Is this Pandemic Affecting Your Local Business? These Local SEO strategies should help

Guna Nadar
DMCA.com by - 5/21/2020 536 Views

Why local businesses should focus on local SEO strategies amidst the COVID-19 pandemic?

Google Local SEO strategies

The COVID-19 pandemic is affecting lives across the globe. It has wreck havoc not only in our day to day lives but also for businesses. The economic collapse is affecting businesses around the world. But don’t lose hope, it will come to an end.

Heraclitus said it right “Nothing endures but change

Stay home stay safe and in the meantime, you can still use local SEO strategies to uphold your business effectively in different ways. 

Yes, you heard that right. Your company can benefit from local SEO during this pandemic!

But how?

Eventually, things will get back to normal. And SEO will still be one of the most successful ways to reach customers. Businesses that implement effective local SEO strategies during these downtimes will enjoy the positive outcomes when things normalize.

Are you ready to get started? Let's start from the basics!

What is Local SEO?

Local SEO refers to the practice of optimizing the online presence of a business/service to attract prospects from local search. It is aimed at making sure your business gets featured when people in your locality search for a product or service you offer. These include searches with some geo qualifiers like state, city, and ‘near me’ searches

Why local SEO is so important?

Local SEO is more important than ever if you own a business that offers a service in a specific locality. According to a recent research, businesses that aren’t optimized for local search could be missing out 80% of potential customers. Moreover, ‘Near me’ searches have grown 150% faster than comparable searches (Google). These statistics prove how important focusing on local SEO strategies continues to be for businesses.

How COVID-19 Pandemic is affecting Local Businesses?

The spread of COVID-19 is having a devastating impact on local businesses. It is an uncertain time with so many unknowns. From curfews to social distancing and Government mandated closures, local businesses are suffering the hardships of COVID-19. The crisis will come to an end. But until then we have to stay informed and do everything possible to protect our local businesses.

To help you optimize your business, we have created a guide that will cover a few tactics to build up your local SEO strategies during the pandemic.

1. Create and Optimize your ‘Google My Business Page’:

Google My Business (GMB) is a free, easy to use and most significant tool for businesses and organisations to manage their online presence across Google, including maps and search.

Did you know?

According to a leading research:

  • A business receives 59 actions from their GMB listing.
  • Calls from GMB grew 22% between in the last few years.

38% of consumers recall visiting a website from the business’s GMB listing

Optimizing your GMB page is one of the evident, yet the most important tactics to strengthen your local SEO strategies. Getting on GMB can boost your chances of showing up in the search engine’s Local Pack, Google Maps, Local Finder, and organic rankings in general. Moreover, a research says that, 90% of consumers use internet to look for local information. For that reason, it is best advised that local businesses should take advantage of the GMB listing to show up in the Google maps and search results.

If your GMB has already been claimed, that’s fine you can focus on optimizing it. But, if you are new to GMB, to take advantage of this, you should first create a Google My Business page for your business.

How to Create Google My Business Page?

To claim your GMB page, go to Google My Business page or click here. There are a few details Google want you to fill to complete your profile. Make sure that every piece of information you enter are accurate.

Once done, your listing will have the basic data that will make it easier for your prospects to find about your business or the services you offer.

Wait, you are not done yet! Next, you have to verify your business. Please note that you must verify your business in order to use GMB to its fullest. Once verified, your business is ready to go on GMB.

That’s it. You are done. You now have your GMB listing all set up. Now it’s time to take advantage of the value it can bring to your business.

So, how can you make sure that your GMB listing is working at its full potential? Yes, you got it right, GMB optimization is your way to go.

Optimizing Google My Business listing:

Optimizing Google My Business offers a bunch of benefits for local business owners with a promise of more reviews, greater local search visibility, and enhanced information for local customers.

To do that, check and make sure that you:

  • Your NAP is consistent everywhere.
  • Make sure that all the details you have provided are accurate and up-to-date.
  • Add relevant images, payment options exact location, the products and services you offer, and hours of operation.
  • Encourage your happy customers to add their reviews and ratings.
  • Always be quick to respond authentically to the reviews, specifying the location.
  • You should also respond to negative reviews. This will show how seriously you take and placate even the unhappy buyers.

GMB Updated for COVID-19 Pandemic:

According to Google CEO Sundar Pichai, Google is doing in response to the corona virus outbreak. Google search and maps will show if a place or business is temporarily closed. 

Google My Business has now created a unique type of post that is created explicitly for COVID-19 announcements. The new announcement options include:

  • New operating hours 
  • Products stock announcements for items in high demand
  • Temporary closure 
  • Regular service changes 
  • Safety precautions being implemented by business 

When you use the COVID-19 update post, it will show up at the top of your business profile in local search results. 

2. NAP Consistency:

You should make it easier for your prospects and the search engine to find you. That’s where NAP comes into play. According to experts, NAP consistency is one of the most important factors of local SEO.

So, what is NAP in Local SEO?

NAP is the acronym for Name, Address, Phone Number. It refers to the information that is shown about you or your business on any site that lists it. NAP is significant for businesses wanting to rank higher in the local search results. This is because Google takes these data into account when deciding which businesses to show for location specific searches. Hence it is safe to say that NAP is a critical component of any local SEO strategies.

What does NAP Consistency mean?

According to Local SEO experts Google cross refer your NAP information across different websites as a validation that yours is a legitimate business.

Your NAP data is consistent when your company information are accurately and identically listed across all online platforms which include social media accounts, your website, business listings and any other third party websites.

Be cautious, if Google come across inconsistent information about your business, chances are you may lose potential, high-intent customers. So make sure that any change in your contact details are updated on all of your listings accordingly.

3. Build Local Citations & Links with Relevance and Authority:

Did you know?

  • The best way to get high quality backlinks, create unique, relevant and high-quality contents. - Google
  • Search Engines often use the number of backlinks a website has as one of the most important Google ranking factors. - Wikipedia

Building local citations are vital for local SEO success. Citations are mentions of local business with consistent NAP on business portals, chamber of commerce, local sites, industry specific niches. Here is a guide on how to build local citations.  Inbound links are one of the crucial elements in Google's Local Search Algorithm. Also known as backlinks, these links occur when some other website links back to yours. Google considers backlinks as an indicator that your website has high-quality content, this makes these links one of the most important elements in local SEO.  Hence it is a great way to go if you are focusing on local SEO strategies.

Local Citations & Links

Every inbound link tells the search engine that yours is a legitimate company, and it can also raise your domain authority. Some link building strategies to earn backlinks include:

Write Guest Blog Posts:

Writing guest blogs is a good idea to attract links. Talk positively to and about other people in your industry. Show up as a result provider for the community. If you are active in community conversations, the buzz around you would grow in the form of backlinks and media coverage.

Conduct Free Webinars and Achieve Copies Online:

Sponsor webinars. If it is informative, your attendees will share it. You can also create slide share presentations and embed those into blog posts and webinars landing page so that people looking to sign up for a webinar that is already over, can check out the presentation.

Sponsor Charities, Local Events, or Organizations:

Google doesn't appreciate paid backlinks. It will get you penalized. But sponsoring charities, local events, or organizations that result in inbound links to your website is acceptable. Look for some local events you love and sponsor those and ask them to include your link on their website.

4. Encourage your Customers to give Reviews:

Did you know?

According to a Survey:

  • 82% of consumers read online reviews for local businesses. Among customers who read reviews, 97% read the responses of businesses’ to reviews. 
  • The average consumer read ten reviews before feeling able to trust a company. 

As a business owner, you would be implementing as many local SEO strategies as you can to make your business rank higher in local search results. However, there are so many factors that go into a consumers’ decision to purchase from your business or company.

According to a research, customers trust recommendations from family and friends over any online marketing. Another leading research found that 57% of customers visit a company's website after reading positive reviews. This means that reviews help with your local SEO strategies

Courteous treatment will make a customer a walking advertisement. – James Cash Penney

Customer reviews

 

Get your customers to write glowing positive reviews on your business or service. Here are a few tips to encourage your customers to leave reviews. 

  • Ask for reviews in person after the close of a sale
  • Target satisfied customers when you make the ask 
  • Make writing a review as simple as possible 
  • Send post-purchase text or email asking them to write a review 
  • Respond to reviews in a professional way

5. Ensure your Website is Mobile-Friendly:

Did you know?

  • 78% of local mobile search result in-store or online purchase
  • 50% of people who does a local mobile search visit a business within 24 hour

Having a mobile friendly website is an absolute must nowadays. Google introduced mobile friendly ranking algorithm in April 2015 and since then almost everything on the web is mobile friendly.

There is huge difference between searching on mobile and desktop. When you search on a mobile device, Google knows exactly where you are and the results displayed are customized according to your physical location.

Mobile Friendly Websites

Moreover, during this shutdown as a result of the pandemic, most people will be scrolling their mobile phones. All these confirm that you have to optimize your website for mobile to be a player in local SEO. 

How should Mobile Site Design look like? 

It should have the same fonts, colours, and other branding elements as your desktop site. But when I say what it should look like, I’m not talking about a style guide. I am talking about the elements present on a mobile-optimized site.

Google has an excellent tool for testing if your website has a mobile-friendly design. Enter the URL here and click on the analyze button. You would get a list of suggestions to improve in case your site did not pass the test. 

If you pass the test, that's great. Go concentrate on enhancing the overall user experience.

Take Away:

It is a tragedy for the world, many businesses and people are affected by the pandemic. It is unfortunately clear that our day to day lives has changed as a result of the COVID - 19 virus outbreak. But this is not permanent, and life has to go on. Remain indoors and invest in local SEO strategies. Work with a local SEO Company like White Digital, and when the pandemic finally comes to an end, we should be ready to rebuild our economy and life.

 

Category :

SEO News

Tags :

local SEO, Building local citations

About Guna Nadar

Guna Nadar

Brief Info about Guna Nadar +

I mostly write technical aspects and not much into creative writing. For the past decade I worked along with top notch SEO & Internet Marketing professionals which naturally lured me into the world of Search Engines. When I am not writing I read from comics to philosophy.Antiques, Fishing, hunting are my passions. Currently I am working on Google Penalty protection and .... more info