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Getting a local music store to rank high on Google is more challenging than ever. In addition to other local music businesses, you’re competing with chains, online operations, resellers, Amazon, and more.

According to Google, most people researching products and services online only check out two or three options, which is why it’s critical to rank high on Google and other search engines.

Here are some simple proven strategies you can use to juice your music store’s Google rankings and maintain them over time.

1. Make the most of Google My Business (GMB).

Leveraging Google My Business to its fullest has been shown to significantly impact local SEO performance. It makes it more likely for a music store to show up in the top three results when people are searching for the things they sell in their local area.

Start by making sure your store’s information on GMB is correct and complete. It should include anything online searchers may find valuable, including:

  • Name, address, and phone number. Check that all these things are accurate. If you have a phone number with a local area code along with a toll-free number, use the local number in your listing because it will indicate to Google that your business is a local one. Also, ensure the information in your Google My Business listing is the same as on all other online directories to avoid conflicting information about your music store that could confuse Google.
  • Google My Business lets you select a primary category along with additional ones to convey what your music store does and sells. The categories you select are one of the factors that determines what you rank for and how you rank for those things. The categories will help connect you with possible buyers who are looking for what your music store offers, whether it’s a variety of instruments, pianos, music lessons, instrument repairs, and more. Don’t make the common mistake of selecting too many categories. It will confuse the search engine. Choose the right categories to describe the key components of your business. If you find that you aren’t ranking as high as you’d like for certain aspects of your music business, you can fine-tune your categories over time until you get things right.
  • Google checks photo engagement on GMB to help determine rankings in local search. Select awesome photos of the most interesting instruments, equipment, performances, and other things associated with your store. Change them out frequently. Take things to the next level and ask customers and students to sign photo consent forms so you can post images of them with their instruments or while performing. People love seeing pictures of other happy people engaging in their passion for music.
  • Many people aren’t aware that they can upload short videos to their Google My Business listing. They’re a great way to show what makes your music store unique. This could include videos that show product demos and performances, or introductions to the people on your staff. All of these things will help distinguish your store from competitors that are also trying to rank on Google.
  • People today don’t believe in old school marketing or hype. However, they do trust the opinions of people who are similar to them. Ask satisfied customers to leave reviews on your Google My Business listing. While you’re at it, make it a point to respond to all the reviews you receive, even negative ones. It sends a signal to Google that you care about your customers, and what they think about you — and that you provide attentive customer service.
  • Q&A. This is another GMB feature many businesses aren’t aware of. Ignoring it could be a BIG mistake. When people use it to ask you questions about music, lessons, equipment, hours of operation, and other things, make sure you answer them as promptly, clearly, and correctly as possible. Responsiveness and accuracy will go a long way toward building credibility with Google.
  • Regularly monitor your Google My Business dashboard. Things change, especially during challenging times like these. Make sure your listing always includes all the latest information about your operation. If you adjust hours, add new services, or make other changes, make sure they’re reflected in GMB.

2. Take advantage of online directories.

Leveraging online music related directories and business listings is a proven way to improve your music store backlink profile and rankings. On top of this, the best of these directories rank high on Google search results. If your store isn’t listed on them, you could be missing out on a cost-effective way to find new customers. Make sure your store’s name, address, and phone number on the directories are consistent with the information you have listed on Google My Business.

3. Request and encourage online reviews.

Beyond Google My Business reviews, ask your best customers to submit ratings and reviews on other sites. Positive notices will have a beneficial effect on your Google results. Don’t limit review requests to product sales. Ask people to rate music lessons, instrument repair services, and anything else you offer. It will help Google better understand your business, what it offers and the things that make it unique. Make it easy for people to provide reviews. Send links to review sites via email or text message to happy customers. Include links on your website, as well.

4. Leverage the right keywords.

Selecting keywords that are meaningful to shoppers has always been an important part of successful SEO strategies for music stores. You need to find the right balance of keywords that prospective customers care about, have a high search frequency, moderate competitiveness, and are relevant to your business, including what it does and makes it unique. Once you do that, use them on your website and in the content you regularly publish on your blog. It will send ongoing signals about your business to Google and other search engines. As Google’s back end systems become more sophisticated and focus on the intent of a search, using phrases that put your keywords into context will become critical, as well.

5. Optimize your images.

One of the most popular Google searches related to musical instruments is for “pictures of [instrument and model].” Take advantage of this by tagging the pictures you upload to your website and blog with the words “picture of,” along with the type of instrument, brand name, make, and model. Include this information in captions, as well. Don’t overdo it because it could come across to Google as gaming the system. However, it should be part of your optimization strategy for images when it makes sense.

6. Stay active on social media.

Google can’t rank your website, and all the great content on it, if it doesn’t know it exists. One of the best ways to alert the search engine is through social media. Positive responses (likes, clicks, and shares) to your posts, especially those with links to your blog content, indicate to Google that you’re doing something right and providing users with something valuable. Once the search engine sees this, it will start monitoring your content and ranking it for search purposes.

7. Connect locally.

One valuable Google optimization strategy many music stores miss out on is making local connections. Linking to regional pages on your site signals to Google that your business is an integral part of the community you serve. It also helps build trust and support with people who live in the area. For example, on your “About Us” page, you may want to link to the websites of music groups, schools, cultural centers, and other organizations your business supports. Include links to your local Chamber of Commerce or city guide where appropriate.

Leveraging these seven simple tips could make a BIG difference to how you rank on Google, making it possible for many more prospective customers to find your music store online.