Hello and welcome to the first installation of our blog series regarding online tools to help your business thrive in an ever growing digital environment! Our first topic of discussion: Local SEO. What is it? Why is it important to your business? How do I do this? We will be answering all these questions and more below!
What is Local SEO and Why is it Important?
Local SEO is search engine optimization for your business’ location. It will be what helps your business be in the top results when someone searches “restaurant (or your industry) near me”.
So, why is this important?
Sudbury East being a huge tourist destination, visitors want to know before they visit or during their stay where they can find the local grocery store, book store, gas station, local activities, etc.
Sudbury East comprises of multiple little communities that strongly thrive on word-of-mouth. While this is great and is how the communities currently thrive, it also does good to remember that these communities are growing and changing. Younger families are moving in and may not be familiar with the word-of-mouth or community groups that exist for these small communities.
Therefore, having local SEO makes your business easily found to new residents and tourists visiting your community!
The quickest way to boost your local SEO is by implementing and optimizing your business’ Google Business Profile / Bing Places. We will be going through the process of implementing and optimizing these below.
Before You Start
Here are a few things you should have on hand before you start!
Cover Image; something that represents your business.
Restaurant: image of a dish you serve.
Construction: image of a project in the works.
Not sure what you can use? Utilize Canva and make a pretty visual with your mission statement (see image provided).
You want this prepared ahead of time, as it will save you time while going through the steps. It also gives you more time to think about the description before you get to this step in your Google Business Profile.
An email that is through your website or a Gmail that is business specific.
Let’s Get Started - Google Business Profile!
Head over to www.google.com
Type in “my business”
Under “Google Business Profile” click “Sign In”
Follow the series of prompts
Thankfully Google makes it really easy to follow along with implementing your Google Business account.
Choosing appropriate business section:
Online retail - This would be online stores, those that sell through an ecommerce shop or a social media shop. (note: you can’t link your social media site as the “store”)
Local store - This is a physical location. This includes retail stores and services that have a location for clients to enter and receive services. (examples: a dental clinic, massage parlor, etc.)
Service business - These are businesses that travel to their clients to provide services or products.
Earlier on in the process, you will be prompted to add your business website to your profile. If no website is added during that prompt, you will be asked later on if you would like to “add a website”, which will create a Google landing page. Please skip this step! Google websites aren’t search engine friendly and don’t provide key components that a typical website offers. They are essentially a single page with minimal changes that can be done and very little information that can be incorporated. Lastly, once they exist, they are extremely difficult to remove.
Optimization & Maintenance
If you skipped any steps while setting up your Google Business Profile, make sure to take the time to complete them later on.
Adding a logo & cover image
Enabling Messaging, calls and/or booking
Adding regular & holiday hours
Linking to website/social media
Now that your Google Business is optimized, continue to check in at least monthly to make sure your information is still accurate!
Additional maintenance tips:
Is your business seasonal? Take the time to change your primary category to the appropriate service (ie. snow removal in winter, lawn care in summer).
While you primarily may serve your hometown, adding the neighbouring communities will improve your odds of appearing more frequently in search results.
Have the email that is connected to your Google Business Profile on your phone to get notifications of new questions and reviews. Take the time to answer questions and respond to both positive and negative reviews!
While Google is the primary search engine used, Bing is still used by a small percentage of individuals. Having your business on both just increases the likeliness of your business being found!
Once you have a Google Business Profile, setting up a Bing Places takes only a few minutes.
Head over to https://www.bingplaces.com/
Click “New User”
Click “Import from Google Business Profile now”
Click the checkbox asking if you would like to Sync Google Business Profile data and select weekly
Follow the remaining prompts
Note: any changes made on your Google Business Profile will automatically sync to your Bing Places within a week, as long as you checked off syncing.
Congratulations on taking this big step to growing your online presence in this ever expanding digital environment! See you soon with more online tools to continue your online expansion journey!