Local Business: How to do my own Search Engine Optimization?

At Innovators Digital, A Digital Marketing Agency based in Pune (India), very often I get asked by my prospects – “How to do my own Search Engine Optimization?”. The question is not as straight-forward as it looks. What the business owner is asking me is a bunch of questions –

The Questions every Search Engine Optimization Consultant gets asked:

  1. Do I really need to invest in doing Search Engine Optimization for my business website?
  2. Can I optimize my business website on my own without taking help from an agency?
  3. What are the obvious things I should be doing to make sure my business is discover-able locally?
  4. I have heard that Search Engine Optimization services can cost a lot & yet I will not rank on the first page of Google. Is it really worth my money?

There could more questions as well, but let me make an attempt to answer the questions above for this post. Here are some quick answers for you. Each point below is an answer to the questions numbered above.

Before I dive into the answers itself, Here’s a graphic that makes the case for SEO stronger, for local business:

The Answers for every question asked above:

  1. Do you really need to invest in SEO? – The short answer is Yes. Irrespective of the business you are in, Your consumer has access to the internet today. With the smartphone becoming smarter every single day, it is becoming easier for your consumer to search for what they are looking, online. So, If they are stuck in a traffic & are looking for a pizza place to eat, all they can do is ask Google to list – “The best pizza places near me”. On the other hand, if they are looking to purchase a latest book by J.K Rowling, they will type into their smartphone screen, “latest books by J.K Rowling” and so on. So, Should you be invest in optimizing your business website for keywords your customer might be searching? The answer is a Yes.
  2. Can I optimize my business website on my own? – Absolutely, You can. While Search Engine Optimization is a deep discipline that warrants consultation from Digital Marketing Experts who specialize in the trade, there’s nothing that can really stop you from optimizing your business on your own. I will talk about a few ways of doing it later in the post.
  3. Are there any techniques to make my local business visible to the search engines- The very reason, I decided to write this post today, is to provide business owners concrete tips to take their first steps at Search Engine Optimization.
  4. Are Professional SEO services costly? – Professional SEO services need not always be costly. However, the best SEO consultants in the world do charge an expensive fee. But that’s similar in all fields, isn’t it? The benefit that you as a business owner get by investing into a professional SEO is that you are able to focus on the core part of your business while there is a legitimate marketer who does the marketing for you. However, even if you outsource your SEO efforts, it is certainly important to have regular meetings with your consultant to plan your SEO strategies successfully and also monitor results.

How To Do My Own Search Engine Optimization for My Local Business?

Alright, then. Here’s the part you were waiting for. Google has over 200 factors it puts all the content you write on your website and decides whether it is relevant to be shown on the first page of the Search Engine Results. While it is humanely impossible to create meaningful content taking all these factors into consideration, Here’s a few things you can do to improve your business’ chances of being there on the first page when your customer searches for you:

  1. Claim Your Google My Business Page –  Look at the image below. Do you see the Google Map displayed with little pins on it? Those are the businesses that are locally around me. If you look below, you will see a description about these businesses themselves. To be visible in this part of the search results page, it is necessary that you either create your Google Business Page or claim ownership of an existing page. Here’s video from Google that explains on how to do it in a simple way.

Once you claim your Google My Business Page, make sure you add all the necessary details that will allow your customer to find you on the internet, including – Address, Phone Number, Description about your business, operating hours, product photos and links if applicable and so on.

Once that’s done, it is perfectly legitimate to ask your  happy customers to review your business on Google. To do so, All you need to ask your customers is to search for you on Google with the business name you used to claim your Google Business listing above, and once the listing appears on the right, they need to scroll down and click on Write a Review. If you prefer to watch a video instead, Here’s a link to a video you can use – How to ask your customers to review you on Google?

The more the number of reviews you have on Google, the better it is.

2. List Your Business on Industry Specific Websites – It is being observed today, that customers are starting their search directly on an Industry specific website today. So, If you were searching for a particular book to buy, You may be heading directly to Amazon.in than searching for it on Google or any other search engine.

Yesterday, I was looking to enjoy a nice Pizza at Sam’s Pizza, a local pizzeria in the city I live. The first thing I did was to look up the reviews for this place. Here’s what Google highlighted for me, Reviews of Sam’s Pizza on Zomato, A Restaurant Review website.

So, It is important for you to be visible on some of your major industry specific websites or local directories too. A word of caution here, I always advise my customers to make a list of some important directories or industry specific websites only. The reason is, In the life cycle of a business, a lot of things change. Phone numbers may change, or E-mails may change too. If a lot of this information becomes redundant on these online directories, It becomes a pain to re-visit and change all the details. So, the short answer is – Choose wisely.

3. Facebook Groups & LinkedIn Communities – Here’s a last bit of advice in this post. A research suggested that on any given day, about 52 minutes of each person’s time on an average is spent on Facebook. While Facebook is that popular, LinkedIn is equally important too. So, It is certainly important for businesses to make a list of groups on Facebook & communities on LinkedIn where people interested in your products are. Here are three groups I am a part of –

  • In Pune, If I want to know more about the food scene, I frequent this group of over 100,000 people on Facebook called – The Pune Eat Outs
  • As a Customer Success Manager, If I want to know more about the latest trends, I frequent this group on LinkedIn of over 35,000 professionals from around the world – The Customer Success Forum
  • As a spiritual seeker, If I want to tune in to Teachings of Rupert Spira, I frequent this group on Facebook called – The Teachings of Rupert Spira

That’s all for this post today. If you enjoyed reading this post or even wish to have a direct discussion with me, Feel free to write to me at – tejas@innovatorsdigital.com. Thank You!

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