3 Simple Ways for Every Business to Achieve Local Online Traffic
The internet can be a big, scary world and mastering search engine discoverability has literally become a science. It is a daunting task for a small business to understand and implement the necessary plan needed to achieve massive organic website discoverability. Our suggestion is to start smaller by mastering local online traffic.
1. Understand The Local Three Pack
Prior to August, 2015, Google listed seven local business listings at the top of their search results, prioritizing local online traffic and then displaying listings that appear organically and paid ads below. In August, 2015, they reduced the 7-Pack to a 3-Pack. The newly designed local pack shows fewer listings and is more mobile friendly. Google’s goal was to provide more information in a more user friendly interface about the top three local listings.
So, how can your local business make it to the 3 Pack?
- Consistently use your business name, address, and phone number (NAP) across many sources because Google places weight on information accuracy.
- Become active on local listing sites such as churches, the local Chamber of Commerce, or Kiwanis Club to generate local online traffic through backlinks and
- Make sure that your existing website takes advantage of responsive design.
- Optimize website content to include local information and keywords.
- Keep your Google Places and YellowPages.com listings current.
There is already talk about the 3-Pack becoming the 2-Pack in favor of “paid for inclusion” in local results. Basically, two local businesses will be organic and one will be an advertisement. Small businesses that are interested in being included in the top local listings will need to prepare now.
2. Encourage Customer Reviews
Google has confirmed on several occasions that customer reviews and ratings are a factor when ranking local businesses. Moz has estimated that customer reviews are 8.4% of the ‘local ranking pie.’ As an added bonus, reviews give your local listing those pretty little stars that help your business to stand out.
Here are a few ways to encourage customers to review your business:
- Entice customers to submit online reviews with discounts or other incentives.
- Simply ask customers to leave reviews once you are sure they are satisfied.
- Include links to review sites in emails and on your website.
- Enroll in several review sites, to make it convenient for customers to leave reviews.
Earning a steady stream of reviews is an important part of increasing local online traffic. Not only will the reviews improve local ranking, but it will also influence customer confidence. And do not be afraid of negative reviews. Consumers do not expect your business to be perfect. Your handling of a negative review can speak volumes for or against your business.
3. Invest Time in Google My Business
Google My Business is free and is essential to local discoverability. Allowing for updating of Google search, Google Maps, and Google+ from one dashboard is convenient and provides a one-stop shop for small business owners. Google favors their own platform and updating Google My Business helps with higher local rankings. The following may be accessed from the new dashboard:
- Google+. Share new photos, links, videos, etc.
- After verifying your business, the dashboard will provide visibility insights.
- Managing reviews on Google is easy now and reviews from other sites can be viewed from the dashboard.
- Google Analytics. One click access to the Analytics dashboard adds efficiency and ease.
Google My Business assists local businesses with managing accurate business information from one convenient dashboard while improving local online traffic. Win-Win!
When tackling search engines on a large scale seems overwhelming, small businesses can start with mastering their local search and then grow from there.