Some pretty common question questions I get from local upstate South Carolina business owners in the Clemson, Seneca, Anderson, Easley, and Greenville areas are
“How do I get found on Google?”
“How do I come up in the list of businesses when someone searches my professional?”
“How can I use the internet to get more exposure for my local business?”
The answers aren’t always obvious and despite the cloud of confusion, the process isn’t entirely that difficult. If anything it’s just time-consuming. Basically, anyone can optimize their local internet listings for their South Carolina business when given the how-to and basic guidance. Its definitely worth it to cover your bases and it pays off with more exposure when it comes to local SEO optimization.
South Carolina Search Engine Business Listings
The first step is Google. Get a Gmail email account setup. It’s a straightforward process. Enter your information, a few clicks later you have a Gmail Google Account.
The next step is to sign up for a completely free Google Business Account. Basically, you visit https://www.google.com/business/ and it walks you thru the process. Enter your business information, your contact information, verify who you are and you’ll be well on your way to listing your business on local internet searches. The entire process usually takes a week or two. Google will send you a postcard that includes a verification code. You need to enter that code into their website at the link they give you when you sign up. Once that’s done you’re good to go!
The Bing search engine also has a business portal https://www.bingplaces.com/ for getting found on local searches. The process is essentially the same as Googles’s and the key points are all the same.
Be sure to enter descriptive and factual details like
- Your business name
- Accurate detailed description of your business.
- Your operating hours
- Your phone number and address
- Your logo, branding or a professional cover photo
Its also important to keep these details consistent across the multiple platforms, search engines, and directory websites. As in you don’t want different addresses or phone numbers on your own website and Google business page. Keep them consistent.
Schema On Page Markup
Another important factor which is more of an on-page local SEO tip. Use schema markup https://schema.org/LocalBusiness on your business details. Basically, Schema tells Google exactly what the information on your site pertains to. It tells Google that your Phone number is your Phone Number, Your Business name is your name and your operation hours are your operating hours etc. It takes out the guesswork for Google so they can give users more accurate information.
I’m not going to go into deep detail about Schema as its an article in itself. There’s plenty of guides online https://searchengineland.com/schema-markup-structured-data-seo-opportunities-site-type-231077 and Google Webmasters has a HTML data highlighter markup tool https://support.google.com/webmasters/answer/2692911?hl=en to help you partially implement it.
Setting up schema usually involves editing the HTML and code of your website. It’s normally best that you ask your web developer to set it up for you.
Get Reviews for your Local SC Business
After you have your Google and Bing business pages setup you’re already ahead of the competition in most South Carolina small towns. The next step is to utilize these listings and generate some reviews for your business. Reviews sit well with Google, they give SEO weight to them and they also provide a trust factor for those searching for local services.
To start generating reviews. Simply ask your customers to leave you a Google review. The process is to just tell your customers to search your business and click the leave review button on the right hand under your business name. You can also give them a direct link to review your business using the link below.
Don’t worry or fret too much on getting 5-star perfect reviews. Any business owner knows you can’t please everyone. No matter how professional you are, no matter how good your work is – there’s always going to be people who are impossible to please. The important thing is to be professional, be honest and show that you can work with a wide range of people and you that you provide a professional service that people value!
On Page Local SEO
One of the core aspects of local SEO is having relevant content and text on your website.
What this means, using my website as an example. If a person opens a web browser. They go on Google and type in “Anderson South Carolina Web Designer” or “Seneca SC Web Design”, unless I have some sort of matching relevant content on my website. My business won’t show up in that search.
Using the content and text of your website. You need to let Google know the areas that you serve. This isn’t always easy to do as most businesses serve their direct physical locations as well as areas around them. To combat this and get your exposure into other towns and cities, it’s important to keep a few key aspects of local on page SEO in mind.
Include keywords like Location, City, County, and State in your content and on key on page elements. These elements are
- Heading Tags (H1, H2 etc)
- Meta Titles and Descriptions
- Page body content
- The url of your website
- To the ALT and Title tags on your images
When adding and writing any content for your website. Keep in mind to add the occasional keyword to keep your website and landing pages relevant for local searches.
Another way to get localized targeting is to create individual landing pages tailored to specific areas. As in, my own website for example. Build a landing page dedicated to serving Anderson, South Carolina. https://www.clemsonwebdesign.com/anderson-sc-web-design/ to let Anderson residents know that you exist and that you serve their area. Another page I built to target Greenville South Carolina here https://www.clemsonwebdesign.com/greenville-sc-website-design-development/
The key to this approach is to be conservative and don’t be spammy. Don’t create identical pages for every city in your state. Eventually, Google could flag that as spam and your site could get penalized. If you stay with original content for each landing page – it’s a fairly effective practice.
Local South Carolina Directories, Citations and Links
The next step is to push local links and directories to list your website. Check out your local Chamber of Commerce. Usually, the CoC provides a local business directory with links to their websites. Membership cost can range from $100 to a thousand dollars. It usually depends on your local Chambers.
The local chambers in the upstate South Carolina area are below.
Oconee County Chamber of Commerce (Serving Seneca, Walhalla, Westminster etc)
Pickens County Chamber of Commerce (Serving Clemson, Six Mile, Easley, Liberty etc)
Anderson County Chamber of Commerce (Serving Anderson, Pelzer, Pendleton etc)
Greenville County Chamber of Commerce (Serving Greenville, Fountain Inn, Greer, Fountain Inn, Mauldin etc)
Given the membership cost of the local chamber of commerce organizations. You’re looking at a $300 to $500 to get listed in 3 counties of your area. If you have the means I’d highly recommend getting listed on all of the Upstate South Carolina Counties that you provide your services or sell your goods in.
The next citations and directories to get listed on would be https://www.yellowpages.com/ , https://www.superpages.com/ and https://www.whitepages.com/. These are the mainstay telephone directories. Basic listings are free but you can pay for premium listings and even advertise with them.
Also don’t rule out the BBB for a little extra trust factor. https://www.bbb.org/
Even more local directories like Yelp https://www.yelp.com, and Manta https://www.manta.com/, Houzz https://www.houzz.com/, (for the contractors and home builders), Angies List https://www.angieslist.com/ , Linkedin https://www.linkedin.com/ and great for exposure as well.
Be sure to also get listed up on Social Media sites like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram as well.
Clemson Web Design Local SEO
These are just basic tips to help local South Carolina businesses get found on Google and the Internet. There’s no one magic step or secret recipe that’s going to jump you ahead of your local competition. It’s all a mixture of content, link building, and steady consistent work. The key is to keep at it, network, build links to your website and business. Add new content to your website occasionally and get those customers reviews and social accounts active. If you do the basics and just do a little occasional SEO work – You’ll definitely see an increase in calls and business activity.
If you’re confused about parts of this article and not quite sure how to implement some of these local SEO techniques yourself. Clemson Web Design serves the Upstate South Carolina, Seneca, Clemson, Anderson, Easley, Greenville areas and has clients all over the world. Feel free to contact me for a free local web design & SEO consultation.