If 2020 taught us anything, it was that no matter your age or background, the internet and our ability to search is now a commodity we simply cannot live without.
We searched for updates about the coronavirus. We searched for tips on how to homeschool our children. And we used various apps and platforms to keep connected to our loved ones. A digital presence is no longer a luxury, but a necessity to survival.
If you believe that this hyper-digitalisation is just a fad, then it would be wise to rethink your logic.
After all, we’ve spent an entire year using digital means to meet our needs, and this influence is only going to continue.
In recent weeks we’ve been encouraged to use online booking systems to book a table at the pub, get a haircut, book in a yoga class, and even have our non-emergency healthcare appointments via an app. Everything has gone digital.
To not keep up with this growth of digitalisation would put your business further at risk of becoming obsolete, and being taken over by competitors who are quicker and more agile at adoption.
So rather than fight against the tsunami of digitalisation, it’s time to embrace it fully. Because as well as keeping up with your customer’s needs, you will find your business becomes more profitable and successful than its pre-covid existence.
Follow our simple tips on how to boost your website post lockdown and bring in customers who need and want your product or service. Trust us, there’s no business out there who doesn’t need a digital offer.
Start Simple with Google My Business
Google My Business is a business profile on Google that supports you in getting found by customers who are searching for your brand name or business locally.
The profile allows you to add business opening times, services, contact details, pictures and customer reviews.
Google is continuously updating the Google My Business features to help strengthen profiles for businesses who want to gain more customers locally.
You might be wondering why you should do this when you already have a website, but the fact is Google favours its own products, so as well as showing your website in the results listing (if it’s been optimised), Google will show your Google My Business profile in a big box to the right-hand side, offering your customers a more instant way to get hold of you.
Setting up a Google My Business profile doesn’t take long, but its power can be incredible in helping you get more phone calls.
One thing we have seen with local businesses is how poorly they keep their Google My Business pages updated. For example, during the covid-19 pandemic, many restaurants lost out on business by not detailing their takeaway offering on their Google My Business profile. Instead, the page just said the restaurant was shut.
If someone is searching for your product or service locally, you do not want to miss out because you’ve not updated your profile. Make a note to continuously update this each week or month with key updates happening in your business.
Optimise Your Website for Local SEO
Local search is when a user types in a product or service with the area as well. For example;
“mots in London”
“dog sitters in Camden”
“Computer repairs Cambridge”
The fact is, many of the services we require need to be local to us. Why? – Well for starters, we’ve become pretty lazy, so knowing that a service or product is close by makes us more likely to buy it than if we would have to travel. And after covid-19, it’s going to take a while for people to begin travelling further away from home, so local services and product suppliers are going to see a huge boost in trade.
However, this doesn’t happen by accident. You need to be found in Google when someone types in these local search terms.
Think about the service or product you offer, and your area, and type this into Google. Is your website listed in the search results? Is it on the first page?
If there’s a resounding ‘NO’, you have some work to do on your local SEO.
You can start by just making sure that on your contact page you have local information such as your office or shop address and a local telephone number.
Your contact information and call to action should also be consistent across your other pages and in the footer of your website.
You should then also look at your web pages, titles and description to ensure that you’re also mentioning that you are a local business.
Ideally, a full website local SEO audit will help identify how your website is currently performing and where the gaps are.
Google wants to rank websites that are useful to people and offer information and it understands many of the search intent is for the local area.
If your website has been neglected for a while, it’s time to start making it the storefront of your online presence.
Make Your Social Presence Local
You may be invested in sharing content on social media platforms, but are you connecting with other local businesses, and are you making your profile localised?
Even the smallest tweaks to your social presence can help you gain a boost of website visits and help build your local brand awareness.
For example, on all social media platforms, you can now add your location so that people know where you are based.
Connecting and following other local businesses will help signify to local customers and the digital world that you are a business based in a specific local area.
When it comes to your content rather than just constantly shouting about what you do, try to mix in some local posts about your area to make you feel more local and connected.
Everything you do online builds trust with potential customers. The more they see that you are a dedicated local business, who loves doing business locally, the more likely they are to buy from you.
Create Local Content on Your Website
There are many benefits of writing consistent content on your website’s blog. From showing potential customers your expertise and knowledge in the service or product you offer, to providing them with hints and tips to get the best use out of their purchase.
You may already be consistently writing blogs for your website – but how much local content do you create?
By building on more local content on your blog, you’ll be able to provide further information to Google and your customers that you are a local business.
This could be from writing about any local customer case studies to writing about events that your team is taking part in around the local area, or even a local charity that you support.
There are many relevant and informative ways you can create local content without it being out of context for your product or service.
For example, if you’re a local dog sitter, you could write about the best local spots of dog walks or the local pubs that accept dogs. See what we mean, it’s easy when you put your head into what your customers may want to know in the local area.
Get Local Inbound Links
Directories or websites that link to your website help to build your trustworthiness in the eyes of Google. But as we always say, these websites have to be relevant to your business.
The more relevant, and trustworthy the other website is, the more it will help you build up trust with Google.
As a local business, you should be able to gain relevant links from local websites that help to increase your local exposure, but also help to tell Google that you’re local.
For example, if there’s a local tourist website for your city or town, perhaps you can get listed on their website if you have a restaurant or hotel?
Even your local council may have a directory part of their website of essential services based in the local area. You could contact them and see if you could get your website listed here also.
Have a think about the local websites you may use, partnerships you have, neighbouring companies and identity some to contact about getting a presence.
Gain Local PR
If there’s one sure-fire way to help you increase your local exposure and your website traffic it’s with a good old bit of local press coverage.
Local newspapers love a positive story, so think about something good to share with them that your business has done in the local area. Have you done a fundraiser? Participated in a voluntary day for a local charity? Or completed an intense ultra marathon in the name of a cause?
Do something good for your local community and share the results of your efforts with your local newspaper, most of which have online publishing.
These are just a handful of ways to help you increase your local website rankings post lockdown.
The growth in digital and peoples mindset is leaning more towards search than ever before. If we see any similar situations in the future whether it’s another viral outbreak or environmental disaster, you’ll be glad you invested in your local digital presence.