If you have a small business or you’re a solo agent, it can be exhausting to compete with large brokerages and other real estate firms’ marketing ploys and boundless finances for SEO campaigns. Thankfully, search providers have made it possible to make your local presence known, despite having behemoth neighbors in your search results. Read on to find out why we love local search and how to use big business tricks to your advantage.
How You Get Found Online: Google’s Search Algorithm
Google has spent years perfecting their particular brand of search query results to make it as effective as possible. The good thing is that Google takes a lot into consideration when ranking websites within their database. The local search algorithm of Google is greatly affected by a company’s presence on Google+, which is the most important social network in terms of online search. There are over 200 factors that contribute to one’s ability to rank well in Google’s search results. We’re just going to focus on the low hanging fruit here, but if you want to learn more about local search ranking factors, check out David Mihn’s Moz article that goes into much more detail.
Your Business Address is Everything
In order to set up a Google+ page for your business, you will have to prove your business’s address to Google. First, send them your address. They will send you a pin number via snail mail, which you can then enter into your Google+ account. Not only does this prove that you own the business, but it will also help send traffic to your website.
Research has shown that the most detrimental factor in local search success is an incorrect address. The NAP information (Name, Address and Phone) is crucial to being relevant online, so triple check your website and Google+ page!
Success is the sum of small efforts, repeated day in and day out.
— ROBERT COLLIER
While waiting for your pin, you can still create your business profile. Along with a 300 word description of your business, you can also upload a video and as many as 60 photos that represent your business. When your page is visited, only 5 of those photos will be displayed on your front page. These photos and videos will also show up in local Google searches.
It’s All Going Mobile
So once that account is properly set up, how are people searching for you? Remember, people want to access online results quickly and easily. That means customers will be looking for results using their mobile devices and, if they don’t find anything about yours, they’ll give their business to someone else. As of 2013, 62% of all local Internet searches are performed on a mobile device.That’s a huge chunk of traffic, and local businesses deserve a bite from it.
Enhance those results!
Enhancing the search results of local users will also help you grow your business. With mobile search queries at an all time high, we recommend looking into developing your existing website for mobile conversion. This can be crucial to making yourself a frontrunner in your sector of a local market. Another way to dominate results is by utilizing Google authorship. If you run a blog for your business, you will want to make sure the blog is connected to your Google+ account. Here’s an example of a website that integrate their online platforms seamlessly:
Quality over Quantity
While you’re making those enhancements, encourage your customers to post positive reviews about your business online. Yelp.com is a well-known review site for local businesses, but you should also have your customers leave positive reviews on your Google+ page. David Mihm illustrates the ecosystem of local search, which explains how fluid the system is and how small adjustments can promote your business. Informative and intelligent reviews on some of these websites are just one way to shift things for online success.
I didn’t get there by wishing for it or hoping for it, but by working for it.
— ESTEE LAUDER
Tools to shake things up
There are many tools you can use to help optimize your local SEO. One of the best tools to include is Get Listed. This tool is available free of charge and gives you a list of every website on the Internet that your business is mentioned on.
The Google + Local Page analysis tool will also help you easily make sure that the information on each of your Google + pages is both consistent and accurate in its nature. Remember to internally link within your blog posts or website copy. Another great resource is the Moz Rank Tracker. It’s a great way to keep up with how your keywords and searches are coming together in an easy-to-read format.
Local search is the best way to get your business the recognition it deserves. Taking even some of these steps can grow your Internet presence by leaps and bounds. Just remember that Internet search is not a perfect science, so make adjustments accordingly.