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4 Strategies to Help You Attract More Local Customers to Your Small Business Increase your brand's visibility, traffic and sales with these local search marketing tips.

By Jason Hennessey Edited by Chelsea Brown

Key Takeaways

  • Maximizing your presence on Google Business Profile can significantly boost visibility for your business in local searches.
  • Conduct keyword research to identify terms local customers are using to find businesses like yours. Create individual landing pages targeting these keywords and optimize them accordingly with relevant content.
  • Beyond Google, capitalize on other reputable online directories to further enhance your business's visibility.
  • A fast, mobile-friendly design is a must-have if you want to generate more traffic.

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Want to increase foot traffic and attract local customers to your business? Whether you're a restaurant owner, hair stylist, lawyer or general contractor, you can benefit from local search marketing.

Local search marketing is the practice of using geo-specific advertising strategies to increase your business's visibility in local search — namely, Google Search. This is an important and effective type of marketing for local business owners who want more website traffic and customers.

Learn more about local search marketing and how to use it to increase your brand's visibility, traffic and sales.

Related: Why Local SEO is the Key to Business Success

Claim and optimize your Google Business Profile

Google Business Profile (previously known as Google For Business) is Google's free online listing tool that allows businesses to rank higher in Google Maps. It's prime real estate to get your business found by potential customers.

You might be surprised to find that there's already a listing for your business. Before creating a new profile, conduct a Google search of your business name. If you find an existing Google listing that appears to be your business, you can "claim" it to acquire ownership.

If you don't see an existing Google Business Profile for your business, create a new one. You will first need to log into your Gmail account and then follow the steps Google provides to create a profile.

Once claimed, be sure to optimize your profile to maximize your reach. To do this, be sure to:

  • Fill out your listing completely with the correct business name, address, phone number, website URL, description, business hours and category.

  • Add high-quality photos of your business (exterior and interior, if applicable), team members, products, logo or any other relevant images that showcase your business.

  • Encourage past customers to leave positive reviews, and be sure to respond to all reviews (whether positive or negative) to show that you value your customers.

  • Include relevant keywords (including location-based terms) in your listing description and posts, as this can improve your visibility.

  • Add attributes to your business profile, such as "Woman-Owned," "Wheelchair accessible," "Outdoor seating" or whatever applies, to provide more helpful information to potential customers.

  • Keep your listing up to date with your correct business hours, holiday hours, phone number, website URL, etc. Respond to new reviews in a timely manner.

Optimize your website for local search terms

The key to attracting local customers is to rank for the terms (i.e., "keywords") they are using to find brands, services and products like yours.

Use a keyword research tool like Semrush.com or Ahrefs.com to conduct a search for relevant keywords, using the combination "[location][product or service]." For example, if you have a family law firm in Los Angeles, some terms to search for could be "LA family law," "family lawyer Los Angeles," "LA divorce lawyer," etc.

Then, confirm that the terms you are searching for have: 1) search volume and 2) medium to low competition. This ensures that you are targeting terms that people are actually searching for.

Finally, apply these keywords to the respective pages of your website, creating individual landing pages for each product or service. For example, if you are a hair stylist in Seattle, you might have pages targeting "Haircuts | Seattle," "Hair Color Salon | Seattle," and "Hair Treatments | Seattle."

To "optimize" your landing pages for your target keywords, use the respective keywords in the page title, in the headings (where fitting) and throughout the body copy naturally. Check out this complete guide on how to optimize your landing pages.

Related: The 8 Best Free and Low-Cost SEO Tools for Small Businesses

Update your online directory listings

Google Business Profile is not the only listing available to help you boost your business. There are many local and industry-specific directories where you can list your business details, collect reviews and attract customers.

As with your Google Business Profile, make sure your business name, hours, phone number, URL, etc. are accurate and consistent. Look for reputable directories, and avoid any websites that appear to be spammy.

Here are some of the top online directories to submit your business:

  • Yelp

  • Bing Places for Business

  • TripAdvisor

  • Citysearch

  • Yellow Pages

  • Better Business Bureau (BBB)

  • Facebook

  • Local Chamber of Commerce Websites

  • Foursquare

  • Superpages

  • Apple Maps

  • YellowBook

  • Angie's List

  • MerchantCircle

  • YellowBot

  • Hotfrog

  • Manta

  • DexKnows

  • InsiderPages

Implement a fast, mobile-friendly design

The surge in mobile search has made it more important than ever to optimize your website for mobile devices. As more consumers use smartphones and tablets to find local businesses, having a fast and mobile-friendly website can significantly impact your organic reach and conversion rates.

Today's consumers expect fast and user-friendly experiences. A slow and/or poorly optimized website can lead to customer frustration and lost opportunities for your brand. Plus, Google's algorithm prioritizes mobile-friendly websites in the search results, so it's a must-have if you want to generate more traffic.

Here are a few tips for implementing a fast and mobile-friendly design:

  • Build (or redesign) your website according to responsive design principles, allowing your site to adapt to various screen sizes and devices.

  • Compress the images on your website to reduce file size, which can help speed up your website.

  • Enable browser caching to reduce the bandwidth needed to load static resources like images, JavaScript and CSS.

  • Test your website's performance with Google's PageSpeed Insights tool to identify issues and find recommendations for how to improve site speed.

  • Simplify your site navigation with clear tabs and call-to-action buttons that are easy to see on smaller devices. Avoid long walls of text and small images.

Related: Why Local Marketing Still Matters in the Digital Age

If you want more local customers, implementing local search strategies is the way to go. Leverage the power of Google to get your business noticed, increase web traffic and drive more sales. Local search marketing is one of the most effective marketing strategies for small, local and mom-and-pop businesses. Happy optimizing!

Jason Hennessey

Entrepreneur Leadership Network® Contributor

Entrepreneur & CEO

Jason Hennessey is an entrepreneur, internationally-recognized SEO expert, author, speaker, podcast host and business coach. Since 2001, Jason has been reverse-engineering the Google algorithm as a self-taught student and practitioner of SEO and search marketing.

Want to be an Entrepreneur Leadership Network contributor? Apply now to join.

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