Local SEO is an interesting topic because of how different it can be from general search engine optimization strategies. Many business owners I speak to are interested in improving their online visibility, but aren’t aware of some of the simple, cost effective ways to improve their SEO.
This is understandable though…they are busy running their businesses!
So here is one of the easiest, FREE ways to improve local SEO for a small business.
It won’t apply to everyone, but if you are targeting a smaller local area you can give yourself a quick bump over your competitors.
Ask your best customers to review you on Google or Yelp.
That’s it! I know, it seems simple and obvious, but in reality most businesses don’t have enough online reviews to make an impact. If you already have many reviews then this won’t apply to you. But for those small business who have only a few (or none), getting more reviews will have a significant impact!
The next time you interact with your loyal customers, simply ask them to give you a review on Google or Yelp.
This is particularly effective with service businesses where you have more of a personal relationship with your customers. Make it easy for your customers by giving them a small card or handout with instructions on how to review you. Even better, add a link to your website and ask them to visit and click on it to leave a review.
Why will this help?
This strategy has two sides to it. First, and most importantly, customers will make their decision to transact with you based on reviews. In fact, 79% of people trust online reviews as much as a personal recommendation. Think about that: online reviews have as much effect on the vast majority of customers as their best friend recommending it.
Knowing that, think about what impact having 50+ reviews will have when your competitors only have 5-6 of them.
The second benefit to reviews is the actual SEO bump. According to a study by Moz, 8% of a page’s search engine rank is attributed to reviews. That might not seem like much, but an 8% boost in search engine ranking could be the difference between being ranked #1 or #5 on the first page. Unless you are in the top three results, you are aren’t getting nearly the amount of traffic you would expect from being on the first page of Google.
That additional traffic can also lead to an increased click-through rate, which according to Moz’s study, is the most important contributing factor to local search results outside of how your website is coded and where you are physically located.
Ask and Ye’ Shall Receive
Don’t be afraid to ask your customers for a review. If you feel uncomfortable or are worried about approaching your clients or customers, start with those you know will give you a 5 star review with an entire write-up about how amazing your company is. Since you don’t want to hound anyone about it, making it as simple for them to leave a review will ensure everyone that is searching for your services or products will know you are the most highly recommended business in town.