unnaturally stuffed full of local keywords.
The best way to check for this is to read your copy aloud to a friend. If it sounds unnatural to either of you, then you might have gone a little overboard when adding localized keyword modifiers.
If you provide services to locations in your area, show images of your work with a description of the type of product/service you offer and a few localized modifiers in the description.
If your business has multiple locations, then each of your locations should have its own page on your site.
On these branch pages, you’ll want to include your NAP, hours of operation, description of where your branch is located, and images of your location (both inside and outside, if possible). These branch pages should also be linked to their individual GBP page.
The good thing about local SEO and link building is that, in most cases, you don’t need to build thousands of links. Rather, in most cases, you only need a handful more than your local competitors do to help your SEO positioning.
The easiest way to build backlinks to your site is to generate them from the businesses with which you have a relationship.
Here are a couple of scenarios touching on the types of links you could pursue within common day-to-day business activities:
- An electrical or HVAC company has a professional connection with a local realtor. The realtor commonly refers this service provider to their network of clients (by word of mouth). Depending on the realtor’s site, the service provider could get a link back to the realtor’s site if it has a ‘trusted local providers’ section.
- A business owner sponsors a booth at the local fair each year. This is a prime opportunity to get a citation and a link by making sure that your business is listed somewhere on the fair’s website.
So as a first step, put together a list of all of the business connections you have in your area, and identify the reasons why these connections would link to you.
5. Generate Local Citations
Citations are simply mentions of your business name, address, and phone number on a website.
Citations are mainly found in general local directories (like Google Maps) but can also be found in niche-specific directories like APlaceForMom.com, which is a directory site specific to senior living.
Citations don’t necessarily need to contain a link for you to get value. Google looks at mentions of your business name as a signal of local authority.
Here are the two main ways to grow your citations:
- Manually: The easiest way to get your first few citations are by listing your business on Google Maps, Yelp, Bing, and Facebook. Consistency is key as you are filling out your business profiles on these sites. If your business address is on a boulevard, then avoid using different combinations of that spelling or initials each time you create a new listing.
- Automated: There are local citation-building tools from Moz, BrightLocal, Semrush, and more. Though these tools have a fee, they simply have you enter your business information and then go out and do all the listing creation for you.
Personally, I like a blend of both of these methods because automated listing tools can’t always fill out every field of information or completely verify profiles.
To get started, focus your initial efforts on Google, Yelp, Bing, and Facebook.
Then look for 5 to 10 niche-specific directories (that regularly show up in search listings for your target keywords) and aim to get your business listed there.
In conclusion, even though you may not have a lot of time to dedicate to local SEO, that doesn’t mean you can’t generate some impressive results.
You simply need to be strategic about how you use that time and what areas you focus on.
Devoting 30 minutes a week to the 5 areas we covered above will result in more traffic, leads, and customers for your business within a matter of months.