We have all done it – an online search that ends in “near me.” Local services are one of the most popular online searches and as a salon owner, you definitely want your salon to come up when someone is looking for a quality hair service nearby. While the term, “SEO” (search engine optimization) may be intimidating — as a salon owner, it is definitely important to understand the basics of how SEO works and how it can benefit your bottom line.
Increase Traffic to Your Business with “Salon Near Me” Searches
By Alana D’Elia, Digital Marketing Manager
SEO can be defined as, “optimizing your online presence so that your business is found by potential customers at the exact place and time that they are looking for a service.” And local SEO is about making sure people can actually find your business in real life. What does this mean for you? It means that if you take a little time to properly set up your business information on Google and other search engines, you can help local people find your business. So, how do you go about setting yourself up for success? We have provided you with some statistical facts and important reasons for utilizing local SEO, followed by some basic steps that you can take, even without a website, to bring in new clients.
Why Local Search is So Important*
The following are some statistics that prove how important local search continues to be for salons:
- 50 % of people who did a local search on their phone went to a physical business location within one day
- 60 % of American adults conduct searches for local services on tablets and smartphones
- 50 % of searchers on mobile phones are looking for things like a local business address
- 78 % of local-based searches on a mobile device result in purchases
- 1 in 3 searches on a smartphone were conducted just before arriving at a salon
- 97 % of consumers looked online for local businesses in 2019, with 12 % searching for a local business online every day
- 69% of Yelp users are Gen X and millennials
- 45% of consumers visit reviews on Yelp. Only Google gets more views than Yelp: 45% of consumers visit reviews on Yelp before making a purchase compared to 64% on Google
- 85% of people trust online reviews (and use them to make decisions)
* Source: SearchEngineJournal.com
Google has an estimated 87% market share (in the US, at least). This means that most people are using Google to search for local businesses. Here’s what you can do on Google to help your business get found through local searches.
1. Create a Google My Business Profile
If you haven’t already done so, make sure and set up your Google My Business profile at https://business.google.com. It is free! Local results favor the most relevant results for each search. Salons with complete and accurate information are easier to match with the right searches on both Google search and Google maps. Because Google also owns Waze, your salon/business will appear there, too.
Make sure you’ve entered your complete information in Google My Business, so users know what you do, where you are, and when they can visit. Provide information like, but not limited to, your:
- Physical address
- Phone number
2. Verify your location(s)
Verify your business locations so they’re more likely to show in local search results across Google products, like Maps and Search. Google provides two different methods for verifying your listing. You can receive a verification code via phone call to the business number or a post card sent to the business address.
3. Keep your hours accurate
Update your business hours regularly, including when you open and close, and special hours for holidays and events. Keeping your hours updated and accurate lets shoppers know when you’re available and gives them confidence that your business will be open when they arrive. You should learn how to edit your hours.
4. Manage and respond to reviews
Respond to reviews that users leave about your business. When you reply to reviews (especially in a timely manner) it shows that you value your customers and their feedback. High-quality, positive reviews from your customers can improve your business visibility and increase the likelihood that a shopper will visit your location. Learn how to create a link for customer reviews.
5. Add photos
To showcase your goods and services and to tell the story of your business, add photos to your Business Profile. Accurate and appealing pictures can show shoppers what your business offers what they’re searching for. Learn how to add photos or videos to your Business Profiles.
Much of what is known about Yelp’s algorithm and how to rank high on Yelp has been learned from experimentation. Luckily, digital marketers have already done this for you! If you follow these steps, your salon or small business will stand out from the competition:
1. Claim your business listing
If you’re really new to Yelp, you’ll first need to claim your business at https://biz.yelp.com.
2. Complete all of the address and contact information
Make sure to add your website, social media accounts, address, and any other helpful information to your Yelp business profile. Make sure that across the internet, your business name, address, and contact information are exactly the same – consistency is key.
3. Select your Yelp categories
Select the best categories for your business on Yelp. Keep in mind that the more categories you select, the more it dilutes your rankings in each individual category (this means your business will be more difficult to find online). Keep categories to a minimum in order to rank high in each category that is important to obtaining new business. The following are the categories offered for Beauty & Spas:
- Acne Treatment
- Cosmetics & Beauty Supply
- Day Spas
- Eyebrow Services
- Eyelash Service
- Hair Extensions
- Hair Loss Centers
- Hair Removal
- Laser Hair Removal
- Threading Services
- Hair Salons
- Blow Dry/Out Services
- Hair Extensions
- Hair Stylists
- Kids Hair Salons
- Men’s Hair Salons
- Hot Springs
- Makeup Artists
- Medical Spas
- Nail Salons
- Nail Technicians
- Permanent Makeup
- Skin Care
- Spray Tanning
- Tanning Beds
- Teeth Whitening
4. Optimize your business description
Think about what your customers will be looking for when you write your business description. Don’t write for the Yelp algorithm, write for humans. This means no keyword stuffing or unnatural writing.
5. Add photos
Pictures are worth a thousand words, or thousands of dollars. Post photos that will show a potential customer the reasons why they should visit your salon. This includes both photos that you have uploaded as well as photos that reviewers have uploaded, so encourage reviews and check-ins with photos!
6. Create exciting promos
Consumers can search exclusively for local businesses with a check-in offer or Yelp Deal on the mobile Yelp app, and with nearly 60 % of Yelp searches happening through mobile, optimizing your listing for mobile search is imperative.
Added bonus: Customers that check in to your business or purchase a Yelp Deal are reminded of their recent visit and asked if they’re interested in leaving a review the next time they use Yelp’s desktop platform. They can also share these check-ins and Yelp Deals with their friends on Yelp, Facebook, and Twitter, increasing the visibility of your business.
7. Manage and respond to reviews
Responding to reviews is a great way to show Yelp and its readers that your page is active and demonstrates excellent customer service. Think of any negative reviews as an opportunity to understand your customers and respond to their thoughts.
After you have taken the steps and completed these local SEO optimizations, we are confident that you will start to see new clients arrive for their first hair or beauty appointment. While the entire process may take up to three months to see results – it’s worth it. This is a great opportunity to welcome new customers, make them feel super special, and promote your business. Remind them to re-book their next appointment, review you on Google and Yelp, and tell all their friends.