With the recent Google Pigeon update, local businesses are scrambling like mad in reaction to the changes. If you’re not showing up at all in the results, shouldn’t you be concerned?
While we shouldn’t panic just yet (I think they’re still working out the kinks), you still need to get serious about local search marketing. If you are not familiar with local SEO, you might want to start with my e-book Local Search eBook to help you figure out all the ways local SEO can help your business.
Don’t Stop Believin’
Just because things have changed, doesn’t mean stuff you’ve been doing before isn’t relevant. Take it from the old timers like me, there are still best practices that work.
Some examples include:
- Managing your listings
- Making sure you have a continuous and engaging social media presence
- Using traditional on-page tactics
- Getting listed on Google My Business
- Getting listed on local directories (Yelp still seems to be favorite around here)
- Use tools like Local Site Submit (made by my company)
They Love You, They Really Love You!
Speaking of getting listed on local directories, have you optimized your profile and are you getting reviews?
I’ve said this many times before – make sure you are collecting email addresses. This is one of the best ways to reach your target audiences. That’s not to say social media and other Internet marketing efforts aren’t good, but having an email list means people willingly gave you their information. In other words, they pretty much expect you to contact them eventually.
And believe me, people love sharing their opinion when given the chance. So why not give them an outlet to do so? Take that list and feel free to contact them, and guide them where you want them to provide feedback. Sure, directories make sense since directories tend to rank higher in results than anything else, but make sure you switch up your tactics to ensure you have a good amount of reviews in every listing you’re on.
I don’t know about you, but I love going to events, hosting events, and promoting events. Aside from the food, and great company, it truly is a great way to get foot traffic to your local business.
Every year I promote a Local Social, where industry Search, Social and Content specialists come together for a conference in the Dallas area to support Traumatic Brain Injury awareness, a charity close to my heart.
I mention the Local Social as an example of an event any local business can do. If you already do such things as contest and local promotions, promoting it online not only improves foot traffic, but helps you build your online reputation as well.
Once you’ve figured out what type of event or promotion you want, it’s time to get down and dirty with promoting it online.
If you decide to host an event, here are just a few ideas to get you started:
- Getting event sponsors: If you’re a service based company (like a dentist), you might want to get some sponsors to help promote events. What attendee doesn’t want to get free stuff? Besides, sponsors help you promote you and your business as well, so I consider it a win-win.
- Creating hashtags: Want people to share your event? Go ahead and get social. Social media, that is. Give your visitors the opportunity to further the success of your event. Help people help spread the word and get audiences buzzing.
- Optimizing information on your site/adding it to local directories: It’s very crucial to make sure you provide accurate and comprehensive information. For example, don’t mention the day of the week to attend, write down the date, give directions on how to get there, and a schedule if appropriate. Make it easy for them to find you.
- Fundraiser: Partner with a cause you’re passionate about and do a fundraiser on that day. As I said, we support TryMunity.com a social media site that supports Traumatic Brain Injury Awareness.
- New product promotion: If you have a new product to release make it a media event. Be creative and schedule local promotional event around the lunch.
- Toy drives/food drives: Every year we plan and host a local food or toy drive. Just find a local charity you’re passionate about and think how you can serve the cause in your community. Making your business location a promoted drop off point for your cause is a great way to give back.
- The press is your best friend: Consider not only press releases, but get the news out there to local publications, online and offline. These sites probably get more traffic than yours, so why not take advantage of it? Even consider asking the local news to cover the event. Think about events that will help the local community, and the press will mostly likely attend.
Last But Not Least
If you do sponsor a local event, don’t forget to partner with your local organizations like your local BBB or local Chamber of Commerce. This will help drive people to your event, get you a citation, and a possible link. By informing your local Chamber of Commerce about the event and other potential supporting groups or associations, they may be willing to post your information on their website and possibly send out an email announcement to their member base as well. Remember, the more exposure the better.
Obviously there are way more strategies you can implement to help boost your local search results. In fact, I’d be really interested in hearing about some of them. What has worked for you? Which ones would you avoid? Let me know in the comments!
Featured Image: Dabarti CGI via Shutterstock
Image #1: Screenshot of The Local Social taken September 2014
Image #2: Michael D Brown via Shutterstock
Image #2: Serenethos via Shutterstock