How Can You Win in Local Search?

Better Local Search Optimisation for Better Business

If your website isn’t good enough for Google and you haven’t given any thought to SEO and Local Search, then you will be losing customers. There is no doubt about that.

The scary thing is that even big businesses get this so wrong and that's a real worry if you work for a multi-location business. When that happens smaller businesses will sneak in under the radar and steal their custom.

I wrote last year about a Local Search experience I had when I looked for “diy shop near me” and Homebase appeared on Google Maps along with a small local hardware shop. I could even see the opening hours for both shops. It being a Sunday afternoon, the smaller shop was shut so I headed to Homebase. On my way I passed B&Q! B&Q hadn't invested in Local Search so the small shop had beaten them on Google.

You lose. Your competitors win.

Perhaps B&Q doesn’t care. Perhaps it just doesn’t know how to fix the problem. When people approach me, they usually start by asking “Why don’t I have a pin on that map that’s in the search results?” or “Why haven’t I got one of those boxes on the right of the screen with information about my business?”. Worse still, they want to know why the box on the right is inaccurate and the photos have nothing to do with their business. Some will ask where the negative reviews come from. These are the things that matter to my clients. Do they matter to you?

Does Your Business Look Open?

If you search for "Red Lion Oxford" then you expect to see listings for pubs called the Red Lion in Oxford popping up on your screen. Now I don't actually know if there is a pub called the Red Lion in the middle of Oxford but let's just pretend there is. If that pub's website doesn't meet Google's mobile-friendly requirements then it will probably not be top of the search results. It will be listed after lots of other mobile-friendly websites for pubs called the Red Lion.

The searcher will start to wonder if the Red Lion they want still exists and they might search for an alternative place to visit. They might decide they like the look of another pub more. Worse still, if they searched for "menu red lion pub oxford" and the competitors' menu appears right there in the search results, our imaginary publican has just lost a valuable customer.

Can Anyone Find You?

Local Search Tips

Tip: Even if you think your site is mobile friendly, it might not be. Check it now with Google's own tool. It is invaluable!
Tip: If you want to find out more about how your site performs in other ways or if you want to see how your competitors are really doing, ask about our free professional reports offer.

Who Gets the Customers Attention?

There are so many other things to think about if you want to stop another dental practice, law firm or spa/health retreat from stealing your clients. If you don't grab the customer's attention, your competitor will.

Local Search Strategy

In Local Search the devil is in the detail. "Keep it strategic, Kate" said someone recently. So here's the strategy:

  1. If you want to rank well for a location, move there
  2. Make your website excellent
  3. Tell Google, Apple, Facebook and Bing as much as possible about yourself
  4. Tell the "people" Google respects as much as possible about yourself
  5. Sweat the small stuff.

You might not think that detail is strategic but in Local Search you would be wrong. It's strategic like mortar is strategic. Without it your bricks don't stick together.

Since I launched my free SEO reports offer, I’ve reviewed businesses whose websites are so slow that they’re getting listed as Not Mobile Friendly (read this great article from SEOroundtable. That's a disaster if your customers are looking for their nearest sandwich shop from their mobile phone. (If you want to know what counts as slow, read what Google’s John Mueller said on Twitter).

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What Can These Reports Show?

I have discovered sites where over 90% their traffic comes from branded search. You might think it’s good if people search for your business by name but what about all those people who need your services but have never heard of you? If you are a law firm you need people to find you by your specialisms and your location too.

There’s magic in getting all the details right. When you capture people at the moment they search for advice, you answer their question and then you turn them into a customer. This Moz blog explains brilliantly how big and small local businesses can win great customers when they invest in their websites.

Wouldn't you like to know you can do to win more business? Simply grab your own free SEO report and I'll let you know how you match up. Or do you want to stalk your competitors to discover what they've got right? I can tell you that too.


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