The Ultimate Guide to Local SEO for Small Business
What if you could do something for free that gave you a 50% chance of a customer visiting your location? You can—all you have to do is improve your local SEO. With competition from big box stores and online shopping, things can be tough for a small local business. If you’re just starting, you might not have the cash on hand to spend on a big advertising push.
Strengthening your search engine optimization is free and easier than you think. Take notes, because this ultimate guide to local SEO for small businesses will net you results!
Add Your NAP
When we talk about NAP, we don’t mean a mid-day snooze. NAP means name, address, and phone.
Your NAP has a bigger SEO influence than you might think. It gives your potential customers the info they need to make a purchase and also improves your rankings.
Here’s your essential NAP local SEO checklist:
- Make sure your NAP is consistent across all pages and listings
- Use your local phone number, not a toll-free number
- Add your NAP to your home page and on the footer of every other page
Using this online checklist, Google will rank you higher as a local business. Plus, you’ll make it easier for customers to get what they need from you.
Google My Business: Your New Home Page
A discovery search is one where people aren’t searching for your name directly but find you through your goods or service listings. For example, instead of searching for “John Doe’s Car Wash” they search for “car wash near me” and land on your page.
The majority of your traffic—up to 84% on average—will come from discovery searches. A good Google My Business listing is crucial to turning these discovery searches into conversions.
Google My Business, or GMB, is a local SEO marketing powerhouse. It takes your NAP one step further by allowing people to go to your website, call, or message you directly from the search results. If you’re wondering “how do I register my business with Google?”, head over to the My Business page on Google’s site to get started.
Once you’re there, take advantage of all of the features you can get through GMB for free. Add offers, photos, products, and more on top of keeping your NAP up to date.
Mobile searches have surged over 200% in recent years. That’s a big key to improving your local business’ SEO.
Once again, everything starts with NAP. Search on mobile tracks a user’s location, so your local info will rank higher in search results.
A big component of improving your search results is making sure your website’s pages are mobile-friendly. Improve your pages’ mobile navigation, load times, and more to move up in the SERPs.
Creating Quality Content
Having a small blog on your website can give you a bump in search rankings. You have to make sure that it’s filled with quality content.
Creating content that ranks isn’t as daunting as it seems and is great way to work your local SEO for small businesses. Follow these tips and tricks for success.
Search for mid- or long-tail keywords on subjects relevant to your business. Try to incorporate your city’s name if possible (ex. “local SEO agency in St. Louis, Missouri”).
Don’t just write about yourself—educate and entertain your audience. If your business sells donuts, you can do a top 10 list on people in cars doing donuts.
Do a deep dive into one product that you offer to make sure your customers are completely informed. If you participate in any community events, write a blurb about it.
As you can see, there are plenty of ways to create unique content that helps you rank. Once inspiration hits, you’ll have lots to write about.
Share on Social
What’s your social media marketing plan? If you don’t have one, you need one now.
Social media is essentially free advertising. Here’s your chance to get your name out there and start racking up hits on search results, too.
Make sure you have accounts on all of the major channels. Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Yelp are the big ones.
Share content from your blog, updates, photos, and more at least a few times a week. Don’t spam your audience and always be authentic.
You’ll start to get reviews on social media sites, too. Let’s talk about why you can’t ignore them.
Manage Your Reputation
The majority of potential customers look to your reviews for an unbiased look at your customer service. Managing and responding to your reviews is in your best interest and will help your local SEO.
First, respond to all reviews, both positive and negative. With negative reviews, apologize, and then try to get them out of the public eye by offering an email for further communication.
Your responses carry SEO weight, too. If a customer says they bought a specific product, mention it in your response, too.
Optimize Your Images
When we mentioned mobile optimization, compressing your photos and improving their load time was part of that. There are other ways to ensure your images get your business seen in local searches.
Save your image with a specific language. Instead of just “logo.jpg” save images as “PortlandLawnServices.jpg”.
When adding pics to your web page, don’t neglect the ALT text. ALT text is how a computer reads the image and gives you a chance to add in crucial keywords.
If you’re a restaurant, an ALT text image description could be “plate of fettuccine Alfredo at Luigi’s Pizzeria”. Don’t go overboard and stuff too many keywords in one place.
URLs, Titles, and Descriptions
Optimizing your URLs, titles, and descriptions aren’t just for SEO purposes. They directly help customers know what they’re looking at.
The URL of your page should be clear and not a long, confusing string of words. Titles and descriptions should have location and contact info, like a phone number, to help customers find you.
Improve Your Local SEO for Small Businesses
There’s a lot of competition out there for local small businesses. Getting seen by search engines isn’t as impossible as it seems.
Taking these steps will help you improve your local SEO for small businesses. Be consistent and give it some time to see results.
Looking for more guidance to help you rank higher? Interested in a local SEO audit to see what you can improve? Reach out to us and get your free consultation right now!
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