SEO isn’t just for big businesses. As a small company or a local business, there is actually a lot you can do yourself to get good results from search. This detailed SEO guide for local and small business SEO will help you get the most out of search by finding your niche, optimizing your pages, and using social media.
Local SEO is basically about optimizing for local search engine results, so it is pretty fair to say that local SEO and small business SEO are closely related, and that is why we are going to be covering both in the post.
Many local businesses have trouble keeping their heads above water while struggling with an audience that hasn’t come outside for a while, thanks to Covid-19. Even if everyone is allowed outside to do their thing, the behavior of the average consumer has changed. This means some businesses will profit while others will falter, but in a different way than we have seen in the past. As a local business, you have to keep your ear to the ground to find out what your customers want and need. Maybe you need to pivot or find new ways of getting your products to your audience. On the other hand, maybe you need to make sure that you are found online like never before and here are ways to do that.
Keep your listings up to date
For now, the least you can do is to keep your online business details up to date. Make sure that your data is correct and make use of the various Coronavirus tools search engines provide to help searchers find the most up to date information on your business. So, update your Google My Business, use the Posts feature to add additional information and add COVID-19 structured data if necessary. Google has guidance for businesses coping with COVID-19. Plus, Google also lets you add support links — like asking for donations or selling gift cards — to your Business Profile.
Here are the areas you need to look at first and make sure are EXACTLY the same on every listing.
- Phone Number
- Covid-19 info
The three pillars of local SEO: proximity, prominence and relevance
Ranking locally, means you have to keep three things in mind. Proximity, prominence and relevance are the factors that determine if your business should appear at the top of the local SERPs for a specific search term.
- To determine proximity, search engines have different means to find out where the searcher is, mostly based on zip codes and/or geo-coordinates.
- Prominence is all about trying to find out how well-known your business. To determine this, search engines look at a variety of sources available on the web like links, reviews and citations.
- Relevance is the third local SEO factor. Here, search engines look at how well a local company matches what a user is searching for. To be relevant, you don’t simply fill out and update your Google My Business account, as Google specifically mentions that it also factors in your rankings in the regular search results, so it is a good idea to work on your SEO in general.
Your site, our Local SEO Services
Align your listings
As a local business working on local SEO, it is very important to align all the different platforms you operate on. Search engines will check and double-check your details to make sure that you say who you are and that you say what you do. In the case of a local business, details like addresses, phone numbers, geo-coordinates, opening hours, and more, should be correct at all times and be exactly the same.
Our Local SEO Services
Source Group Strives to prove cost-effective local SEO service such and listing health checks, listing creation, and of course, list creation. Most of these services are monthly but can be purchased as a one time service. We can also take care of any business with multiple locations. All of that to say, we are here to take care of your local SEO needs as a partner.
Finding your niche
Alright, there’s more you can do to make your business stand out. Determining your niche is vital for local or small businesses. When you know your niche, you can emphasize what makes your brand or products unique, therefore improving your chances to rank well for them. If you have a clear niche, you can compete locally with large national brands – despite their multi-million dollar advertising budgets.
Find out who your customers are and which words they use to describe your product or service because people will use the same terms to find your website. These terms can really help you optimize your local business SEO when you turn them into long-tail keywords and these keywords should be as specific as possible. Once you’ve done all of this, remember to regularly assess your niche as it evolves with the growth of your company.
Low budget branding
We have talked about this time and again: branding is very important for SEO. Branding means stuff like your logo and tagline. Do they represent your company without further explanation? What do your logo and tagline reveal about your values and your field of expertise? It’s all about recognition. You can work on your branding without investing a lot of dollars. Yes, low-budget branding is a thing.
Read more: Low budget branding tips for small businesses »
Here’s a tip for branding: share your expertise! You can do that in blog posts and on social media. We’ll talk more about this later on.
Start writing great content
Your small business SEO will get a significant boost from the right content. Too many small business owners just put their products and contact details on their website and leave it at that. But there is so much more to tell and share!
Focus on making an awesome first impression on your potential customer. Write about your business, your business goals, how great your products are and things like that. You could also discuss market developments or events that relate to your business. These are just a few tips for your local SEO content strategy.
When writing your content, be realistic about the chances of getting that content to rank in search. If you are in a highly competitive market, content works very well as a marketing tool and as input for social media, but it probably won’t get you that number one spot in Google, and that’s OK. Manage your expectations.
Picking the right keywords to optimize for is very important. Usually, it’s a good idea to pick mid-tail keywords, including the local area you are targeting. It really doesn’t matter if you add this content to your site as a page or blog post. Just make sure that you write about things that people want to talk about or things that make people talk about your business in a positive way.
Our Content Writing Services
Source Group Provides a wide range of specialized content writing services. All content is written by professional writers and of course, includes a ton of changes at no additional cost
Share your content on social media
While you can actually sell your products on social media platforms, in most cases we recommend using social media for brand awareness or to lead potential customers to your website for a sale. Using social media as a small business is all about promoting your brand, your company, and your products to establish your image and to get the right traffic to your company website. When used in this way, social media can really help small business SEO.
I like to compare social media to a market where all the stall owners know each other and customers browse the products. At some point, someone will tell other visitors where to go to for a product: “The cheese over there is delicious”, “you should really check out the fruit over there”, that kind of thing. So make sure people start talking about you. And start talking about yourself online, to make others start talking to you on social platforms. Lastly, actively engage in social media conversations, to let people know you are listening. Learn how to use social media to increase your sales.
Local ranking factors that help your small business SEO
There are many things that influence your local rankings, but there is one very obvious one: your address details or NAP, which stands for Name, Address, Phone number. Be sure to add these in the correct formatting (in code), using Schema.org details, as mentioned earlier. You now that our Local SEO plugin can help you do that easily. As well as this, it may help to add your city, and perhaps your state, in the title of your pages for easier recognition as well.
Also, if you want to start optimizing your website in order to rank better, but you are not sure where to start, you might want to have a look at our new, free SEO course for beginners!
Google My Business
Make sure you use the exact same NAP details on both your website and your Google My Business listing and include your website link to your listing too. This is the only way for Google to understand the relationship between them. Add these details — for example in your footer — and of course, on your contact page. Google My Business really is your friend if you want to rank in your specific geographical area, so get your details right! Not only that, but the tool also gives you an enormous amount of options to manage and improve your listings.
Add ratings and reviews
Google My Business, like Facebook, allows others to leave a review of your company. If your company has a good rating, people will be more likely to click through to your website from either of these two platforms. Make sure you monitor and maintain these reviews.
If you get a negative review for any reason, react by responding and solving your customer’s problem. Then, once you have, ask them to change their review afterward. In other words, turn that dissatisfied customer into a brand ambassador!
It’s easy to make use of these reviews and ratings. If you need some tips, find out more in this article:
Read on: Get local reviews and ratings »
Links from related small businesses
Social ‘proof’, like the ratings and reviews mentioned above, should be backed up with a few links from relevant sites. Getting links to your business site is still an important part of local SEO. You should work hard to get mentions or citations of your business on other sites. How and where you do that, differs in every industry, but these include Yelp, Bing Places, Yahoo! Local, Apple Maps, among many other sites and services. Moz has a handy tool that checks your online presence.
You should get a listing on these sites, for the obvious reason that this means you also get a link to your website. If you can get some links from other related local websites, that will also help your site’s findability. Note that links from other local websites should be from sites that are in a related profession. It’s of no use to have your bakery website linked from an accountant’s website.
If your small business is closely related to other businesses that are not located in the same area, you should definitely also ask those businesses for a link. Google spiders the web link by link, so if your business is linked to from a website in the same field of business, that link is extra valuable to you.
Near me searches
When talking about local rankings, we also have to mention near me searches. These are searches and search suggestions that include words like “near me”, “closest”, “open” and “nearby”. Optimizing for these searches is similar to optimizing for local, but applies for global brands as well (“buy Legos near me”). So you’ll have to think outside the box — there’s probably more to optimize for. Google really focuses on search terms like these, as you can read in our post on Google’s Possum update.
This is short and pretty straight forward. If you arent working on your local SEO or feel like it could be doing better…… Get on it. It could literally be the difference between success and failure.