As a small business, it’s not easy to rank for generic keywords on Google. That’s because you’re competing against thousands of websites (some of whom have been performing SEO for decades).
But there’s a ray of hope for you and your local business…
If you apply local SEO well, you can increase your chances of ranking for local keywords—words that people use to search for products or services that you provide in a specified geographic area.
Are you looking to
- Raise awareness for your small business
- Increase website and in-store visits
- Boost your sales?
Well, it’s time you understand local SEO and how you can use it to grow your business.
What is Local SEO?
Local SEO is all about maximizing your chances of being discovered by local clients online.
Back in the day, people would walk around a new neighborhood to familiarize themselves with local shops and businesses nearby. They would also reach out to neighbors to find out where the nearest gas station, bakery, tailor, preschool, clinic, library, etc was.
People still do that.
But now Google has made it much easier for everyone to scout local service providers from the comfort of their homes, on their phones.
And Google users are taking advantage of that!
In 2022, a whopping 87% of consumers were reported to use Google to evaluate local businesses compared to 81% in 2021.
All this is why you must do everything possible to make your small business easily discoverable by people searching for local services and products online.
That’s where local SEO comes in…
Local SEO is a digital marketing strategy aimed at optimizing a business’s online presence to attract local customers. It involves practices that help small businesses rank higher in search engine results pages (SERPs) when users search for products or services within their geographic area.
Beautiful definition but…How can I leverage local SEO in my small business so that I finally rank higher on search engines?
If that’s the question on your mind, we’ve got you covered with the main local SEO strategies that you can start using today to grow and succeed.
Optimize Your Google Business Profile
When a user searches for services “near me” or includes a location in their search, Google prioritizes displaying local businesses in its search results, specifically in the ‘Local Pack’—the top three results under the map that appear in a localized search.
Google Business (previously called Google My Business) is a critical component of local SEO. It provides a direct and visible way for businesses to appear in local search results and on Google Maps. To get started, you need to claim and verify your Google Business profile and then optimize it for maximum visibility. Here’s how:
- Claim and verify your listing: If you haven’t already claimed your business on Google, do so immediately. Google will send you a verification code via mail or phone, which you will need to enter to confirm your business.
- Complete your profile: Fill out all the necessary information, including your business name, address, phone number, website, and business hours. Make sure all details are accurate and up to date.
- Add high-quality photos: Include appealing images of your business, products, and services. High-quality visuals can capture the attention of potential customers.
- Encourage reviews: Positive reviews can significantly boost your GMB listing’s credibility. Encourage satisfied customers to leave reviews on your GMB page, and be sure to respond to both positive and negative feedback.
Important to Note: Your business’s NAP(Name, Address, and Phone Number) information must be consistent across all online platforms, directories, and social media profiles. Inconsistent NAP details can confuse both search engines and potential customers. That’s why you should regularly check and update your information on online directories and social media profiles.
Perform Regular Maintenance on Your Business Website
Once they find your Google Business profile, people are likely to check out your website next.
Any user getting into your website to see what your business is all about is already a prospective client. Your website should
- Welcome them
- Nurture them
- Convert them
If you don’t do regular updates on your website, you risk putting off your website visitors for the following reasons:
Problems with Your Website
How They Affect Website Visitors
1. Broken links
You lose credibility with visitors as they conclude that your site isn’t user-friendly and cannot be trusted.
2. Outdated Security Features
Your site can be hacked, exposing user’s information that they entrust you with.
3. Slow Loading Speed
Google users are getting more impatient by the day. They will exit a slow website.
4. 404 Errors
Users failing to access certain pages on your website leads to a bad user experience which drives visitors away.
5. Outdated Content
It misrepresents your brand, gives out inaccurate information to users, and wastes their time.
All these issues can be solved by regular website maintenance.
Actively Build Your Backlinks
Another thing you can do to grow your small business is to acquire backlinks to your site. This can be a difficult task in regular SEO as it involves reaching out to websites you may not have direct or easy access to.
However, there are several ways to get backlinks from other local businesses and boost your local SEO efforts with more ease.
Network with Local Businesses
Establish relationships with other local businesses and explore opportunities for co-promotion or collaboration. Since you’re in the same geographic location, collaboration is made simpler. And when you successfully work together on a common cause, they may link to your website or mention your business in their content.
Sponsor Local Events
A good way to acquire good incoming links is by sponsoring local events, charities, or community activities. Your business will be mentioned in event websites and local news sources as a result.
Local online directories, including chambers of commerce, local business associations, and niche-specific directories thrive on possessing updated information on local businesses. Take advantage of their service by submitting your business details to them.
Get Your Business on the Local Map Today
You may need help putting these strategies together to make a solid local SEO strategy that sets you apart from your competitors.
In that case, we would be happy to show you how best to go about it.
Our boutique creative agency has been working with small businesses to increase their online presence and increase their impact among the locals they serve.
Contact us today to discuss your local SEO goals!