Owning a small business means keeping a tight budget and running things as efficiently as possible. Turning a profit and making your business successful can be decided simply by the choices you make (or don’t make). These two initiatives usually disqualify most types of marketing that a local business might like to participate in, by having to make even the slightest investment and not being able to see how successful you are at making your investment back. A couple of search and social marketing options, however, have ways of staying within a budget and running efficiently.
Free Local SEO is Better Than Not Free
One aspect that makes both of these easily possible is if the marketing options are free. Assuming “free” fits within your small business advertising budget, making no investment greatly increases your chances of providing positive ROI (considering people hours spent on managing the free marketing options) and thus also qualifying for operating efficiently. One could also make the argument that free tools sometimes require a lot more effort to run correctly than paid tools, but for the sake of this article we will assume they are easy enough.
Google Local Business Center listings have been mentioned time and time again in our Local SEO category and yet it seems like many small businesses are still not utilizing them. What’s not to like about them? Local Business Center listings (LBCs) are free and provide necessary information to users. Searching for your services, in your area, a user should easily be able to see your listing and consider your services as an option. Otherwise, they may not think Google’s standard listing of your business (with no reviews and other info) is trustful enough and not consider your business at all. Even though you are marking your business location on a map, include your city and state in your LBC. This helps designate your business in the standard Google search engine results, as well.
Twitter is also another great free option. Google has been indexing twitters and delivering them in search results, after signing an agreement with Twitter last October. If you were among the crowd that thought Twitter had no real purpose, you should change your mind soon. Competitors in your area will soon be including their services and locations in their tweets, letting anyone searching for “reinforced armadillo cages in Abilene” find exactly what they are looking for before you do. As with the LBC, being proactive in Twitter will let you get ahead of your competition by making it known that your services are available in a location in the online world.
Measuring Local SEO Efficiency
As I mentioned above, time spent on both LBC and Twitter may be an investment to a small business owner, even if they are free. Statistics are provided within Google’s Local Business Center, showing data that help you adjust your local business listing so it is performing efficiently. Twitter also has many free analytical programs and services that can show how well your local optimization is working.
Local SEO Differences
A few things to keep in mind with all this talk of similarities. LBCs are mostly informational and static. You won’t be changing them often or much on them. They will be slight tweaks to your calls to action and messaging, or anything else you might see in the data. Twitter is more of a promotional tool, letting users know of specials or sales rather than where your business is located. This stems from its dynamic nature and the fact that you are reaching out to the user rather than waiting for the user to come to you. Thus, be proactive and use your calls to action appropriately.
Enjoy your local success!