My friend owns a wellness center in Kaneohe, Hawaii, where I grew up. For months now, he’s been telling me that he’s got to get more online exposure.
His business isn’t even on a blip on Google’s radar.
(In reality, he needs more than exposure, he first needs a quality website to expose… but that’s a story for a different day)
The Wellness Center offers a variety of services including chiropractic, acupuncture, massage, yoga and gets all its clients from the surrounding community.
Whether offering massage, chiropractic, fitness classes, dental work, or even psychic readings, all locally based businesses NEED local traffic to survive.
Interestingly, Fleishman Hillard, an international communications firm, released a study showing that nearly 90% of consumers used search engines to make purchase decisions, and that includes local purchases.
Enter Google, Bing, Yahoo!, AOL…ok, that was a joke in case you missed it, but seriously:
So what do you do if the Google Gods aren’t shinning on you?
Ready? You sure? This is where the secret starts.
I explained to my friend that:
For a long time now the only way to the top of Google’s rankings was by entering a very niche market where there's no competition or having amazing and usually expensive SEO campaigns, a hit video, or some other anomaly of the sort.
That still rings very true for a majority of online searches.
But not for local searches.
Get over to Google and search “cheap massage.”
What do you see? Probably your typical list of the 10 best optimized websites dealing with cheap massages.
Now let’s get local.
Search for “(insert your hometown here) massage.”
…now you see what I’m talking about.
Most likely, you’re looking at a search result page that starts with a few yelp reviews of massage places in your hometown, followed by a few more Google Plus Business page reviews.
ONLY then, nearing the bottom of the page, are your typical website results displayed.
(By the way, while Bing displays Yelp reviews first too, followed by their own peer review business pages)
THIS IS HUGE!
Google searches just got much smarter by basing its local search results on peer reviews instead of just SEO implementation.
They’ve put you, the small start-up, massage parlor, ice cream shop, etc…, on equal ground with the extremely well-funded national chain down the road; and it’s brilliant.
I would much rather base my purchase decisions on the recommendation of peers than what a company’s website tells me about their service.
So are SEO and traditional websites dying?
Not at all, SEO will always be a factor in how well your website ranks.
And you still want a quality website that ranks well to legitimize your business among many other important functions.
However, and here’s the secret in the plainest of terms for those of you who still haven’t caught on, if you’re not on Yelp and Google Plus for businesses yet…you’re turning away business!
How’s my friend doing now?
While he’s got his Yelp and Google Plus for business pages set up, there’s still work to be done on getting reviews to make them valuable.
I have some easy to implement ideas on that too…but I’ll cover getting reviews in a separate post.
Basically, he’s taken the first steps, but still has a way to go.
So, after getting access to our free tips below (not so subtle plug, I know), create your peer review pages, and start getting those reviews!
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