Prospective customers expect a certain level of professional design, usability, and navigation when they visit local, small business websites. And then there is content—the information your customers are searching for; the reason they are looking for you online.
The content you present to search engines and prospective customers can make or break opportunities to generate local business online, especially if the prospect has never heard of you before (brand awareness = trust).
The right way to build a small business website, designed to produce local customers, is to present the content your prospective customers are searching for. I brand this reflexive content.
Through years of keyword research and access to search analytics for well-known brands (with thousands of locations), I can share how people generally search for local businesses.
Let’s say you own a chain of dry cleaning stores in Scottsdale, Arizona. The image below illustrates the pages of website content, and is followed by specific descriptions of each content category listed:
1. Products & Services
Your website must describe, in search engine friendly text, all the types of services you offer and prospective customers are searching for. Here is a handful of sample phrases:
- dry cleaning
- organic dry cleaning
- green dry cleaning
- 24 hour dry cleaning
- same-day dry cleaning
- dry cleaning pickup & delivery
- dry cleaning drive-through service
- wedding dress dry cleaning/wedding gown preservation
- bedspread & comforter dry cleaning
Prospective customers are also searching for pricing and most businesses detail prices, costs, fees, or rates on their products and services pages. Some businesses omit displaying prices for competitive or other reasons, choosing to prompt prospective customers to call for pricing.
2. Coupons & Promotions
If coupon marketing isn’t appropriate for your business model, consider other promotional offers such as a reward or loyalty program. Clearly state your coupon or promotional offers, fully describing the related products and/or services, using search engine-friendly text.
3. About Us/Biography Page
The About Us page is your opportunity to share the story of your business, professional affiliations (chamber of commerce, associations), community involvement programs (hanger recycling program, for example), and any other key details.
Though much of this content is designed to convert existing website visitors by building trust, you will be surprised how much of this content is actually searched by prospective customers. Similarly, a biography page is appropriate for individual professionals, such as LA headshot photographers.
4. Contact Information Page
If you have multiple locations it is important to feature “corporate” contact information, especially for customer service searches. Aside from a central phone number and address, you should include a contact form for comments and questions followed by customer service policies and frequently asked questions in search engine friendly text. FAQ pages tend to get a fair amount of visibility and traffic in the long tail of search.
Location searches generally represent immediate business. The right way to present locations on your website is to create a unique, search engine friendly page for each physical location.
If you don’t have too many locations (think ten or less) I also recommend creatively linking to each location from the home page as well as your Locations web page for the link juice.
The main Locations page should link to pages that represent all of your physical locations, and each physical location page should include the following elements:
- Address (Addresses on your website need to be exactly the same as they appear in business directories like Google Maps)
- Directions using well-known landmarks, freeways, and/or major intersections
- Local phone number
- Email address
- Google Map pinpointing your location
- Hours of operation & Holiday hours
- Payment options
- Service area