Websites are built to hopefully reach a wider audience than we could by just working in a specific area. E-bay is built on the essence that once small stores can now offer their goods in an online marketplace reaching a countrywide, even worldwide, potential customer base.
What about the service industry?
No matter what industry, a website can instil trust, a level of service and professionalism, which can generate leads and push your business forward. What if you’re only looking to gain customers in your own service/local area? Having 1000’s of monthly website views is great, but they are not so great if they are global views and you don’t receive a single phone call.
‘How can I target customers in my local area?’ – You ask.
I’m glad you asked that questions, below I’ve listed 10 simple things you can do to optimise your search for local results.
Claim your identity
This is probably the simplest thing you can do. Be part of the map so people can find you easier. Google Places
, Bing Local
and Yahoo Local
give simple instructions taking you through the verification steps (this may include a phone call or letter with verification code sent to your address).
We are now seeing that Google+ searches get ranked higher in results. Make sure you have a Google+ local page
for your business and have completed the profile as thoroughly as you can. Make sure you ensure to add a description, as well as add the correct contact details and opening hours. If you can add some photos (not stock photos) then do so – people want to see the real you.
Ask for reviews!
Not just for your testimonials page on your website! No matter how many you have on your website, potential customers will still look further afield and tend not to trust those given on your site – purely because they can be easily manipulated. Ask your customers to give honest reviews and direct them to Google/Bing/Yahoo Local. Worried about negativity? Don’t be. Bad reviews are not always a bad thing; it shows honesty, and, as long as a majority of the reviews are positive, customers will be able to see the good side of your business.
Think like the customer
It’s easy enough to get carried away with search rankings, and if you are trying to rank for generic terms such as plumber, electrician or builder, you are probably not going to get far. Try thinking more local and more specific to your area. For example, ‘Plumbers in Surrey’ would narrow down the search a bit, but customers may look even closer to home and search for ‘Plumbers in Coulsdon’ instead. Whatever your target area is then you need to target those specific key words. Thinking like the customer may give you less traffic, but will increase the probability in leads from the site.
Display the correct contact information EVERYWHERE
Your contact information should be easily accessible and correct. If you have a business e-mail account make sure someone checks it daily and responds to all e-mails within 24 working hours (if not sooner). Make sure your phone number is displayed so it’s easy to find, and make sure it’s contactable. Being on local directories can be great for building trust, but make sure all the information on the sites are correct.
Mention your location, keywords and services on your website landing page
You’re trying to get noticed locally? Make sure your webpages landing page has the information that potential customers want to see. Add your location to show where you’re from, the services you offer as well as contact information.
These 5 tips should help you on your way. The main thing we should be doing is not focusing on rankings for one search engine. Yes, a large proportion of those with internet access use Google, but that should not discredit Bing, Yahoo or other smaller search engines. When claiming listings make sure you do it across the board to maximise your chances of success. Keep your content fresh on your site and keep up-to-date as much as you can with news regarding your business.
Mobiles are going to play a key factor in searches in the coming year so if you can have your site optimised for mobile devices, you may wish to do so. It makes it easier for users to view your websites key information and can benefit you in search rankings, but we will go into more depth on this subject in a later blog.
If you have any questions or views you would like to add please comment in the space below, we would love to hear your comments.