How many times a month do you use your mobile phone or computer to search for nearby businesses? Chances are you do this multiple times a day, every day…and you’re not alone.
According to Search Engine Land, about 60% of people are using the Internet to find a service in their areas. More importantly for business owners, 50% of consumers who use their smartphone to do a local search will visit a local store within the same day. 34% of those who use a computer or tablet do the same.
It is more critical than ever to show up at the top of search engine results so a potential customer can see your business first. In order to get those coveted positions, companies, and marketers employ Search Engine Optimization, popularly known as SEO.
What You Need To Know About SEO
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is the practice of increasing a website’s visibility in search engine results through organic means. The key word is ‘organic’ which basically means you do not have to pay for the results.
SEO can be highly complex because both technical and creative elements must work together in order to increase a website’s ranking. This includes a variety of factors such as a webpage’s back-end coding, the value of content to users, the quality of links to your website, and many others.
While anyone can pay for online advertising (often referred to as Pay Per Click), it is much harder to convince Google and other search engines that your website is useful for most people and therefore, deserves to appear at the top of their searches.
For small- to mid-sized business owners, a successful organic SEO plan can become an important aspect of your growth strategy. Not only is it inexpensive, it can provide a long-term path to success.
- Consumers are more likely to click on organic search results and ignore the paid results.
- Organic search results on the first page account for approximately 70% of all clicks.
- Only 15% of all clicks go to Google Paid Ads.
A good SEO strategy will help your business appear on the first page of organic search engine results, which leads to more customers finding your location and increasing your sales.
Location, Location, Location
Local SEO is a component of online marketing that focuses on promoting a business to local customers.
For many small- to medium-sized businesses, it is more important to rank higher for local searches than for national searches. For example, if you are the owner of a restaurant in Puente Hills, California, people who are physically near your location are more valuable for your business.
While there are several factors that contribute to successful local SEO, one of the most important is the accuracy of your Business Name, Address and Phone Number (or NAP) on any websites or directories that mention your business.
Local SEO: Everything you should know about NAP
Local search engines like Google rely on the accuracy and consistency of a business’s Name, Address and Phone number (NAP) in order to validate a local business as legitimate. Each listing is called a citation and counts toward the ranking algorithm used by search engines.
It is very important that you provide the same information in every directory. For example, if your business name is listed as “Nicko’s Spa” in some local directories but “Nickos’ Spa” in others, search engines will count these as different businesses.
Inconsistent information can lead to duplicate listings, which is confusing to customers and reduces the impact of your SEO efforts. Google and other search engines cannot determine which of the duplicate listing is accurate and therefore, can be trusted. For search engines, trustworthiness equals authority, and ultimately helps a business land on page one of search results.
Outrank your competitors
Because people are increasingly doing searches from their mobile phone, it is a good idea to make sure your business is listed correctly on the most popular navigation apps: Google Maps, Apple Maps, and Waze.
Navigation apps use satellite technology to lead users directly to businesses that meet their immediate needs. On top of that, map listings also include important information such as phone number, store hours, and photos of the exterior that make it an extremely valuable resource for customers.
It is not surprising that Google Map and Apple Map navigation apps ranked among the most used services in terms of mobile audience reach. As of June 2017, Google Maps app was accessed by 56.4 percent of mobile audiences. Apple Maps was used by 19.6% of mobile audiences.
Even so, the majority of the local businesses have not claimed their business on Google Maps, Apple Maps and Waze. This is a huge opportunity for savvy business people. By properly claiming your business on these navigation apps, you will be a step or two ahead of your competition!
Increase your visibility without increasing your budget
Map listings are a simple, easy, and affordable way to reach customers at the moment they are most ready to use your service. Best of all, it is free to claim your listing on these navigation services, so what are you waiting for?
We will do another post with step-by-step instructions for claiming your business on the top navigation apps. If you want to get started on your own, here are some resources: