Owning a local business is a challenging but rewarding business. While Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is not the only marketing tool you need to consider, it is the most important. Optimizing your website, Google My Business (GMB), and social media channels will improve your search engine ranking while increasing search traffic. Utilizing local SEO techniques can only help you achieve growth and overall success.
Keep reading for several concepts to help you understand why local SEO is important and how to find your way to the top of search engine rankings.
Why is Local SEO Important for Small Business Owners?
SEO is a constantly revolving door as search engines are regularly updating their algorithms to ensure the user is receiving the most relevant information when searching for a specific topic. You could just be getting the most recent update down pat when a new update emerges. The modern user requires personalized online experiences so when using local SEO, you can fulfill that need. Local SEO allows you to make your company visible to geographically-local customers.
Local SEO has become an important topic for small business owners because search engines now understand that users are looking for a particular product or service near them. With 46-percent of searches having “local intent,” boosting local SEO is becoming a must for businesses to be able to compete. Other reasons for utilizing local SEO include:
- Aids mobile users in finding your business through all channels.
- An increase in online visibility.
- An increase in your website’s overall search engine ranking and the local pack.
- A rise in organic website traffic equates to more qualified leads.
- Ensures visibility on Google Maps and other navigational services.
- Highest customer conversion levels of all local advertising types.
- Outrank your local competition.
9 Best Tips to Improve Local SEO for Your Company
With search engine algorithms constantly changing and countless sites competing for local prominence, gaining visibility requires improving your company’s local SEO focus. Luckily, most SEO best practices continue to be effective with the addition of the following:
Implement High-Quality Link Building
Randomly dropping links into your content is not considered optimization by Google. Instead, you must earn backlinks from major websites. This is a difficult task for local SEO but getting your foot in the door with local-centric websites like TripAdvisor and Yelp will help increase your search engine rankings. Your goal should be to try and get a Wikipedia link, which will differentiate your company from the competition.
Use a Keyword Strategy
As with national and international internet marketing campaigns, keywords are also essential at the local level. However, if you use keywords poorly, it can damage your rankings since search engines have been trained to recognize non-genuine content. To ensure the proper use of keywords, create a keyword strategy.
Utilize Social Media Channels
Having a presence in social media channels is critical for higher page rankings. Each time a user shares, likes, or follows an image, video, or post, it notifies search engines, which helps support your website as an authority on a topic. Therefore, it is important to be on as many social media platforms as possible to engage with local followers.
Include Location Pages on Your Website
Search engines crawl your entire site looking for the most comparable matches to align with search engine results. By implementing a landing page for each location, search engines can provide the appropriate location for the searcher. The layout and branding of each site should be consistent with the information varying based on the location.
Request Customer Reviews
Reviews are a vital piece in local pack ranking factors, allowing your business to differentiate from the competition. It is acceptable to ask satisfied customers to leave a Google review as a reward for their positive experience. Positive reviews can supersede other local SEO tactics.
Improve Your GMB Profile
In addition to creating a GMB profile, you must optimize it with the correct information. This is essential for your SEO that is an easy and fast option for users to find your company. Ensure the name of your company, address, phone number, and brief business description are added. Also, add your logo and photos to make the listing more appealing.
Consider Voice Search
While voice search is a rather new technology, it will continue growing in the next decade. Therefore, it is important to optimize your website based on how consumers ask questions when speaking into devices. For instance, customers use more long-tail keywords with voice searches so your content SEO must take a conversational tone.
Responsive Website Design
With the consumer shift to using mobile devices over desktops rapidly occurring, major search engines frown upon sites that do not have a responsive design, meaning they only format well on one type of device. Instead, ensure the design load quickly, is properly formatted across all devices and has larger and easy to read fonts.
Make Use of Online Business Directories
The most popular online business directories include Foursquare, MapQuest, Yellow Pages, and Yelp.
In addition to giving the user access to your name, address, and phone number, these directories boost your local SEO. Make sure to also add a comprehensive description of your business and a link to your website.
How Much Can I Expect to Pay an Agency to Do Local SEO for Me?
This is a common question that business owners ask daily. Since the Internet does not operate in a vacuum, specific campaign requirements vary greatly so the speed of progress and how your website compares to the competition are two key factors when understanding a budget. Studies show that most small businesses do not have an SEO budget. 17% of those with a budget spend under $100 per month.
The other three most important factors when determining a budget include:
- Backlinks – Naturally-derived and high-quality backlinks boost search engine rankings. It is better to have a low number of authoritative links than a high number of low-quality backlinks.
- Content – Best practices are one of the driving factors toward high performing content. These include uniqueness, providing value to the audience, presenting fresh content, satisfying the user’s intent, and matching search inquiries.
- Information architecture – Your website must follow Google Webmaster Guidelines, SEO best practices, be responsive for viewing on all devices, and be easily accessible and crawlable for search engines.
While all these guidelines are critical, remember that it takes time, effort, and patience to find what works best for your needs. Once you do, the payoff will be worth the effort. At this point, it is important to weigh your options as to whether it is better to implement these SEO techniques in-house or hire an agency like BizIQ to do so. In either case, your business will grow because of these local SEO best practices.