One of the most challenging obstacles for small to medium sized business owners is not only to ensure that they can be found by potential customers, but that when these would be customers do find them that the business information is accurate and up-to-date. Having a customer go on a wild goose chase trying to find a phone number, address or hours of operation can not only reflect poorly on the business, but could result in losing the potential customer all together.
Once the customer is able to locate you online, the search for information isn’t over. Chances are that if a customer is looking into an item you sell or a service that you provide that they are not only going to be looking into your business but also those of your competitors. Managing your listings and your reviews through Local SEO with listings and review management ensure that your clients will not only be able to find you and will be provided with accurate information, but that they will also be able to see how you stack up against the competition.
You might still be asking yourself “Do I really need Local SEO?”. Below are some reasons why Local SEO can help put your business on the map and capture the attention of customers.
1. Listings Helps to Build Consumer Confidence
If a client sees your ad or hears about your services from a friend or family member chances are that prior to doing business with you that they are going to “check you out” online. They will most likely look for you by conducting a search in order to collect more information about your business. Ideally when they conduct their search your business will come up along with your name, address, phone number and hours of operation (if applicable), along with links to your website. When the client is able to find your listing online this not only lends a degree of credibility to your business, but it allows the customer to easily get in contact with you to. Consequently, if a client conducts the same search and nothing populates for your business, they may elect to go the easier route and go with a competitor who is easier to find and contact. Don’t make clients work too hard to give you business!
2. Claiming Your Listing Helps Ensure Accuracy
It’s not enough to simply have a listing, it’s also important to claim the listing as your own not only to help to ensure that the information is accurate and up-to-date, but also that you are the one in control of your listing. While it may not happen often, it is not unheard of for people to claim the listings of a business that is not their own. By claiming your listing you prevent yourself from becoming the victim of a competitor who is ruthlessly posting that your business is “permanently closed”, or posting their phone number in lieu of yours, poaching your would be customers. The best way to prevent your listing from being vulnerable is to ensure that you have ownership of the listing and that your business is claimed and verified.
3. Your Listings House Your Reviews
While there are a number of different sites and platforms upon which your client may elect to leave you a review, one of the very first places they may see your reviews are in your business listing. The last thing you would want to do is ignore one of the first places a client will learn more about you. Put yourself in your customer’s shoes, if you were in search of a product or service for yourself, are you going to elect to go with the business that has reviews or the business that doesn’t?
4. Why Reviews are Important
Reviews are important because it helps potential customers gain some insight into how you do business and allows them to see how previous customers have felt about the product you sold or service that you have delivered. Reviews can help to distinguish you from the competition as they provide a voice for your customers. The more reviews you have, the greater the capacity for a customer to determine if your business is the right choice for them. Previous clients sharing their experiences can help to sell other people on your products or services in a way that you may not ever have even thought of. Reviews can help to provide business owners with insight into what they are doing right as well as areas that could use improvement; even a bad review can be a learning opportunity.
5. Why You Need to Respond to Reviews – Both Good & Bad
Whether you are responding to say thank you to a rave review or addressing a savage one star assessment of your business, responding to reviews is of the utmost importance. The reality is that a bad review can happen, even to the best of businesses, when people feel passionately about something they are likely to want to share that experience. Responding to reviews allows you to express your side of the story. A bad review with no response can seem like a silent acknowledgement that the review is accurate, or that the business owner does not care about the bad experience. Responding to the review shows that the business owner is involved and responsive, and can provide an outlet for them to address what happened and to potentially correct the issue. Similarly, responding to positive reviews helps to recognize and thank the individual leaving the review and to demonstrate that the business owner is engaged in customer satisfaction.
This may all seem very daunting, especially for a business owner who wants to spend more time working on their business instead of working in their business. A great way to ensure that your Local SEO is being managed effectively and that you are staying on top of your reviews is to hire someone to ensure that your Local SEO is being taken care of.