Unlike their massive counterparts which operate nationally, many small businesses operate regionally and depend on local customers for their survival. This makes local SEO a must, as these small businesses need to go out of their way to become visible on the SERPS for specific locations.
Local Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Tips
If you have a small business looking to attract customers to your area, use these local SEO tips to start driving traffic.
Set up a Google My Business account
What’s the best way to increase visibility in local Google search results and rank higher on Google Maps? Optimize your Google listing or company profile.
You will need to create a Google My Business account linked to your business profile to get started. This will help you verify that you are the owner of the business so that there are several things you can do to optimize the listing.
You will be prompted to provide several pieces of information through the Google My Business account dashboard. Make sure it’s up to date and accurate, as this information will be added to your business profile, which is visible on Google Maps, local Google search results, and the Google Search Knowledge Panel.
It is essential to be as complete as possible with your business profile on Google. In addition to using up-to-date information about your address, phone number, and website, include your hours of operation, a description of your products or services, the types of payments you accept, and several images, including including your company logo.
To get more movement on your business profile, ask your customers for reviews. When they post a review, thank them and respond in a professional manner. If the review is negative, try to deal with any specific complaints.
Plus, if you have any special offers, new products, or upcoming events, don’t forget to post that information in posts through your Google My Business dashboard.
Read: Essential On-Page SEO Tips.
Focus on local keywords
If you’re a small business looking to make a splash through local SEO, it makes sense that you prioritize keywords that are relevant to your specific location. To find what customers are looking for in your area, use the Google Keyword Planner. It helps you easily identify popular local keywords because you can filter searches based on location. Once you have your local keyword list in place, put them into your site’s copy, URLs, and meta-content to get that SEO boost.
Another way to use local keywords is to reference famous sites in your area. For example, if you have a restaurant in New York City, you can add a line in your content that says, “Enjoy fine dining just steps from Central Park.” “
Be location specific with your About Us page
The About Us page on your site is where you describe your business history and mission. It’s also a great place to match your mission with local keywords, landmarks, events, and more. For example, if you own a restaurant in Chicago, you can use the About Us page to mention how it’s a favorite hotspot every year on Valentine’s Day. St. Patrick’s Day Parade.
Create multiple location pages, if necessary
If your business has multiple locations in the region, create location pages for each that contain unique content. For example, having three restaurants in South Florida (Miami, Fort Lauderdale, Boca Raton) would require a location page for each. On each page include specific information such as address, phone number, hours, parking, promotions, reviews, etc., as they are bound to be different and give you even more chance to improve your local referencing.
Divide your product and service pages
Instead of creating one page listing all of your products or services, break them down into dedicated pages that are more descriptive and rich in local keywords. And if you have multiple locations, take it a step further by using a location-based copy on each. For example, if you have a boxing gym in New York with multiple locations, you should have pages for each, such as “Brooklyn boxing gym”, “Queens boxing gym”, “Manhattan boxing gym”, etc.
Structure your content around local events
One of the best ways to get the attention of a local customer is to create content about the issues that directly affect them. For example, you can make videos about local charities in which your business is actively involved. Are there any upcoming local news, events or activities relevant to your business? Create content on them.
Keep voice search in mind
The popularity of voice search is increasing because it is much more convenient than typing, which helps users when they are busy, on the go, and need quick answers to their questions. With this in mind, you will need to optimize your site content for voice search.
One way to do this is to think about how people will speak into their devices in relation to typing. They’ll likely use a conversational tone, and your content should reflect that by including typical seed topics like what, who, where, when, how, and why. They’ll likely use more long tail keywords with voice search as well, so be sure to include anyone that relates to your business.
Also, think about any questions customers may have about your business through voice search. For example, they may want to know your hours of operation. Make a list of these questions and make sure that all of this information is readily available.
Make sure your website is optimized for mobile
It’s no secret that there is a big shift from desktop to mobile, and many local customers are turning their smartphone searches into almost instant in-person visits. As such, make it a priority for optimizing your website for mobile as it is essential for local SEO and global SEO.
What helps with mobile optimization? For starters, you want your site to load quickly. Anything slower than three seconds is too slow. Second, be concise and to the point with your information and images, as the smaller screens aren’t ideal for a ton of content. Third, increase the size of your font so that it is easy to read. And finally, make sure your site has an intuitive interface to deliver a solid user experience.
Aim for link signals
What are Link Signals? These are backlinks that link to your site, and they can play a big role in helping you rank very high in local search results.
Quality is important here, so to get the best backlinks, focus on creating quality content on your site that others will want to link and share. You can also search for local influencers on social media and negotiate to get them referred, or you can write guest blogs on high reputable sites relevant to your industry.
Access as many online business directories as possible
An easy way to increase your visibility and local SEO is to access legitimate online business directories such as Yelp, YellowPages, MapQuest, and Foursquare.
Be consistent and thorough when providing information about your business as you don’t want any discrepancies in terms of name, address, phone number, website, etc. Also, don’t forget a detailed description of your business, as it can help bring in additional customers your way.
Read: The best social media optimization tips.
Get feedback from satisfied customers
Even though it’s been mentioned before, getting reviews from happy customers is an absolute must to boost your local SEO. Not only will these rave reviews optimize your Google My Business account, but they will also convince new customers to tempt you.
Here are some ideas for generating online reviews from your local customers:
- After you’ve made a sale in person, ask for a review.
- Send an SMS or an email after a purchase to assess the level of satisfaction of each customer.
- After you have reviewed them and found that they are satisfied, request a review.
How effective is a positive online review? So effective that a BrightLocal survey found that 85% of customers follow online reviews as much as personal recommendations. In other words, it’s worth asking for advice because it can help your business soar.