As a local business, it’s important to step up your game if you want to get online visibility. Competition is getting more fierce and your website isn’t the only piece of the puzzle anymore. You need to focus on optimizing for local search and use local engagement tactics to help you get better online visibility. Hiring us is a great way to start, but working alongside us can help you get results faster.
LOCAL SEO AND GOOGLE AI
Before getting started, let’s take a second to discuss the relatively new connection between local search optimization and Google Assistant, or Google AI. Google has announced augmented reality (AR) will be added to Google Maps. Once you open the Google Maps app, you will be able to transfer to a first-person view of Maps with Street View to become more familiar with new locations. The new walking mode update will also allow for an augmented fox to help guide you through the unknown.
Maps are also getting new features aimed at increasing engagement, such as the “For You” tab. Inside this tab, users will find local restaurant recommendations based on what is trending in the immediate vicinity. Google will also be added a “match score” created with machine learning, to identify which places a user prefers based on their local geo-footprint and their past search behavior. This is designed to provide recommendations users will enjoy.
Businesses will also have more options to create user engagement with their Maps profile – where they now have Events, Google Posts, and Offers, there will also be the option to add more video, and include calls to action for booking appointments or ordering online.
Google Lens will also boost efforts because it won’t be hiding inside Google Assistant and Google Photos. With the increased functionality, we’ll now have smart text selection, style match, and real-time results, so customers can get more from their search results before choosing which establishment to interact with.
START WITH THE GOOGLE KNOWLEDGE PANEL
If you don’t already have a Google My Business account, you need one right now. It’s what allows you to have control over how your business displays in Google’s search results when people are searching for you. However, it’s important to know that Google says simply verifying your business does not guarantee that it will appear in an outage panel. While verifying your business is important, concentrate on offering your customers the best possible service.
Google’s Knowledge Panel will offer a lot of information if you are able to show up on it. When you search for a business, you may see information regarding that searched Topic in a box that appears on the right side of the search results. This is known as the knowledge panel and is instrumental in helping customers to discover and reach your business. Inside the knowledge panel, customers will be able to find things like your website, directions, operating hours, and more.
It’s also possible Google will include your business in a broad or knowledge panel that will suggest businesses that are in the neighborhood. You could be featured as part of a few listings with your reviews. Customers can then read more about your business by clicking on it.
Whether or not your business is featured in the knowledge panel is due to relevance, business prominence, and location. For instance, if someone is searching for a coffee shop and you are not a coffee shop in the area, you won’t show up in the knowledge panel.
The best way to have any kind of control over the information that is displayed is to make sure your Google my business profile is verified. Google often uses this source for information when putting together its knowledge panels. Make sure the information is not only current but is as complete as possible.
LOOK AT YOUR GOOGLE MY BUSINESS TIMELINE
Start monitoring your Google My Business Timeline. Google has now released the Q&A feature that allows people to ask questions about your business. However, business owners don’t get notified. This is why it is an important feature to pay attention to. Many of your prospective customers are already reaching out to you so all you need to do is respond.
ENCOURAGE YOUR CUSTOMERS TO LEAVE REVIEWS FOR YOUR BUSINESS ON THEIR PREFERRED PLATFORM
While encouraging customers to leave reviews on Google is important, it is not the only platform where people will leave reviews for your business. Instead of pushing one platform over the other, advertise several different options, and allow your customers to choose the one they want to use. Focus on providing absolutely stellar customer service and you may find your customers are leaving reviews for your business on multiple platforms.
Don’t be afraid to ask your customers for reviews. Make sure that you are paying attention to the best review sites for your locality or your niche. For instance, if you are in the construction or interior design niche, you may be better served by having your customers review your products and services on Porch, Angie’s List, and Houzz.
USE A CUSTOM TRACKABLE LINK TO PROVIDE DIRECTIONS TO YOUR BUSINESS
Do you need to provide directions to help customers find your location? Create a custom link and place it on your contact page, footer, and Confirmation emails. When someone clicks the link to your driving directions, it is considered an engagement signal which will help boost your overall ranking and improve your SEO.
AUTOMATE ENGAGEMENT WITH YOUR PROSPECTS
Use a service like Zapier to set up your major search terms. Set up a “zap” so that when anyone mentions the keywords in a certain radius of your location, you can tweet them a coupon or a discount to encourage them to visit your business.
The tips provided in this blog post will only be helpful to you if your website is easy for your target audience to use. It’s important to remember that not everyone has the same computer skills and if you make navigating your website difficult for your users, they will choose someone else. Reach out to us today to discuss your options for improving local SEO in the Denver area.