Local SEO and Service Based Companies
Marketers, search engine wizards, and techies alike understand the concept of search engine optimization or SEO. As a practice, SEO is an organic, long-term set of consistent actions that increases web visibility for specific sites. However, when it comes to local search engine results or local SEO, it can get a little hairy. It comes with the key word of that phrase, “local”. Small service-based companies, especially ones that don’t have a ‘brick and mortar’ base of operations, or have multiple locations, often find themselves frustrated with lack of acknowledgment as a legitimate business by everyone. If you aren’t in a business bureau listing or if you don’t have the brand recognition of a franchisee, it is all too easy for a small service-based business to look illegitimate. Especially to someone like their customer base.
That is why so many small service-based businesses, rely on the internet for connections, advertising, and revenue. However, because there are so many people who are relying on the internet as they are starting out, it is far too easy for broken promises, lousy service, and outright scammy behavior.
So, what can a legitimate service-based business do to gain awareness from their potential clientele locally? And, what is the right/ wrong way to go about it? Here are a few things to keep in mind.
Be Mindful of Presentation
First impressions are everything, whether we like it or not. You cannot claim to know or have something without some sort of evidence to back it up. So, if you want to make sure your clients, and Google are less likely to turn you away, you need to put the extra effort in the visual aesthetic of your promotional materials. Whether it is a website or a printed out sign, you want to give a unified and comprehensive message about what service you offer.
So, don’t be sloppy when you are trying to advertise your local service based business on and offline. Ask a professional, or someone who is good at spotting details to make sure the message you want to send is the right one.
In terms of Local SEO, make sure that your information is relevant to what you offer in the immediate area. Talk about what your business entails and show visible examples of your training. This will increase the likelihood of a client picking up your company for a job. Also, check to make your your website and social media is updated, and easy for others to navigate. Google give you a small boost in both local and non-local search rankings if your site is easy for people to both navigate and understand.
It is absolutely important that you want to put your best foot forward. But you also don’t want give off the impression of inauthenticity. If you are trying to promise something that you can’t deliver, or if you are trying to “cheat” the system both on and offline, you will pay in the long term. That can look like a Google penalty online, or a lawsuit/ out of business sign offline.
Keep a Constant Online and Offline Presence in the Local Sphere
The advantage of not having a physical location, is that you can go anywhere. You can make appointments at any place, with any person, at any time. The world is your oyster. However, the minute you stop meeting with people, networking, and making yourself visible, you are much more likely going to be completely and utterly forgotten. The same principle works online as well as offline. If you keep your website updated, reach others through social media, and keep your information updated, you will receive a higher priority for Local SEO rankings. However, if you leave it sitting on its own and do nothing to draw attention to your business site, and avoid listing your location to match for relevant searches, you are going to be much less likely to get a positive rating or attention from google algorithms.
Pay Attention to Accuracy in Local Listings
If you are working from home with a P.O Box, or if you have multiple locations and only one building, do not attempt to add a listing for a location that isn’t there. Google Maps is first and foremost about the accurate indexing of physical locations. If Maps sends direction to a location that is not there, it looks bad for them. Especially, to anyone who is relying on Maps for credible information. Because Google wants people using it to trust them for information, it cannot afford to send out bad information in the name of advertising. So if you go out of your way to falsify a location listing you will not only be penalized but will also lose out on the time and money that you spent trying to get it on there in the first place.
Some of the things that you can do instead, according to Miriam Ellis at MOZ is :
1) Go after organic rankings for that city via the authority you build surrounding website content+links for that city.
2) Pay for visibility with locally-targeted PPC.
3) Use social media to try to build brand awareness for your work in that city.
4) Do everything you can to encourage word-of-mouth among existing customers. Customers in your location have friends and family elsewhere. Make a superior effort to offer the type of superior service that would cause the your customers to recommend your services to others. Consider how loyalty programs might assist with this. Perhaps every customer who brings you a new customer gets a voucher for a free dinner, free massage, etc.
5) Explore building relationships with related businesses in a nearby local location you are trying to break into. Perhaps your company does everything but bake the cake for weddings. Find the best bakers in City B and see how you can help one another in terms of lead generation.
If you are accurate with the information you have, are mindful of your presentation, and are actively communicating with your clientele, then you will no doubt see your service based business and your Local SEO search results grow. Just put yourself out there and make a conscious effort. If you don’t know about something like Local SEO, you can always ask us at www.purpletieguys.com.