How Focused Hypnosis got hundreds of local customers for free using local SEO
You have probably heard of SEO (search engine optimisation). Maybe you know exactly what the letters stands for or maybe you don’t. What you almost certainly know though is that this SEO stuff is important because everyone tells you it is, right?
I would like to tell you the same thing as ‘they’ have. SEO is important. Unlike ‘them’ though I am going to ensure that when you have finished reading this article you will know more about one part of SEO and what you can do yourself to have a much better chance of being found at the top of local search results, and best of all, it’s FREE!
My name is Richard and I run a hypnotherapy practice called Focused Hypnosis here in Sheffield and it is in no small part due to local SEO that I have been able to make thousands of pounds more than I would have done without it. In fact, it is thanks to the stuff I am going to introduce you to here that I have been able to grow my business from working in a back bedroom at home to the point where I have been able to open a 4 room wellness centre called Sheffield Wellness Centre. Local SEO has been at the heart of the success of both of these businesses.
How to get Local SEO to work for your business.
So, you may be wondering how you get this ‘local SEO’ stuff to work for your business. There are many different things you can do to enhance the potential of your business being found by people in your neighbourhood. One of the most effective things you can do is to set up a Google My Business (GMB) profile.
You may not know Google My Business by name but you have seen its output many times. If Google thinks you are looking for something local they will almost always show you some local suppliers of that thing you are after. Google do this through the Google My Business which are usually at or near the top of the results page. You could type in the single word “hairdresser” for example and Google would show you hairdressers in your city, more than likely someone less than a mile away from where you are searching. They know where you are when you search most of the time. They show you people from nearby rather than the best hairdresser who is 40 miles away because they know the intent behind that search is to find someone nearby.
Here is what focused hypnotherapy appears like on Google My Business for a relevant search term…
You can do everything you can to increase your chances but you are still dependent on Google doing what they do. You might be thinking “If he’s so good at local SEO why is he #2 in the picture”. Great question! I’m in 2nd place, despite having a LOT more reviews than the business in #1 position, because there is a hypnotherapist a tenth of a mile closer to where I was searching from and they have some good reviews so they were an appropriate result for my search based on my location.
Google’s search results are much more fluid these days and are different for different searchers. There is no such thing as being in the same position for the same search for everyone making that search.
Understanding how Google decides what to show in local search results.
Google decides who is shown which position based on several different factors.
These factors include (but aren’t limited to)
- Location of the searcher
- Number of reviews and quality of reviews on the businesses GMB listing
- The depth of detail that has been added to the listing
- The consistency of the information about the business listed on the profile and other websites
- The category the business is under
- Is your phone number local or mobile?
What can you do to rank higher in Google My Business?
Google is looking for information which is reliable and that is often tied in with the consistency of information they know about you. If your business address, for example, appears on different websites and directories and forums and is always the same then Google can be reasonably confident that your business is where you say it is. If your business moved address and you didn’t correct all the places where your old address is mentioned then this will add to Google’s uncertainty about your details and could result in a lower rank.
Get a local phone number
A local business will have a local number. Google likes businesses that have a local number as it is a sign that you serve the area. Customers like a local number because it reassures them that you are local but it also inspires a greater degree of trust that you are a legitimate business. Your honesty and reliability are amplified in the customer’s mind because when they see a local number they imagine a building and an office with a desk and a phone on it and someone there to pick it up. This is preferable to a jack-the-lad type of person with a mobile number as the main business number who could be here, there or anywhere. This type of person is unconsciously seen as somewhat unreliable just because of the phone number.
If you need to be out and about and don’t have an office or staff to answer the phone you can get a VOIP (voice over internet protocol) number which is basically a virtual phone number. Calls to this number can be redirected to your mobile. In this way you can be out and about AND have a local number. Line rental is about £2 or £3 per month usually. If you would like a 1 month free trial of the VOIP supplier I use have a look at voipfone.co.uk
Read the great post by Tommy Lee-Zmuda from Hallamshire Energy on getting reviews for your business and follow his advice. Ask everyone you deal with through your business for their email address as standard. If you know they had a great experience working with you and they have a Gmail address ask them to write a review on GMB. Most people will forget but if only 1 in 10 remember and you ask 100 people that will be 10 glowing reviews of your business and this WILL make a difference.
People will perceive you as being better than competitors who have fewer reviews and Google will use it as a ranking factor and could show you higher than other businesses as a result. These results can then be copied onto your website and further reassure people that you are good at what you do and can get the result you promise.
You can make it easy for people to review your GMB listing by using this website https://supple.com.au/tools/google-review-link-generator/ Once you have set up your GMB listing use this link and on that page search for your business name and then create a URL that will lead clients directly to the review box (and can even have the box pre-filled with 5 gold stars!)
Search Google Maps for your competitors and see what their business category is for their listing. As you will notice on the screen shot above, my business category is “hypnotherapy service”. I use that because my competitors use that.
Level of detail
If there is a space for some information in your profile then use it. Give Google details about your business and there is a high chance they will use it. The more details you provide the better. This can make a BIG difference in the prominence of your listing.
The GMB dashboard gives you an overview of how your listing is doing, though the accuracy of the numbers should be taken with a pinch of salt. That being said, in the last 30 days I have had 1.66k views of my profile!
Would you like an extra 1.16k people to see your business in the next month? What kind of a difference could that make?
Just one of the opportunities in GMB to add extra depth of information is through the photos section. There is the chance to show internal and external photos of your place of work. You can show pictures of the team and the business logo. Use these opportunities!
I have added a lot of photos to my listing, I even added a 360 degree image using a Google Maps phone app which I then uploaded to my GMB listing. Give Google what they want! Photos have made a big difference to my business’s visibility as you can see below.
In the last month I have had 1.55k photo views 356% more photo views than similar businesses!
The GMB dashboard tells me how many photos are on my listing and at the moment it is around 35 as you can see.
Other businesses like mine have 8 or so on average. More photos equal more views which could equal more clients.
This post has just scratched the surface of what is possible through Google My Business. I would highly recommend that unless you are very familiar with the tool and check it on a very regular basis that you get on top of it now. It is the fastest and cheapest way to the top of the search results for the majority of businesses, whether you are local or national.
If you want a free chat with me about how I run my GMB listing feel free to find me on Twitter @mr_hypnotherapy or book a bit of time to come to my wellness centre on Abbeydale Road for a cuppa and a chat.
Thank you so much to Richard for taking the time to give a real life case study of the power of effective local search engine optimisation! How many of the tips in here are you currently engaging?
If you enjoyed this article, be sure to check out related pieces on the site including Winning at Content Marketing, How to Build an audience of potential customers for your brand, the search engine bonuses of effective content marketing, and how a business can become an authority in its field through effective content marketing.
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Bio: Richard Hennessy has been a hypnotherapist at Focused Hypnosis since 2009 and is the manager of Sheffield Wellness Centre. He regularly helps people to change aspects of how they think, act and feel through natural and powerful hypnotic techniques. As the manager of the wellness centre he uses his first hand experience of local search optimisation to mentor business owners in how they can be found more easily online.