How do people find your business? The first place I look for activities and classes for my family is a Google search and 9 times out of 10 the results are disappointing. Why is this? Most small activity based businesses still have not been able use SEO (Search Engine Optimization) to their advantage.
A quick internet search on SEO brings up an unbelievable amount of information and companies selling their SEO skills for a fairly hefty price. The good news is, you don’t necessarily need to spend a bunch of money and resources to give yourself a competitive edge and get your business on the first page of search results in your area.
This is why Local SEO is so important for your business.
Local SEO is search engines prioritizing local businesses based on the searcher’s location.
If you are an activity based gymnastics club in Omaha Nebraska, do you care if someone from Los Angeles sees your business in their search results - NO! And search engines like Google know this, so they prioritize local businesses in local searches. In other words, if someone does a search for gymnastics clubs from a mobile phone in Omaha, their search results will be localized for clubs in Omaha.
This is why local search is so important for you. Your clients are local, they are searching locally and Google will rank you above non-local businesses.
So how do you make sure your business makes it to the top of the list in your location?
We’ve got 4 easy tips.
Tip #1 - Citation Building : Getting your name and address mentioned by local sites.
You need to get your information out there! Citation building is the equivalent of putting billboards along the virtual highways of the internet, directing people to your site.
Citation building is very easy to do and can deliver excellent results as long as you follow one rule:
Make sure your contact information is EXACTLY the same on every single site!
For example, if your address is 170 Gymnastics Blvd, Suite 303, Springfield, MO 65757, you must have this information written out exactly the same everywhere. You can't abbreviate Suite to Ste some places but not others, same goes for Blvd and Boulevard. If the information is not exactly the same everywhere, the search engines will get confused and you will not see the results you want.
Decide on a format, and copy and paste that exact format EVERYWHERE. If contact information changes like an email address, phone number or address, you must update that information everywhere you have a citation.
Once you’ve decided on the exact format for your contact information, it’s time to get listed.
Make sure you are listed on the following sites:
- Google My Business - we have a super easy tutorial on this here.
- Your chamber of commerce
- Any organization you are a member of or hold a certification with
Tip #2 - Keywords - your clients are searching for you with a specific set of keywords.
You can take advantage of keyword search by identifying common keywords that are used to search for your organization.
Recently my 4 year old decided she wanted to take a gymnastics class. Obviously it wasn’t going to happen with a snap of the fingers and after some disappointing tears, I told her I’d find something for end of summer, or fall. What did I do? I started searching the internet for gymnastics clubs in my area (Montreal). I think I found 3 that were very far away from my home even though I knew there was a sports center within 1 mile of my location that offered gymnastics.
It was so disappointing. Had I found an organization in my area, I would have signed her up on the spot or at least bookmarked the page so I could register her when fall registration became available.
Why does this matter? You location keywords are important. Your clients are looking for you by searching: gymnastics + location i.e. gymnastics Omaha or if your area is larger and commonly refer to burrows or neighborhoods that is important as well i.e. gymnastics Montreal (city) Plateau (neighborhood).
What do you do with these keywords once you identify them?
- Use them in your website content - your about us page, blog posts
- Use in your website tags, meta descriptions, URLs.
Tip #3 - Content and blogging- this goes back to keywords.
The more content you have the more there is for the search engine to index, more opportunities to be found. That doesn’t mean more is better if it’s not good. Think Quality over Quantity!
By developing quality content tailored to the needs of your visitors using keywords, your position is likely to improve. Here are some ideas to develop content for your website:
- Biographies of your employees.
- Frequently Asked Questions.Mission,
- Vision and Values Statements
Blogging - blogging is an oft publicized tool to improve SEO and marketing efforts but the process and the commitment can be daunting. Keep in mind that quality trumps quantity when it comes to blogging AND you do have a lot to blog about that your clients and potential clients are interested in. Here are some examples:
- You are an expert in your field - impart that expertise to your audience.
- Blog about what you know and are passionate about - why do you do what you do?
- Blog about what you are telling your coaches to focus on, new programs, and share industry news you are excited about.
Pro tip: Don’t jam pack your posts with keywords but do try to use local keywords when relevant.
Tip #4- Mobile optimization is crucial for local SEO and search!
“4 out of 5 mobile phone and tablet owners use their devices to search for local business information.” Search Engine Journal
If your website is not mobile optimized, when a client does a search for gymnastics clubs on their phone your business might not show up because Google prioritizes mobile optimized website in search results on a mobile device.
How do you tell if your website is mobile optimized? Check out our blog post on Mobile Optimization: Mobilegeddon is here: How the new Google Algorithm affects you! This post will tell you how to check your site for mobile optimization and what to do if it doesn’t pass.
For more information on why mobile optimization is important, check out our Why Mobile Commerce Will Kill You blog post.
And for more information on local SEO, check out these experts:
And for more information on how Amilia can give you a competitive edge with mobile optimized online registration, check out our features brochure.