Running a small business in Philadelphia means that you have a lot of different aspects to consider.
However, one of the most crucial is how you market yourself online.
These days, your customers are using the internet to find you, which means that you have to make sure you’re doing everything you can to connect with them.
While various marketing tactics can help push your brand to the next level, it will all be for naught if you don’t have one of the most valuable elements already locked and loaded.
We’re talking, of course, about local SEO.
We want to make sure that you’re promoting your business the right way online, which is why it’s crucial that you understand everything there is to know about local SEO.
Without this strategy in place, you’ll find it far more challenging to build your business organically and drive traffic both into your business and onto your website.
So, with that in mind, let’s take a look at the ins and outs of SEO and Why Local SEO is Crucial for Small Businesses.
What is Local SEO?
Chances are that you’ve heard of search engine optimization.
This is the strategy wherein you make sure that your content ranks higher in searches for particular keywords.
For example, if you have a blog about online marketing tactics, you will want your posts to rank highly when people search for things like “online marketing.”
Local SEO is the same thing; only it has more to do with your physical location.
When a person searches for a business close to them, you want to be sure that your name pops up.
If you’re a pizza place in Philadelphia, then you want to be at the top when people search for pizza in your area.
Unlike traditional SEO that relies on keywords, local SEO uses a variety of metrics to ensure that your placement is where you want it to be.
Things like GPS tagging and user location make all the difference, although some additional tactics can help you rank better in searches (more on that later).
Benefits of Having Local SEO
As you can imagine, being able to pop up whenever a customer nearby searches for your business can make a huge difference in your overall store traffic.
Using our pizza example from above, chances are that there are a lot of pizza places within your search area. Thus, it’s critical that you have a higher ranking than the competition.
When you make sure that your local SEO is working smoothly, here are the benefits you can expect.
By the Numbers
88% of consumers call a business when searching for them on a mobile device!
97% of users search online to find local businesses!
46% of all Google searches are local!
76% of mobile searches result in an offline purchase!
86% of people use Google Maps to find a business!
72% of users who search for local companies will visit a store within five miles!
92% of consumers will go to a shop that posts on the front page of a local search!
Local searches are 300% more effective than social media at driving traffic into your store!
As you can see, there is vast potential when you utilize local SEO effectively. Let’s break down the other positive impacts that it can have on your small business.
More Local Traffic
As customers search for your business, they will be directed to your store’s location.
When you rank higher and show up in searches first, they are much more likely to come to you than anyone else.
Over time, you can drastically improve your in-store traffic by having the top spot in local searches.
When there is a lot of competition in your area, ranking highly in local search can give you an edge over other businesses.
For example, if you’re the 10th ranked pizzeria in Philadelphia, that means that the majority of your traffic is going to another store.
However, if you bump yourself up to number five, you can not only get more traffic, but your brand will have a much higher profile.
In the long run, having a top rank can make you something of a local landmark, meaning that people will be much more likely to search for you specifically.
Thus, instead of searching for “pizza in Philadelphia,” customers may search for “John Doe’s Pizzeria Philadelphia.”
When you search for a local business, what’s the first thing you do when you find a place that seems appealing?
Chances are that you try to discover more about it, such as where it’s located, when it’s open, and what it offers.
Thus, when people find your small business in a local search, it will enable you to create more engagement with your brand.
For example, if your website pops up in the search, there’s a good chance that users will go there to find out more about what you sell.
Knowing this information means that you can create targeted marketing materials that will engage potential customers and drive them into your store.
Higher Conversion Rate
Unlike generic SEO that can pull leads from a variety of sources, there is a much higher chance of converting a lead with local SEO.
As we saw above, the majority of users searching for a nearby business will contact or visit it, meaning that you can increase your conversion rate substantially.
In fact, once you maximize your local SEO, you can expect to have one out of every three people come into your business.
More Site Traffic
While store sales are crucial to your bottom line, you can’t discount the traffic that comes to your website as a result of local searches.
Especially if you sell products online, having more people check out your site because of local SEO can help increase your overall success.
How to Analyze and Improve Your Local SEO
Now that we know why local SEO is crucial and valuable to your small business, how can you be sure that you’re getting the most value from it?
Let’s go over the various elements necessary for your local SEO campaign so that you can understand how to make it work better for you.
Step One: Find Yourself
If you want to make sure that you’re improving your search engine optimization, you have to know where you stand already.
Thus, you want to search for yourself to see what pops up. When doing this, consider a few factors-
Search Across Platforms
Even though Google has the lion’s share of searches, that doesn’t mean everyone uses it. Search for your Philadelphia business on other sites like Yahoo and Bing and see how your listing differs each time.
Search Using Keywords
If you use your business name and your location, then you have a much higher chance of ranking highly in the search (although that’s not a guarantee).
Instead, start using keywords to see if and where you come up.
For example, search for “pizza Philadelphia,” or if you’re already in the area, just search for “pizza.”
Make a note of where your business stands in the rankings.
Also, pay attention to more specific location tags. Thus, you may want to use the neighborhood or street name where you’re located, rather than the city.
Step Two: Claim Your Business
Did you know that over half of all businesses have not claimed themselves on Google?
By forgetting to do this one simple thing, you could be costing your bottom line a substantial amount.
Fortunately, claiming your business is not difficult.
Go to Google My Business and find yourself there.
Then claim ownership of it and wait for Google to verify it.
From there, you will be able to change things like hours of operation, contact information, and your website.
One thing to remember is that if you don’t claim your business, other people might.
If you discover that your storefront has already been claimed, don’t freak out or go all “Falling Down” – it’s usually pretty easy to verify ownership after the fact.
Nonetheless, it can be disheartening to learn that someone else has been in charge of your business details.
Finally, be sure to claim yourself on other platforms as well.
In some cases, there may be duplicate listings, so you have to remove any doubles so that they don’t impact your local SEO performance.
Step Three: Add Location Information to Your Website
When search engines find your business, they will also pay attention to your website to see if it matches with the listing information.
To help strengthen your local SEO, it’s imperative that you add your name, address, and phone number (NAP) to each page of your site.
If you have multiple locations, be sure to create different landing pages for each place.
This way, you can avoid sending people to the wrong area.
Consistency is critical here as it will help ensure that you get ranked higher. When you claim your business on other search engines, make sure that your NAP is the same everywhere.
Also, pay attention to how you’re listed on other platforms, such as social media.
Overall, your NAP should be identical everywhere.
Step Four: Make Your Listing Pop
One of the benefits of using Google My Business is that you can customize the appearance of your listing.
You can add things like a small blurb about your company, as well as upload pictures of your products or location.
Pay attention to every detail and make sure that it showcases your business in the best possible light.
Step Five: Get Reviewed
Another way that search engines rank your listing is based on user interactions.
For example, if your business has zero reviews, then it may be lower on the list because sites like Google think that it’s not legitimate.
While you can’t solicit for reviews directly, you want to encourage your customers to leave comments and ratings as much as possible.
As more and more people review your business, it will begin to rank higher because search engines will think that you’re more of an authority in the area.
Ratings also help by improving your overall profile.
When potential customers see that a lot of people have good things to say about your business, they will be much more likely to come in to get the same experience.
If you have only a few ratings (or the majority of them are negative), it can have the opposite effect.
Need help with Reviews? Reach out to us to discuss… we have affordable Reviews Management solutions.
Step Six: Get Citations
At first, a citation may sound like a bad thing. It’s not that kind of citation!!
Web citations are just when a third-party website lists your business information.
For example, if a blogger is talking about the best places to get pizza in Philadelphia and lists your address, that can help you rank higher.
The more citations you have, the better your rating.
Over time, search engines will see your listing as an authority and rank it much higher than other businesses in the area.
Another way to get citations is to reach out to people you’ve worked with in the past.
Whether it’s colleagues or satisfied customers, you can contact them and ask to have them link back to your website.
Building a network of people who can create backlinks will go a long way toward improving your local SEO ranking.
Bonus: Create Local Content
If you don’t have a blog already, then now is the perfect time to start one.
Create posts that are relevant to your location and promote them via your website and social channels.
Be sure to include your NAP information in the post so that when people link to it or share it, the content will count as a citation.
Contact Us Today
If all of this sounds like a lot of work, don’t worry.
When it comes to maximizing your local SEO, you can rely on us to make it happen.
We understand what it takes to get the ranking you deserve, and we can put in the work to help you claim your business and become an authority in your area.
If you want to promote your small business in Philadelphia, we can make it happen.
Contact us today to get started.