Local SEO and Beauty Schools: What You Need To Know and Do
Having a beauty school that offers amazing programs is only a part of the equation, you also have to be found by potential students! Local SEO helps any brand of any size from a new startup location to a big national brand as it brings the highest converting digital leads to your business.
Word of mouth and referrals are a great way to get noticed, but they can only go so far. One of the best ways to get your business name out there is by being present where people are looking for you: on search engines!
Local SEO helps you be found by making sure you show up in the all-important map 3 pack. This brings you massive results, as being in the top three of results the vast majority of clicks to those websites. Getting more clicks means more leads, which ultimately gets you more enrollments.
This blog and presentation will give you THREE actionable tactics you can do TODAY to help your school bring in more of the highest converting digital leads to your business:
- Your primary business category
- Remove competitor spam
- Google reviews
The value of optimizing your online presence for search engines is hard to understate. It allows you to get your school name and offerings in front of the right people, at the right time, in the right place. Today we’re going to zoom in on 3 specific tactics that will help you get better visibility, expand your radius of influence and get the best local SEO results.
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What Is Local SEO?
Just by means of introduction, local SEO specifically refers to the tasks and tactics any business can take to improve their search engine rankings and presence in their local area. Mainly, this refers to the “map pack” listings and your Google My Business (GMB) “profile”.
There are a variety of factors that Google’s algorithm takes into consideration when determining who should rank first for any search query.
What Are the Top Factors?
According to a survey conducted by Whitespark involving the top local SEO experts in the industry, the top 10 factors include:
- Your primary GMB category
- Keywords in the GMB business name
- How close your physical location is to the person making the search
- Your physical address vs. city searched for
- Additional GMB categories
- Links to your website
- Keywords in Google reviews
- High numerical Google review ratings
- Removal of spam listings
- Completeness of GMB listing
The conclusions here are that, unsurprisingly, Google’s rankings heavily depend on Google’s own products. In fact:
6 of the top 10 local SEO factors are related to Google My Business.
However on the other hand, 3 of the top 4 are factors you don’t have control over.
Your Primary Business Category
This is the most important factor to your local SEO because it gives Google the first initial clue as to what your business provides. Most importantly, make sure you list your business in GMB with the right primary category, as that has the most weight in Google’s algorithm.
The category should reflect your most valuable search term. Don’t know what that is? What service do you offer that you make the most revenue from? For beauty schools that is going to be your school admissions over your salon. So, here you need to put “Beauty School” and not just “School”. Adding just “School” can actually make it so your reviews won’t appear on your profile!
From there you should fill out any other additional services you provide, making sure not to overdo it or list anything you don’t actually offer. For most schools this will include:
- Beauty Salon
- Hair Salon
And then if you have additional services you can add things like:
- Nail Salon
- Make-up Artist
- Massage Spa
- Massage School
- Barber School
- Barber Shop
- Hair Removal Service
- Other services you may offer!
You can edit your categories, and most everything else on your Google My Business page, by logging in to business.google.com and navigating to your information screen. It will look something like this once you are done:
While you are in that back end of GMB, take the time to make your profile as complete as possible. Google’s algorithm loves data, and the more you can give to it, the better chance you have at ranking well for it.
If you need some help maintaining a fully optimized Google My Business account, give us a call or fill out a form. We have one-time and ongoing solutions that can meet your business needs.
Fix Spam Listings
Now, a word on spam listings. This is a relatively emergent strategy that unfortunately has sprung up over the last year or two. Because the top 5 ranking factors for a GMB listing are relatively simple to mass produce, anyone can create a listing with the right info. All you “need” are categories, a keyword stuffed name, and place the location somewhere in the proper city/cities. Because this is such a simple formula, there has been a notable rise in the amount of spam listings overall.
Anyone can report these spam listings, and it may be one the top tactics you can do to easily move up the map pack listings into the coveted top 3 spots. You can spot them by finding GMB listings that have no reviews, a generic keyword-stuffed name, and no website or a bogus website.
If you find one, there is a “suggest an edit” feature at the bottom of a GMB profile. From there you can make suggestions to Google to update this information. If it is a real business using the spammy tactic, like the example up above, you can suggest an edit on the business details.
If it is a true spam listing, you would mark “close or remove” and then select “other” with any details that you can provide (no website, screenshot that the location doesn’t exist on google maps, etc.) Google will then update you via email of any changes that it does accept. A word of caution here, make sure you are only giving legitimate information because Google tracks users who offer suggestions, and if you give enough wrong information they’ll ignore future edits you may do.
Google reviews play a huge role in improving your Local SEO not only from a rankings standpoint, but also from a conversions perspective. Google has stated, “High-quality, positive reviews from your customers can improve your business visibility” referring to it being a part of their algorithm.
Additionally, when referring to how it impacts conversions, are you more likely to look into a company that has 100 reviews and a 3.9 star rating or a company that has 1233 reviews and a 4.6 star rating?
Getting good reviews on a regular basis is usually one of our top suggestions that we have for any business, as it is something every person inside the business can help with. Businesses benefit from not only the rating and quantity of reviews they have on their listing, but also how consistent they are in receiving those reviews.
Something we’re asked on a regular basis is: “What matters the most with Google reviews?”. In reality, there are 4 major factors that play into it:
- Overall rating – A 4.9 is better than a 4.8
- Quantity – 101 is better than 100
- Consistency – A new review every week is better than 4 reviews at the beginning of each month
- Recency – A review you received today is more important than the review you received last month
If you’d like professional training on how to get more positive reviews for your business, contact us today and we’ll come to your location or do a live virtual training with you!
There are plenty more things that you can do to help knock out your competition and grow your local SEO and thereby grow your business. If you found these tips helpful, subscribe to our blog or if you’d like a free consultation, contact us today!
If you want more information like this, get free access to each session from The Beauty School Summit 2021! You can watch sessions on SEO, PPC, social media, and much, much more! It’s completely free.