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What the Death of the Phone Book Means for Your Local Business

Very small retail businesses used to feel that they didn’t need to worry about things like websites and digital marketing. After all you can’t get a digital haircut. You cannot get your pet groomed online. However, times have changed. The web is now the only source most people turn to when looking for a business—even a local business.

Nobody uses a phone book to find a restaurant or a hair salon anymore. Instead they perform a web search or they ask a digital assistant like Siri, Alexa, or Google Assistant for help. These digital assistants pull all their data from search engines.

If your local business does not have a local SEO strategy, you may soon run out of customers as your savvy competitors begin stealing your business with effective digital marketing. Even word-of-mouth now happens online through social media and review sites like Yelp! and Tripadvisor.

The problem is that local SEO is not the same as regular SEO. You have to find a way to make sure you show up in the search results when someone in your town is searching for your type of business. You don’t need to compete with local businesses across the country.

VITA can help make sure your local business shows up in the places online where and when your ideal customers and clients are looking.

The Difference Between Local SEO and Regular SEO

Regular SEO relies on having the right keywords on your website and other online content. It uses linking strategies and other strategies to signal to search engines that you are a good match for a particular search term.

Local SEO is a bit different. If you own a pizzeria you don’t want to show up number one for the phrase “pizza”. Instead you want to show up when someone types “pizza” or “pizzeria” and your town, or “pizza near me”.

Local SEO is about associating your service with your local area. That requires that the search engines know where you are and what you do. When you type in “barber” in Google, the top of the page will show you local barbers and hair salons based on where it thinks you are located. Local SEO is about making sure your business shows up in that list for your service type.

Many people may not even perform a direct web search. They may instead use a map app, or some other app, to find local businesses. Almost all of these apps pull from search engine results.

With VITA local SEO, we make sure search engines know where to find your local business because local SEO is all about improving your visibility and discoverability in your local community online.

The best place to hide a dead body is on page 2 of Google search results.

Harnessing the Power of Reviews

Another unique aspect of SEO is the power of reviews. This is called “social proof.” People love to read and write reviews. Online reviews are especially powerful for local businesses. Having a lot of reviews can help improve how your business appears in search engine results. If you have a lot of bad reviews it can also harm your business.

Part of good local SEO practices is developing a reputation management strategy. You need to encourage your best customers to leave reviews and have a way to minimize poor reviews. You also need an established action plan in place for when a negative review does occur.

If you search for the most successful local businesses in your area, chances are some of the first results you find online will be links to reviews. Online reviews are a powerful form of social proof. They show people your business is great. Reviews also make it easier for people to find your business because they can be linked online to your business.

Help with Every Major Digital Marketing Challenge

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Content marketing is the fuel that keeps everything else in the digital marketing machinery working. It is not a new strategy. It is one of the oldest and most effective marketing strategies ever devised.

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You need to get your message in front of your ideal prospects and you want to generate great word-of-mouth buzz about your business.

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Email also has the highest ROI of any form of marketing and the highest degree of customer engagement. Almost everyone starts their day by checking their inbox.

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Marketing automation starts with email marketing, but it can be much more. Marketing automation can integrate across social media, web, email, and mobile.

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Search Engine Optimization

If your business isn’t doing SEO correctly, you will be invisible to the vast majority of your potential buyers. SEO also has the highest residual benefit of any digital marketing tactic.

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Once you are able to harness the power of your own analytics you will be able to pivot faster and always be one step ahead of the competition.

 

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