Local SEO for small business is how you can separate yourself from the more than 32.5 million other small businesses in the United States, according to Oberlo. Which SEO elements should you incorporate?
Here are some critical elements to use in local SEO for small businesses:
In this extensive guide, we’ll go over each of these strategies in full so your small business can implement them and accelerate your growth!
Search engine optimization or SEO is an inescapable acronym for business owners. You might grasp the basics of SEO, but what separates that and local SEO?
The difference is your audience. With standard SEO practices, you’re trying to reach as large of an audience as possible, so not only in your state or country but internationally or even globally.
Local SEO is about downsizing your SEO presence to only focus on the customers and leads in your neighborhood. This is a common SEO practice for small businesses with one brick-and-mortar location. You don’t yet need customers from all over the world because you have no means to accommodate them.
If your small business isn’t using local SEO, then you risk being usurped by the competition. Let’s delve into some benefits that should inspire you to harness the power of your local community.
Even if you’re only trying to rank for local customers, you do still want your small business website to rank.
Local SEO for small business is critical to your success. The early days of a small business are fraught with uncertainty. The sooner you can find leads consistently, boost conversions, and generate a reliable revenue stream, the steadier the financial footing that your small business will find itself on.
When the neighborhood is talking about you, they’ll do more than buzz about your business. They’ll also want to chat about your products and services.
As we’ll discuss in the section to come, reviews are a major component of local SEO. They’re also a huge factor in the decision-making process for the average consumer.
According to content service provider Podium, more than 90 percent of customers will look at online reviews before they make a purchasing decision.
The reviews that your customers leave will motivate other leads and customers to buy your products and services (provided the reviews are positive, of course), which further pads your bottom line.
Local SEO will undoubtedly bring more visitors to your small business website than perhaps you’ve ever seen before.
While the bump in traffic is nice, it will be short-lived unless you’re ready to capitalize on it. We’ll discuss this more coming up, but your website must be optimized for mobile.
The site should have clear navigation, easily understood menus, active links, and an appealing design. Finding the information one needs should not be challenging.
You also need opt-in forms and lead magnets to convince a lead to offer their contact information and join your email list. After all, you never know if their first visit to your website will also be their last.
Now that we’ve expounded on the benefits, we next want to delve into the strategies and services of local SEO for small business.
Google Business Profile is a free business directory courtesy of Google that showcases your small business name, phone number, website, address, and business hours.
You can also include images of your business (customers can upload these as well) and reviews.
The most important component of a Google Business Profile, or one of the most important components at least, is your website link.
Australian Web Experts notes that 60 percent of Google Business Profile interactions happen via clicking the link to a company’s website.
If your small business Google Business Profile is not 100 percent complete, then take the time to do that. It’s a small but major step towards bettering your local SEO.
Double-check that your address, business hours, phone number, and website link are all accurate as well.
If you’re looking for directories to join on an industry-wide level, you need to tighten your scope.
You can always join a directory by niche, but make sure the niche is represented by your geographical area as well.
Appearing on business directories will increase your small business visibility, get you the exposure you need, help your local SEO standing, and build more trust and credibility among your audience.
As your small business more readily embraces local SEO, it would behoove you to do an SEO audit, which looks for any foundational problems your website has.
For instance, website structure problems or on-page issues could mar your SEO standing.
If your users aren’t having the best experience using your website, this too can hamper your goals of landing on the first page of the search results.
An SEO audit does more than point out mistakes but also provides valuable information that can shape your future SEO decisions. You can look at competitive insights within your marketplace as well as content gaps and where future opportunities may arise.
Speaking of content, when you produce content such as blog posts, checklists, social media posts, emails, and the like, what kinds of keywords are you using?
If you didn’t answer “local keywords,” that’s something you need to implement into your local SEO for small business strategy immediately.
Keywords link back to user intent. When a user is looking for a local business, they’re going to search for keywords relevant to them.
As an example, if a person in Chicago wanted pizza, they wouldn’t type “pizza restaurants US,” but “pizza restaurants Chicago” or even “pizza restaurants near me.”
If they have Google location services turned on, then the results will be hyper-local.
You need your keywords to be just as hyper-local so you can rank for what your customers and leads are searching for!
Does your website have all 10? Learn the secrets to driving more traffic to your website, generating more leads, and ultimately increasing sales.
Beyond using local keywords, the content your small business produces and the methods you use for marketing it should be localized as well.
Localization accounts for cultural experiences and expectations. For example, the content is in a language that’s commonly spoken in your region, even down to the dialect. If the language must be translated, then it’s accurately done.
According to language translation resource Smartling, more than 72 percent of people visit websites with content in their local language.
Language is a powerful communication tool, so make sure you’re on the same page with your audience before launching a single marketing campaign for your small business.
Like your small business website should be mobile-optimized before it goes live, you must optimize your local SEO as well.
How do you do that? As we wrote about in this post, you have plenty of options for optimizing local SEO, many of which we’ll include throughout the rest of this guide.
Here’s one we recommend right now. Use more than local keywords in your content, but keywords optimized for voice search.
The rise of voice searching is upon us, which means writing (at least some of the time) the same way that someone would speak when using Siri or Alexa to do an online voice search.
Your online reputation inspires leads and customers to either take you or leave you. How the public perceives your small business can also affect your SEO.
Your paid ads won’t perform as well, as your reputation will precede you. You won’t generate as much organic search traffic, and your website traffic will also be well under industry standards, even for a small business like yours.
Negative reviews are going to happen. We’re not telling you to sweep them under the rug.
Rather than pretend they’re not there, actively address negative reviews. Respond to the reviewer and offer to make things right.
Don’t focus your reply energy on only the negative reviews but the positive ones as well.
Although a bit more complex, another local SEO for small business strategy is using local schema.
This structured data markup code goes on your website. Through the markup code, a search engine like Google can quickly gauge what type of small business you are and what your niche or industry is.
Here are some types of local schema structured data that need to go on your website if they aren’t already:
No guide on SEO would be complete without discussing link building, which is something your small business must do even if you are focused on local SEO.
Search engines use links to decide if a website is relevant. A website with a lot of links is likelier to have valuable content, so that site deserves to be ranked more highly than a site with fewer links.
That doesn’t mean you can be linked by anything and everything under the sun.
You need high-quality links. You can gauge a link’s quality based on its site relevancy and authority.
Publishing content is a fantastic way to start building links, especially visual assets such as infographics or charts, list posts, descriptive ultimate guides, and original guides backed by thorough research.
Social media is a valuable local SEO for small business strategy that directly plays a role in your SEO standing.
You can use social media to augment your content reach and cement your branding.
You can also encourage your audience to share reviews on social media, post using local keywords, and write descriptive bios and about pages that could be how people find you online.
Search engine marketing or SEM is a form of marketing that promotes websites to help them rise higher in search engine results pages.
Taking SEM concepts and retooling them for small business means incorporating local keywords, using language localization, and only displaying ads to those in a specific geographic range.
Pay-per-click or PPC advertising is another avenue at your disposal for increasing your small business’s local SEO.
Just as you did with SEM advertisements and marketing materials, your PPC ads should be centralized to your local audience.
This can keep the costs of running an advertising campaign affordable, which is especially important for a small business still figuring out where the chips fall financially.
We have one more tip for you, and that’s to get out there and be a part of your community! Participating in local events shows that your small business is focused when it comes to your digital marketing and SEO but can participate in the real world as well.
SEO is a complex and nuanced subject even if you do only stay within the scope of local SEO.
Your small business can’t afford many missteps, as you don’t have an infinite marketing and advertising budget.
With the pros on your side, you can formulate a winning local SEO strategy that propels your small business to the next level.
Local SEO for small business can set you apart, help you rise in the ranks, build more customers, and increase your revenue.
If you’re looking for local SEO services, contact us at Mediaboom today.
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