Competition in local search engine results pages (local SEO) is getting more and more difficult. Just having a website does not guarantee sales or higher search engine rankings anymore. You need to be very competitive in order to survive and thrive in this tough online marketing world.
To provide the most relevant and useful results, search engines like Google take into account location data and engagement.
When a potential customer searches for a business online, interacts with the local business listing, reaches the business, and reviews it online, Google tracks all of it as a part of the local engagement process.
Experts believe that local SEO has three major components: traditional SEO, location data, and engagement. However, as we see with search engine optimization in general, engagement is getting more and more attention. It is believed that local engagement will acquire a much more prominent position in the near future and will have a bigger impact on the overall local SEO process.
In this blog post, we share a few tips to help you improve local engagement and giving your local business a much better shot at reaching the top of local search engine results pages.
1. Encourage interaction
Google has rolled out a Q&A feature. With the help of this feature, potential customers can reach out to you and ask relevant questions. Questions coming through this feature are easy to miss, and you should pay particular attention to the questions you are receiving.
Furthermore, it is equally important to encourage user interaction — which would ultimately boost up engagement rates.
Since not all people would know about the Q&A feature, highlight the medium by which prospective clients and interested prospects can reach out to you. When you have the ball rolling, respond to all those queries in the best way possible to keep the conversation (and engagement) going.
2. Knowledge Panel
The Google Knowledge Panel is a fantastic addition to the local SEO landscape. However, business owners need to pay attention to it and ensure that the information in the Google Knowledge Panel is up-to-date, relevant, and 100% accurate.
Regularly review the info that is being shown in the Knowledge Panel. Accurate, relevant, and useful information encourages interaction and engagement.
3. Google Posts
Google allows you to share relevant and useful news via Google Posts. You can access this feature via your Google My Business account.
With the help of Google Posts, you can make important announcements, introduce new products and services, and inform your readers about what’s coming next.
Google Posts are valid for only a week, so remember to review them on a weekly basis and refresh them with new content before they expire.
You can also share your latest blog posts via Google Posts and acquire some additional traffic. Although Google does provide analytics and tracking, don’t rely on it. Instead, use UTM-tagged URLs and Google Analytics to track the amount of free traffic you are generating from Google Posts.
4. Be mindful of the emails you are sending
Nobody knows the exact methods Google use to determine the engagement rate and ranking algorithms. The best way of moving forward it by assuming that everything has a positive or negative impact on your local SEO.
Since Google also owns Gmail, it is safe to assume that the email engagement rate may also affect — to some extent — how Google perceives your business and the information you are sending to your readers and potential clients.
Try to send only relevant content that adds genuine value for your readers. Sending interesting and useful content, which adds value, would help you minimize the unsubscription rate — which can be useful down the road.
Moreover, do not just send promotional emails. No one likes to be sold to. Instead, come up with a strategy that works for your business and target audience. The 5-1 rule is a good one to follow if you are not sure how to process.
According to the 5-1 rule, you can send 1 promotional email after 5 informative emails that just add value and sell nothing.
Lastly, try to improve the email open rate. Use different subject lines techniques, analyze the data, test, tweak, and optimize to improve the email open rates as much as possible.
5. Seek and spread reviews
Reviews are important — not only from a business authority point of view but also from the engagement perspective.
People consider positive as well as negative reviews before doing business with an organization. If your business listing has plenty of positive reviews, it is going to take down a few barriers and encourage more user engagement and sales, too.
Encourage people to leave positive reviews. You can set up systems, such as review of the month and share it across social channels to increase two-way engagement. Similarly, you can also give gifts to randomly selected reviewers. If the gift is a good one — for example, an iPhone or an iPad — many more customers would feel inclined to leave positive reviews.
One thing to remember here is that people leave reviews not only on Google but on other websites as well. If you are trying to establish a successful brand, you’d have to be aware of all the places people are talking about you. Identify a few websites where your customers are leaving reviews for your business and regularly monitor them.
6. Multiple options
Can someone call your business? Can they text you? What are some other mediums people can use to reach out to you and connect with you if they have a query?
Some people do not prefer calling; they don’t like talking on the phone. It is important that such people can text you, instead of calling you.
Apart from adding a phone number — which most businesses do — also leave a CTA that can let people know that they can text you.
By providing multiple contact options, you will be able to successfully increase the engagement rate.
7. Overall website engagement
The overall website engagement rate is equally crucial, and you should take every step to improve it. Nowadays, the engagement rate heavily impacts the search engine ranking of a website. As we move forward, the importance of engagement rate is going to increase even more.
Make sure to have an excellent navigation system that is clear and easy to use, even to an average internet user. Apart from the navigation system, have a good website design. Make sure that the buttons can be easily found, and the color combination is easy on the eyes.
Focusing on engagement is a smart move. Search engines — as well as the average internet users — are getting smarter. They expect a better online experience, which you can only provide if you are focusing on improving engagement.