How to Do Local SEO for Businesses in 2021?
The internet is not an unbiased arena after all. This is especially an acute subject when it comes to business owners doing online business. After experiencing a critical and excruciating reverse of fortune for economies and businesses all over the world in 2020, entrepreneurs have taken a leap of faith for the year 2021 and kick-started their business proceedings on an optimistic and reassuring note. In 2020, we witnessed the transformation of a surge of businesses from a more traditional and long-established medium to a more new-fangled and experimental online space. Initially, business owners came across unforeseeable financial predicaments regarding the entire matter of metamorphosing their respective ventures on such a short notice.
If 2020 was the year of establishing and integrating online businesses into a more secure cyber space, 2021 inevitably becomes the year of expansion for commercial operations via an online medium. However, in order to undertake this feat and dive straight into the realm of cyberspace, business owners require a credible and effective marketing strategy to inaugurate their businesses with the help of the internet. This is where entrepreneurs need the assistance of SEO to kick off their online operations, or Search Engine Optimization, which is a pivotal tool used to increase the quantity and quality of traffic that comes to their business' official website through organic search engine results.
With the consistent evolution in Google's pervasive interface, and multinational companies like Amazon and Netflix contending for dominating the pervading ad spaces, it has become a non-negotiable sine qua non of online marketers and businesspeople to be literate in the popular SEO terminology and keywords to appear in the search results of rising business companies. There is no doubt that after 2020, businesses all over the world prefer to expand their companies via internet rather than having to bear the brunt of doing business in the conventional modus operandi. This article will help business owners identify their business model, as well as assist them in figuring out the favorable opportunities for expanding their financial proceedings online and attracting a barrage of local customers to their website.
Identify your business model
In order to use SEO tool for attracting a surmountable amount of customer traffic to your website, you need to identify the model of your business to choose the appropriate marketing strategy for your business. Marketing for business usually falls into one of the four categories listed down below.
1. Service Area Business (SAB)
This model operates on offering services for homes such as plumbing, gardening, landscaping, housekeeping, and the like. As the name suggests, it is not a prerequisite for this business to have a proper headquarter or offices, but the distinct feature of doing business this way is that the services you offer are delivered at the location requested by the customers.
2. Home-based business
This method of doing business requires your physical location where customers will be able to find you for services. The services offered in this kind of business comprise of serving nearby customers at your place, or in some cases vice versa too. Some services that fall under this category involve day-care center services, pet sitting services (which can also be done at the customers’ place), offering tuition for little kids, or opening up a yoga studio where customers can attend classes. The stark feature of this model is that you’re working out of your house.
3. Virtual business
This is perhaps the most congruent business model with the sudden shift from traditional business services to online ones. With this model, the business is conducted virtually, as the name suggests, where transactions are carried out virtually, via phone, computer, shipping, and other remote means. The services offered by such business model may be e-commerce, or offer digital services, or employ some other remote methodology to carry out operations. This type of business model is the most favorable for businesses that want to operate more independently of having a single physical address and desire to attract customers from a multitude of regions, cities, or even different countries. The representative feature of this business type is that you never have to physically interact with customers.
4. Hybrid business
As the name suggests, this business model operates on a plethora of variations. One example of this kind of business is a restaurant with an on-site dining where customers can pay in person, curbside pickup service where customers can come to the location but may pay online, or lastly offer delivery services where customers can get the food delivered to them at their homes. Another example of this business would be a company offering home services such as at-home appointments for installation of new locks on doors, and e-commerce sale of security products.
Hybrid business models are eventually taking over as the preferred business model type due to the uncalled-for pandemic situation in 2020. They allow business owners to incorporate a variety of features to garner optimal results and guarantee customer satisfaction.
Local marketing for SABs (In-person contact required)
It is crucial for SABs to make in-person contact of some kind with customers. However, the all-pervasive threat of the pandemic has made customers transition to contact-less services. With the increasing preference for social distancing and observing basic rules, SABs need to update its guidelines to make this clearer for the customers seeking their services.
Setting a service area allowed
The older GMB listings had a feature that allowed business to set a radius depicting the service area. In accordance with the new listings, you can enter cities or postal codes to depict where your SAB serves. This will provide customers with the boundaries of such areas that it should not exceed about two hours of distance from the location of the business.
Local marketing for home-based businesses
Serving customers in-person at home and wanting the address to be public
For this kind of business, such as places like a day-care center, pet grooming, private instructor or similar services, the location or the physical address of the venue should be public and easily comprehendible by the customers.
If the business is an appointment only type, Google recommends that the business set no hours of operation on their listing.
Working from home and serving customers at their locations
The services offered by this type of business model such as plumbing, accounting, housekeeping, and among others, require the base of the business to be the owner’s own house. This model is typical to a SAB one where Google requires access to the service area designated for the listing.
Working from home and not serving any customers face-to-face
This kind of method of doing business has become relatively popular after the 2020 public health emergency causing people to work from home and minimizing physical contact as much as possible. An example of this kind of transformation is a professional like a therapist who used to take clients in person, now using online platforms like Zoom or WebEx to contact their patients while working from home.
Local marketing for virtual businesses
E-commerce companies often face competition when it comes to contending with their local or physical brands for online visibility. In order to avoid wasting time and resources on ineffective marketing strategies, it’s advised for virtual business owners to clearly state what their virtual brands can and can’t do to keep up with their customers’ needs.
While doing virtual business without in-person services, it automatically makes the business ineligible for a My Business listing on Google. You may find another way to have your business listed in some other directories. So, it’s a futile feat to go for a traditional Google listing in this case.
You can compete for organic rankings with the content you publish and the links you earn to boost the Page Authority of that content. This can be achieved by competing for paid visibility by using Google Ads with location targeting in regions that are important to your business.
Localized organic visibility for virtual businesses
The most effective and guaranteed route for virtual businesses to attract mass traffic and appear in organic search results is to build an organic authority and reliability which allows for the localization of a specific content to be displayed in the search engine results. Experts recommend to develop a chain of thin, duplicate city-level landing pages of city across the country. The content that will be provided to the customers ought to be top-notch localized information, which then adjusts optimization of organic searches to target fruitful audiences.
Local marketing for hybrid businesses
The thing with hybrid businesses is that this type of business model has become widely popular after 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic and other factors such as working from home, so there is no homogenized feature defining them. They can be united with the other three forms of businesses to increase visibility to customers in a specific local area. When marketing for a hybrid business, it is recommended for business owners and strategists to incorporate the relevant and applicable features of the other aforementioned models and pair them with any hybrid strategy that allows for maximum geographic visibility by any possible means.