Many business owners are failing to reach their potential due to a lack of marketing know-how. For small companies to enjoy great success in their chosen industry, they need to find ways to increase traffic to their website when potential customers do a local search and grow their brand recognition.

There is, however, more to online marketing than building a website and launching social media campaigns. If you want to acquire many customers, you’ll need to refine your tactics.

To become the go-to brand in your neighborhood, ensure you read the four powerful strategies for dominating local search.

1. Create and Optimize a Google My Business Listing

Most people will visit Google when searching for a local business. If you want your company to appear at the top of the search engine results pages (SERPs), you will need to both claim and optimize a Google My Business listing.

It’s free of charge to set up and tweak a Google business account, but you’ll need to optimize it correctly to drive a flurry of traffic to your site. For example, you’ll need to add categories, submit your address to Google Maps, and add images.

2. Write Effective Meta Descriptions

A meta description is the content snippet that will appear in the search engine results below your URL. Google has recently changed the length from 160 to 320 characters, which will provide your business with ample room to optimize your site for local search.

For example, you could use the space to incorporate local phrases, such as your neighborhood, city and services. A good meta description should also be written with the customer in mind and should contain the following key information:

• Your customers’ problems

• Your company’s solutions

• The benefits of your service

While a meta description will not directly impact your site’s Google ranking, it can determine its relevancy for a user’s search query.

3. Encourage Online Reviews

As customers will find it difficult to trust an unknown brand, many will read online reviews to determine whether to hire your local services or buy your products. To convince prospective customers that you are the right company for their needs, you should encourage your past clientele to write positive reviews on the likes of Google, Facebook, Yelp and TripAdvisor.

Unfortunately, a negative review will stand out more in a person’s mind than a positive one, which is why you must aim to rectify a problem to protect your small company’s online reputation.

If you receive a negative review from a disgruntled customer, you should respond in a quick and professional manner. Apologize for their negative experience and ask for them to give you a call so you can resolve the problem, which will prove you are a caring, proactive brand.

4. Optimize Your Website

Every small business should consider the keywords and phrases a potential customer might enter in the search engines, which they should then aim to incorporate into their web content, meta descriptions, business listings, and social media accounts. Optimized content could ultimately help your business to generate traffic, attract many customers and increase its revenue.