Users go online first to find out more information about local businesses, and the searches often lead to conversion. In fact, research shows that 57% of users search online for local business more than 6 times a year, and 15% search for local business almost every day.
This method is quickly becoming the new Yellow Pages, albeit more convenient and effective.
Businesses need to be where their users are.
But mastering local SEO takes more than simply updating your Yelp listing or adding a few keywords to your website.
We’re spilling our secrets to local SEO for home services contractors so 2016 shapes up to be your business’s most local and successful year yet.
Optimize Your Website for Search
Here’s a simple way to see if you’re showing up in local searches at all. Search for your service, city and state. Where are you listed? Hopefully, you’re coming up on the first page and in the first few results.
Even sites with page one rankings can do more to go local. Take your current content, and make it fresh by adding location names your customers use.
To find out the keywords people are searching for near you, use Google’s keyword planner tool through a free AdWords account. As you analyze the popularity of keywords, filter your results so that only searches local to your area are included.
Using these keywords is an effective strategy to pre-qualify leads before they come in. By honing in on your ideal audience, you’ll avoid wasting time on customers who aren’t close to your area or truly interested in your service.
Build Out Pages for Each of Your Key Services
Refreshing your content is a great way to get started on improving your Local SEO. But users and search engines love new, specific content. How do you get new content up without having to tear down your entire site?
Create pages for each of your key services.
For example, an HVAC contractor might have the following service pages:
- Service and Repair
- Air Conditioning
- Home Generators
What you include one each page clearly depends on what you do, but it shouldn’t take long to determine your overarching categories.
This extra step will serve you well in the long run. Individual services pages help visitors understand your business better. It also allows them to determine which service they need.
And it’s an impressive conversion tactic. Just be sure your contact information is easily visible on each service page so visitors can get in touch fast.
Master Your Google+ Business Listing
You can’t afford to have incomplete or inaccurate business listings online. Search engines are quick to penalize businesses who have partial or incorrect citations, which we’ll get to in a moment.
Start with Google My Business. If your business already has a listing, verify it, and choose the correct category. If you’re not on there already, get setup and do the same.
Once that’s out of the way, fill out your profile as completely as possible by:
- Including your business’s name, address, phone number and website
- Adding all locations
- Putting up a cover photo
- Writing your business’s description (use bullet points for easy reading)
- Adding your hours of operation
- Cultivating and responding to reviews
The more you fill out your Google My Business listing, the better. However, to really maximize your local SEO potential, go beyond your Google listing.
Here’s where citations come in. Your business’s contact information should be located in several alternate portals including local and industry directories.
Well, search engines (especially Google) want to ensure that your business’s contact information is accurate. The more cohesive it is in multiple directories, the more legitimate your business appears. And that’s a good thing —for both users and Google.
So, as a final word on local search optimization, comb over your business’s information in local directories with a fine tooth comb. Small errors like a misplaced apostrophe or out-of-date phone number can cost you.
If you have plans to change your business name, address or phone number for 2016, now’s the time to get everything on the same page, so your rankings soar in the New Year.