Good news for local business owners; Google loves local! So how can someone take advantage of Google to grow their local business?
Let’s start at the beginning; do you have a website? This may sound like a dumb question but did you know that in May of 2012 the US Census Bureau found that 75.2% of surveyed businesses did not have a website? Wow!
Naturally, most every big name brand out there has a great website by now, but creating and maintaining a website is still a difficult task for the average small business owner who has little time or resources available. The reasons a local business might want a website are truly endless- what potential customer wouldn’t be interested in seeing photos, products, services, team bios, and client reviews of your business? Luckily, Google offers a free platform where a local business owner can manage their online presence without having to host their own site. Google+ is a network that allows any business to solicit online reviews, upload photos, and share relevant information about their products and services. It’s really simple to set up, and Google gives a lot of visibility to companies who take advantage of this free service.
This was not always the case. Until just recently, Google search results displayed only a limited number of local business listings based on your current location. A company that offered structured settlement notary services locally for example would be competing with nationwide signing services companies who might have unlimited marketing budgets to outrank the smaller companies in Google. The balance of power in Google search results has really shifted dramatically, as the majority if not all of your Google search results are now personalized to your browsing history and geographic location. This has proven to be an enormous challenge to companies who may only have one office, but actually sell products across the whole country. However, for the local business owner, the extra power in localized Google searches has increased their visibility a great deal.
To take advantage of Google’s preference for localized search results, make sure to create a website that includes your business address and also copy about your immediate geographic area. Include your phone number, geo-tagged images and videos, and also include your local city in the page titles and descriptions. If you lack the time and money to maintain a website then make sure to claim your Google+ page and update it with as much information as possible. Asking your clients to review your business products and services on Google+ will go a long way to increasing the visibility of your business in Google. Promote your local business by creating a Google+ page today!