How To Avoid Local SEO Problems Part 1: Business Plan & Location
As we’ve been talking about lately, local SEO can make or break your small business, especially if you’re only able to serve your local community. Everyone these days looks online to first find your product or service, and then to see if you’re worthy of their purchase (reviews, clear simple website, etc.).
There are some very common mistakes that we marketers see all the time. Many of these are simple to fix too, it’s just a matter of being aware of them and your business will flourish!
This is especially important for new businesses, or businesses just getting online. Do things right the first time before they become a hamper on your long-term success. If you’ve made some of these mistakes, no worries, just fix them now rather than later :).
The name of your business is incredibly important and can either help or hurt you depending on what you choose…
While big brands with names that have nothing to do with what they are (Banana Boat is a well known sunscreen brand) are able to succeed, a new business with such a name will be competing with other things, like actual banana boats in this example.
You also don’t want your name to be limiting, especially if you ever plan to expand your services, move to a new area, or grow into something you can’t even imagine yet.
Google in particular is particular about their location data. To rank your Google My Business listing, you must have a real address (PO boxes don’t count, and neither do virtual un-staffed offices). No worries if you don’t have an office or you’re a service provider. Just give your home address and select the option to hide your address in these cases. Google will need to send a postcard to this address with a code to verify that your business is real.
If your business is located slightly outside the city you want to rank for, this will not fly in search results. Google has boundaries in Google Maps, and usually these run true for ranking ability.
Business Policies & Expectations
It’s necessary to create some policies for situations that may arise as your brand becomes more popular, such as spam comments on your website or social media.
If you are a new company, depending on your industry and the online competition, don’t expect to beat everyone out in a week. SEO is the long term strategy and the only way you’ll win is to not give up. For fast results at the beginning, consider investing in PPC – the paid ads on top of search results or display ads on relevant websites.
Ensure you’ve done enough research about your local area to decide if the demand is high enough for your product or service. SEO cannot deliver miracles, at least not overnight, and it certainly can’t create a demand for product that doesn’t exist!
One of the most important things of course is to portray a clear message to your desired audience. If people don’t understand why they should buy from you instead of your competitor down the street, there’s no telling who they’ll choose to give their money to.
Come up with one sentence that clearly describes your business and the extra value you deliver to your customers (10 words or less is best). This “value statement” will give you and your team the clarity you need to be truly successful!