Cream of the Crop features a rotating panel from the Harvest Group, a landscape business consulting company.
In this day and age, most business owners have been beaten to death with the importance of optimizing your website for search engines. You most likely receive emails weekly or even daily from marketers and scammers claiming to get you to the “top of the list” in a short time. Most technically savvy business owners also know it’s just not that simple.
There are a lot of different strategies to optimize your website. While it’s important to draw traffic across the nation, or even world, at the end of the day, you want local buyers. I’m often asked, “How do you optimize your site for local traffic vs regular SEO?” That’s a good question. Here are five local SEO tips that even the technically unsavvy can act on:
1. Set up your Google My Business profile.
This is one of the easiest opportunities for local search traffic. Google is great at walking you through everything that needs to be completed, even for a novice computer user. Stay active with your Google My Business (GMB) listing, update hours for holidays, submit your blog posts and post photos for visitors to see. This is also how you will manage and respond to your customer reviews which makes up a huge piece of your local business reputation.
2. Sign up and use a local listing management tool.
You can find a number of online tools to complete your business listing in databases all over the world. Have you ever wondered how your Amazon Alexa can tell you where the nearest gas station is? While search engines try to find businesses locally, they also link to worldwide databases. This is just one small example, but you want your information everywhere! Check out these two tools to boost your listings: Yext Local Listing Management - Yext.com and Moz Local - https://moz.com/products/local
3. Create content aimed at local users.
One of the biggest issues I see with websites is the message companies use to market themselves. Landscape contractors are notorious for putting a picture of their nice company truck on their home page. But, how does your customer identify with that? Wouldn’t it be better to picture a family enjoying their outdoor space? Or, picnicking on a beautiful green lawn? Your written content should be phrased around your target market as well. If you service commercial clients, use words like property manager or facility manager in your text. For residential, reference homeowners, parents or families. Make sure your website is inviting and speaks to what the client wants vs. a show-and-tell about your business.
While regular SEO is important, you also want to spend time doing the things online that attract local traffic since those viewers will be clients.
4. Work with local partners and suppliers to cross link/cross promote on your websites.
Networking has been a proven sales and marketing tactic since the stone age, and things have not changed with advancements of computers and the internet. Use partners you work with to perform some cross-marketing. Don’t just create a page with their address and number; instead, write a blog about the quality mulch your supplier provides. Or include a partner’s page that discusses some of the warm and fuzzy stuff about another local business and your long-term relationship with them. People love to keep business local if possible, so use this to your advantage.
5. Engage in social media.
While I personally don’t enjoy social media, it’s an indisputable method to improve the online presence of companies. I usually recommend creating a culture around social media: have a photo on social media to engage customers and prospects, connect local suppliers and businesses that you work with and post about unique things that you do as a company, especially when it concerns your employees.
Make sure you take great photos when posting to social media or your website. A photo is worth 1,000 words, and you want them all to be positive. It no longer takes fancy equipment or grueling photo editing software for great results. Use a new iPhone and order a cheap lens off Amazon. Adobe Lightroom is a simple tool to use, and the auto adjustments are usually decent or at least better than not doing anything.