With the explosion of local businesses on to the net, vying for their fair share of online shoppers, local SEO (targeting local organic traffic) has really taken off. With over 30 million business in the United States competing, local SEO is critical. More than 80% of new customers come from online searches. That figure alone should give any small business owner goosebumps if they have no local visibility. This doesn’t mean that nationwide corporations are off the hook for local SEO planning. Being proactive in this area has proven very effective at drawing in new customers. In case you don’t want to create a complex local SEO process to cultivate local business, there are a few simple measures that you could take to generate more sales.
On the list of simplest activities to do, notably if you are a home-based business, is to simply claim the profiles of your business that already exist. There are a number of search engines and major websites that already have your businesses profile online. Yahoo Local, Bing Local, and Google Places should be the first places you go look. By going through all of the verification steps, you can claim your businesses profile and modify it making sure that it can be found by more people as well as to ensure that it contains accurate and useful information.
Another critical step is to seize control over what information exists about your small business online. Most local listings come from aggregation services that search the internet for information, collect it, and display it in a single place. If these aggregation sites find incorrect information about your business, they will often not know that they are displaying it. One of the most common problems is that incorrect phone numbers and/or addresses could be displayed. This means that a prospective customer could be trying to contact you and be using inaccurate data. In most cases, they will not search for the correct information, but instead move on to the following local business in your niche.
It’s also wise to create a central data location. The Internet has untold numbers of aggregation sites with data about your business. How best to take advantage of this? The answer is to go where your customers typically go. We’re talking about your own website, social networking profiles like a Facebook Fanpage. This will ensure that every customer, regardless of where they find out about your business, will all be directed to the same place. You want to allow these sites to send you traffic, but you also want to make sure that you are taking control of this traffic as soon as possible.
As we discussed, there are already numerous various ways that local organic traffic is already being made available for your business. The main point of today’s article is understanding why local SEO is important and how to make use of aggregation sites. Three simple steps to ensuring this is to first claim all of your business profiles that have already been created for you. Next, you need to take control over the information being shared about your business, especially the phone number and address, although in some cases, you may want to ensure that the right pictures are being shown as well, such as your storefront. Finally, you need to make sure that you have a central location that all of this traffic is sent to, such as your website (either to generate sales directly or to gather leads) or a social network profile.