You’ve just embarked on your entrepreneurial journey and opened up your very own pet service business. The doors are open and you’re full of excitement but…crickets!
“Where is everyone?” you think to yourself. Your market research shows you should be inundated with new customers.
Well, you likely haven’t focused on marketing your new business through local SEO. But don’t worry, we’ve got you covered! Below is a comprehensive local SEO guide for pet services so you can learn how to attract customers online.
What is local SEO?
SEO is ‘Search Engine Optimization’ and local SEO is search engine optimization for your local area. Any business with a physical presence would benefit from local SEO.
Local SEO is the best way for new customers to find your business online. For example, a dog parent may search “dog groomer near me” on Google, and the businesses with the best local SEO will show up at the top of the page.
As the #1 result on Google gets a 32% click-through rate, our goal is to get your business to the top of Google’s search results through local SEO.
To do this we need to focus on the 3 main areas that Google looks at when ranking businesses for local search queries. These include:
- Relevance: How well does your local business profile match what someone is searching for online?
- Distance: How close physically is your business to the person who is searching online? For example, someone searching for “dog groomer in LA” will be shown results for dog grooming businesses with physical addresses in LA. For local searches, Google prioritizes local results and shows local businesses over other general results.
- Prominence: How well-known is your business? Google prioritizes showing businesses that are authority figures in that particular industry. There are 4 main ways to increase your business’s authority on Google:
- Gain lots of positive reviews
- Have backlinks to your website from other pet industry businesses
- Ensure your business’s name/address/phone number is accurate on your website and Google profile
- Have a website with good organic rankings that is performing well in Google’s SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages)
What is the difference between SEO and local SEO?
SEO and local SEO are both strategies that aim to improve a business's visibility online by showing up at the top of the search engine result pages.
However, the end goals of SEO and local SEO are different.
- Target audience: SEO focuses on improving a website’s visibility worldwide and aims to cast a wide net to catch audiences. Local SEO focuses on improving a website’s visibility in local searches to capture a local audience.
- Search intent: SEO aims to rank well for general search queries. Local SEO aims to rank well for location-based search queries.
- Optimization factors: SEO focuses on optimizing websites for site speed, general keywords, and backlinks from other national and international businesses. Local SEO focuses on optimizing a Google profile, location-based keywords, and backlinks from local businesses.
Benefits of local SEO for pet services.
So now you know what local SEO is, is it really worth spending lots of time and energy focusing on it for your own pet care business?
The answer is yes! There are so many great benefits that will come from improving your local SEO.
By optimizing your local SEO, your business will be in front of more potential customers' eyes. A potential client may not have heard of your business, but if your business is at the top of the search results, your website or profile is more likely to be clicked on.
Gaining lots of great reviews is an important local SEO strategy. 9 out of 10 consumers say looking at reviews helped them discover local businesses, so improving your local SEO through reviews can help gain the trust of potential clients.
Pet care business software tools such as PetExec, can help with gaining these important reviews. PetExec integrates with Broadly to make review acquisition easy.
Lower marketing costs.
Marketing your business can be expensive. Having a prominent local SEO presence means you will already be at the top of Google’s search results. This means you won’t have to pay Google through Google Ads to be there.
49% of marketers agreed that being at the top of Google's search results organically had the best return on investment (ROI) for their marketing tactics.
Focusing on local SEO marketing can allow you to scale back your other marketing efforts. You may find that having a good online presence brings in all the customers you need and other marketing strategies such as flyers are no longer necessary.
Having a strong online presence will boost your business’s credibility. It can build the trust of your potential customers and shows them you are an established business. In today’s digital world, most customers will expect to see some sort of online presence.
Increased competitive advantage.
If your business is relatively quite new then you may struggle to cut through the noise of the already established pet services in your area. However, improving your business’s local SEO can help you push past all of these other competitors and get your business to the top of the search engines’ results page.
A lot of business owners believe SEO is too difficult and give up their efforts early on. By following the below local SEO guide, you can out-rank your competitors and attract more customers to your business.
5 steps to optimize your business’s local SEO.
Improving your local SEO may seem like an arduous task, especially if you are not technically savvy. However, below is a comprehensive guide of everything you will need to know to improve your local SEO. From pet care businesses with websites to solo-preneurs with no online presence, this guide is catered to everyone.
You don’t need to complete all the steps before seeing any traction. Pick and choose the steps you want to take without getting overwhelmed and giving up. If you stick to it, your pet service business should see a huge amount of growth.
Step 1: Create and optimize your Google Business Profile.
The number one step that you definitely should take is creating and optimizing your Google Business Profile (formally Google My Business).
If you don’t have a Google profile, you can create your free Google Business Profile by clicking the link and following all the prompts that Google gives you.
Your Google Business Profile will show up in both Google Search and Google Maps, getting your business in front of more eyes.
If you already have a Google Business Profile, you can work on fully optimizing the profile. To do this you can:
- Optimize the information on your business profile ensuring the name, address, phone numbers, and associated website are accurate and up to date. You can also include your business hours and any other information that your customers will find useful.
- Respond to every review attached to your Google profile (including negative reviews) to increase your online presence and show your customers you care about their opinions and experiences.
- Add 10 unique pictures to your profile. This can include photos of your storefront, pictures of the pets you care for, before & after photos if you are a dog groomer, and if you are comfortable in doing so, include a picture of yourself.
- Create a list of all the services you provide. This lets customers know if you are offering the service they are looking for and also allows you to add additional keywords to your profile to build authority within your field.
- Engage in the ‘Questions & Answers’ section of your business profile. By responding to your customers’ questions you show you care about their queries. Don’t have any questions to respond to? No problem! Have your friends and family post common questions instead and answer those.
As 85% of shoppers say product information and pictures are important to them when deciding to buy, it’s important that your Google Business Profile is informative and well-rounded.
Step 2. Get more reviews.
Having lots of 5-star reviews on your Google profile shows Google you are a well-trusted business which will push your business toward the top of the search results.
To find how many reviews you need to get, type in your primary keyword into Google such as ‘dog groomer in LA’, and take the average amount of total reviews for the top 3 competitors that show up. This average amount is the number of reviews you should aim to get.
There are lots of ways to get more reviews for your pet care business. You can:
- Provide an amazing service and the reviews will come naturally. Lots of people will leave a 5-star review unprompted if they have had a truly amazing experience.
- Ask your customers to leave reviews of their experience. You can do this verbally or if you use a pet care business software such as PetExec, you can send automated follow-up emails which include a link to where they can leave the review.
- Put a sign in the lobby of your physical location that requests your customers to leave a review on Google.
- Share a post on your social media profile requesting previous customers leave a review.
- Host a giveaway where you enter participants into a draw after they have left a review. The giveaway prize could be a free session with you.
Step 3: Create and optimize your business website.
Having a business website is another great way to increase your local SEO. It also shows your customers your business is well-established and legitimate. If you are not technically savvy, you don’t need to worry. You can hire a website designer to build the website for you.
Firstly, ensure your website is linked to your Google Business Profile.
Secondly, go through all of the main pages on your website and include your primary keyword (e.g. ‘dog groomer in LA’) into a URL, H1 tag, title, and a couple of times in the body of the text.
Be sure to place your business address on all the pages of your website as another indication to Google that your business should be shown in specific location-based queries.
Step 4. Create geo-targeted content.
With your website fully optimized for your primary keyword, you can begin writing blog posts with content specific to your local area.
By writing high-quality content in your specific niche, for your specific location, you’ll boost your topical authority and give Google another indication your business should be shown in that specific location.
Examples of titles for geo-targeted blog posts include:
- ‘How Much Does a Dog Groomer Cost in LA?’
- ‘Best Dog-friendly Cafes in LA’
- ‘Top 5 Tending Dog Grooming Styles in LA’
- ‘Grooming Tips for Busy Dog Parents In LA’
Step 5. Get local backlinks to your website.
The final step for increasing your local SEO, and blazing past all of your competitors includes getting backlinks to your website.
“What the pup is a backlink?” I hear you ask.
A backlink is a hyperlink that sits on someone else’s website and points back to your website. In other words, it’s a link on a website that, when clicked on, leads the reader directly to your website.
Of all the ranking factors Google’s algorithm uses to rank websites, the number of backlinks a website has is one of the most important ranking factors the algorithm uses.
Any backlink to your website is great, but when thinking about improving your local SEO specifically, you want to focus on link building from local pet business websites.
There are multiple ways of getting backlinks to your website:
- Reach out to local bloggers and media outlets in your area that write about local businesses. Ask them to feature your pet service business.
- Contact local veterinarians, pet store owners, and animal shelters and offer your services in exchange for a post about the event on their website. The post should include a link back to your website.
- Collaborate with other pet professionals in your local area by writing a guest post for them. The guest post should be informative and engaging and ideally a topic around the pet service you provide.
Be sure that the backlinks are “do follow” to receive all the SEO link juice possible.
Additional growth strategies for small businesses.
Increasing your local SEO is one of the best ways to grow your business. But you don’t have to stop there!
Some additional tips to scale your business include:
- Offering additional pet care services such as dog walking/dog training/dog grooming
- Selling retail products such as dog toys and treats
- Growing your team so you can service more clients
- Focusing on growing your social media presence to attract new customers
- Having a loyalty program for your current customers
PetExec can take care of all your business scaling needs. From scheduling your growing team to selling retail products, PetExec can help you grow your small business with ease.
Focusing on local SEO for your pet service business is a necessity in today’s digital world. By having a solid presence online you can service more pet owners without needing to spend money on expensive marketing campaigns.
By focusing on building out your Google Business Profile you can put your business in front of more eyes and reap the benefits of local SEO. When the time is right, you can build your website and increase your local SEO through content specific to your pet service and location.
How long does it take to see results from local SEO efforts?
After creating your Google profile, it can take a few weeks before your profile is shown in Google Search and Google Maps. For your website’s local SEO efforts, it can take a couple of months before Google indexes and ranks your content.
How much does local SEO cost?
Local SEO can be completely free. A Google profile is free to create and gaining online reviews from customers is also free. Creating a website does incur a cost but can be run for as little as $10 a month depending on your website hosting provider.
What kind of business can use local SEO?
Any business that relies on local customers and has a physical location can benefit from local SEO. This includes service-based businesses, restaurants and cafes, gyms, and retail stores. If the business wants to attract customers online then local SEO will help them.