If your HVAC company depends on its repair business, then local search is mission critical for your online marketing. Local search is not only growing in use and scope...
97% of consumers use the internet when researching local products/services (BIA/Kelsey)
...but it is also a great indicator of "buying intent." In other words, the traffic from local searches is more likely to be potential customers. However, local search is not only important for attracting new customers:
No 1 reason for doing an online search is to find the location for a ‘known’ business (comScore, Neustar Localeze, 15 Miles – Local Search Study 2014)
How Can You Improve Your Local Search Performance?
First off, local is interconnected with organic search. So, if you are ranking poorly in the organic search results you will need much more than these tips to improve your local search performance. However, if you have moderate-to-good organic search performance, you should see positive results by doing the following:
1) Claim Your "Google My Business" page
It's such a basic thing, but amazingly, most businesses have not claimed and verified their Google Business Page. It's very easy:
Follow the instructions to find your listing to claim it, or create a new one. Google will likely mail a postcard with a PIN number to your business address to verify that you own the business. Make sure you fill out your profile with your logo, pictures, descriptions, and proper categorization.
It is absolutely essential that the Name, Address, and Phone (NAP) is consistent across the web. That starts with your website. Inconsistent information is perhaps the most common cause of poor local search performance.
2) Ask for Reviews CONSISTENLY
Yes, I know, this is not a novel idea, but it's amazing how many companies do not consistently ask their customers for online reviews. Even the ones that do oftentimes do it incorrectly. Online reviews are not only a major factor in local search performance, they also influence buyers!
88% Of Consumers Trust Online Reviews As Much As Personal Recommendations (BrightLocal)
The best way to get reviews is for another blog. However, but for improving your local search, here are a few tips:
- You should expect around 10% of people who say they're going to write a review to actually write a review, so ask a lot!
- Do not ask for a testimonial on your website, and then ask for the customer to write another review on Google.
- If you request the review via email, make it easy by including links to your Google page and maybe one other review site (e.g. Angie's List, Home Advisor, etc.), but...
- ...do NOT encourage people to go to Yelp! (If you encourage a customer to use Yelp for the first time, their review will not show up and you will have wasted a precious review.)
3) Add Your Primary City to Your Page Titles
Lets assume your strategy is to rank for the city/town that you are located (it's possible that is not the case, but that's for another blog).
Go to the home page of your website and look at the header on the page. Does it have the city name in the header? If it doesn't, rewrite it to include your target city/locality. For example:
"Air Conditioning & Heating Repair Services"
"Air Conditioning & Heating Repair Services in Raleigh, NC"
You will want to do this to all service pages on your site.
Additionally, you will want to change the "Title Tags" of your pages as well. However, depending on how your site is built, you may not have access to your title tags without editing the site's HTML.
This is far from comprehensive. However, if you do not have the time or budget for a full Local SEO strategy this is a great place to start.