6 Local SEO Tips For Small Businesses
All businesses struggle with one thing that is the unavoidable obstacle, competition. It is a tough world for local companies as all the players strive to be the big shot in town and get hold of a huge chunk of the customers there.
It is evident that the marketing world has changed and most businesses, including the small ones that serve local areas, are being forced to channel their efforts online.
Google is always changing its ranking algorithm as the whole digital marketing world evolves and businesses that are not careful following up on these updates can be left behind by their competition within a short time. Here are some local SEO tips for businesses that want to remain relevant and have a strong presence in the locale they serve.
Claim & Clean Business Directory Listings
Business listings are created for your company, whether you know it or not, and you should be careful not to allow duplicate listings to accumulate. It is vital to claim as many of your listings and delete all the duplicates so that you ensure the information captured under your listings are updated and correct.
This is especially true if your business is located in a commercial sector and the building was used by a previous business. It is common for the old business Name, Address and Phone Number to still be listed in business directories as they have no idea who is at that address unless notified by the new occupant.
It is undeniable that locating some of these listings may be tricky, but luckily, you can use some fantastic online tools to track them and claim them.
Online business directories can be edited by ANYONE. Even if they have no affiliation with the business. For this reason you should monitor your business directory listings on a regular basis.
Local Schema markup will tell search engines very specific details about your business location.
Details like, open hours, payment types accepted, geographic location using longitude and latitude cooridnates, physical address, service area and much more. Adding this schema markup to your service pages and contact page on your website can separate you from your competition (that likely has no idea you can even do this).
Some WordPress SEO plugins can even assist you in adding schema to maps that will include marked up Google Maps route planner to help assist potential customers get to your store.
Use Keywords Wisely
High rankings in local areas are less competitive than the ones in national or regional target areas and using your keywords wisely can help you rise above your competition in search results. Avoid using keywords that every business in that area or all over the world will use. Use the ones that will tie you to that area, for instance, using Baltimore plumbing company as opposed to just using plumbing company.
Try and use location tags and local phone numbers that further help to distinguish your business and pages better as they will help to increase your local conversion rates.
Also use synonyms of your target keywords throughout your content. This should be extended to social media postings and especially in your Google My Business posts. (because you ARE posting there regularly already, right?! If not, keep reading)
In recent years, Google has started taking note of reviews, and though they are not directly related to your ranking, they still have an impact. The Google search algorithm is always tailored to what the customers want, and more online users are using reviews as a way of choosing where to shop.
You can make use of reputation marketing software to keep track of reviews and manage them proactively. Try to respond to the positive reviews and try to solve the problems that people who are putting up bad reviews may have. Take note of how your business is mentioned on social media sites like Facebook and Twitter.
Once you have some of positive reviews, you will begin to appear on top of Google search results pages, and this will put you ahead of your local competitors.
Optimize & Post To Google My Business
If you haven’t already, stop even reading this and claim your Google My Business profile. This LITERALLY get’s you on Google Maps. This profile is the most important online listing or profile you can have.
Make sure all the information is filled out and is accurate. Don’t skimp here. Be sure to list all your products and services. Make sure your business hours and payment types accepted are filled out.
From there you can start to post directly to your profile which shows up in search results. Include pictures in as many posts as possible. Links back to your website when it makes sense but, don’t force it.
This tip alone can drive more traffic to your website. If you do nothing else, do this.
Create Local Content
It is widely known that top quality and informative content that is continuously updated is vital for any SEO campaign. If you serve a local area, forget about posting information that applies to other cities and focus more on posting things that are related to that area.
If you decide to include a blog section on your site, fill it with guides on how to solve problems experienced by people in your area and remember to keep all this within your business niche. This way customers will visit your website more, and your rankings will gradually rise in that area’s local search.
Some of the local SEO tips for businesses have been highlighted above, and they can help you to establish your business as a dominant force in your area. Once you attain a certain level, your reputation will start doing the trick for you and customers will always trickle in as long as you keep on offering great products, services and of course content.
What have you done that’s worked to drive business to your store from the internet?