When it comes to local mobile searches, 78% of them lead to in-store purchases. This is a strong indicator of buyer intent, highlighting the importance of local SEO for a small business. Localization allows you to focus on competing with other local businesses, rather than trying to rank high on a national level. However, it’s crucial to ensure that local SEO is implemented correctly for it to be effective.
Are you struggling to launch your local SEO campaign? Here are 10 local SEO tips for small businesses.
1. Claim All Business Directories
Google My Business serves as the foundation for an effective local SEO strategy. You may have noticed suggested businesses displayed in the sidebar of search results pages or wondered how new businesses appear on Google Maps. The answer is Google My Business.
After claiming your business and creating an account, it’s important to optimize your listing. Enhance your SEO by using a keyword-rich business description. Including business photos can also help attract new customers and don’t forget to include a call to action.
While Google My Business is a popular business directory, it’s not the only one. Yelp! is another platform that deserves attention and time from businesses looking to improve their local SEO. Make sure to include a link to your website and correct any errors on your Yelp! listing.
Additionally, consider exploring other outlets apart from Yelp! You may find value in less popular sites, as they can provide additional backlinks and citations. Platforms like Facebook, Bing MapQuest, and YellowPages can be worth exploring.
2. Encourage Customer Reviews
Search engine optimization (SEO) plays a crucial role in businesses and relies on a consistent flow of positive feedback. It’s important to maximize your presence across various directories now that you have them available to host your business information.
So, what’s the secret to obtaining positive customer reviews? Firstly, make the process simple. For e-commerce shops, for instance, consider sending follow-up emails to customers, politely requesting feedback in the form of a review.
If you operate a brick-and-mortar business and are concerned about local SEO, consider asking for reviews through physical mediums such as receipts or business cards.
Keep in mind that different business directories have their review protocols. For example, Yelp! businesses are not allowed to directly request reviews on the Yelp platform. There are ways to work around these terms of service, but it may be easier to direct reviews to your Google My Business page instead.
3. Go Mobile
82% of mobile searches have a local focus, highlighting the importance of mobile accessibility for local SEO. If your mobile site loads slowly or is unresponsive, you risk losing a significant number of mobile customers.
Creating a mobile-friendly site doesn’t have to be difficult. Choose a responsive WordPress template to ensure that your website is viewable on mobile devices. To take it a step further, consider using a third-party plugin like WP Touch, which can automatically generate a mobile-optimized version of your website.
Loading speeds are just as crucial as functionality. Research shows that 53% of mobile users will abandon a website if it takes more than three seconds to load. Slow loading times can cost you up to half of your potential customers.
What’s more, Google now includes mobile websites in its ranking factors. Page speed has long been a factor for ranking desktop sites, and improving the mobile performance of your website can help boost your rankings on the search engine results pages (SERPs).
If your site’s loading speeds remain slow even after optimization, consider upgrading your website hosting plan or investing in a dedicated server. While this may be more expensive, it will significantly improve the performance of your website.
4. Identify Local Keywords
Keywords play a crucial role in local SEO, and many marketers find it easier to identify effective keywords within their local market.
So, what’s the secret? Start by using a combination of broad and long-tail keywords. At this stage, don’t worry too much about incorporating specific local terms. Instead, focus on finding keywords that are similar to yours to fill any gaps.
It’s important to get closer to your customers and understand which regions your local strategies are most effective in. Utilize your customer data to identify these regions.
For most businesses, it’s sufficient to target a few cities or counties. If you don’t have multiple locations, there’s no need to expand to the state level.
Incorporate the names of these cities into your keywords. Let’s take a Tampa bakery as an example. “Tampa Bakery” can be a broad, simple keyword, but long-tail keywords that indicate a higher level of buyer intent can be more effective. Focus on your products, such as “best cakes in Tampa.”
5. Create Selective Local Content
Finding the right location for your new local keywords is essential. Many businesses invest significant time and resources into maintaining a blog, as a consistent flow of localized content can greatly benefit SEO rankings and drive organic traffic to your site.
However, running an effective local blog is easier said than done. Since local SEO is your focus, the content must be relevant to your local customers. Using generic content will only expose you to nationwide competition.
Even if you incorporate keywords from your locality into generic content, it’s important to approach it thoughtfully. Let’s revisit the example of the Tampa Bakery. What kind of original content would be most relevant to the people living nearby? How about a top 10 list of sweet treats in the city? Remember, the goal is to leverage local SEO to have less competition, better ranking factors, and the ability to directly connect with customers in your area.
6. Optimize Web Page SEO
While we have emphasized the importance of having a responsive website, it’s crucial to note that it’s not the only factor that contributes to climbing the SERPs. If you’re already familiar with SEO and website optimization, you may be surprised to learn that local optimization strategies can differ.
That being said, some methods remain the same. It’s important to employ high-quality SEO techniques, such as optimizing your linking structure, title tags, headers for keywords, as well as meta descriptions and title tags.
To further optimize your local SEO, you’ll need to take the next steps. Consider incorporating customer testimonials, including a company citation, and integrating an interactive Google Map into your website.
Successful businesses often create separate landing pages for each targeted area within their locality. For instance, in the case of our bakery, they may want to target Tampa and St. Pete and should, therefore, create two distinct landing pages.
Ensure that you create unique content for each landing page, as copying and pasting can result in penalties from Google.
7. Ensure Consistent Citations
What exactly are citations? We’ve mentioned them a few times, but let’s delve into their definition. A business citation typically includes the NAP (Name, Address, and Phone Number) details.
While these basic details are useful for customers, they hold even greater importance for search engines. Citations are one of the most crucial ranking factors for local SEO. You can include citations on your website and in business directories to establish your company’s legitimacy.
However, it’s important to note that search engine algorithms are not flawless. If two NAPs differ, it can negatively impact their effectiveness. To differentiate citations, you can add a comma.
It’s essential to monitor your citations as you acquire them and incorporate them into your work. If the citations don’t match exactly, make the necessary changes yourself.
In some cases, you may come across a citation on a platform that you don’t own. In such scenarios, contacting the website owner and requesting a citation change may be the only option.
8. Land Local Backlinks
Local link signals can be a powerful tool for boosting your Google ranking and website authority. The more links that point to your website, the better, as search engines see this as a sign of credibility.
Obtaining backlinks from high-quality sites is not an easy task. Start by researching popular domains within your region, including news, blogs, and review sites.
Once you have compiled a list, it’s time to choose a strategy for building backlinks. One approach is to reach out and offer to write a guest blog post. However, for news organizations and reviewers, you may need to take additional steps.
This could involve organizing a local event that will attract media coverage or providing a product for free to encourage a review.
Did you know that 78% of local mobile searches result in an in-store purchase? This statistic is a strong indicator of buyer intent. Implementing local SEO strategies is a smart choice for small businesses.
Localization ensures that your competition is limited to other local businesses, allowing you to avoid the intense competition on a national level for search engine rankings. However, it’s important to note that local SEO can only be effective if executed correctly.
If you’re struggling to launch your local SEO campaign, here are 10 helpful tips for small businesses to improve their local SEO efforts.
9. Include Structured Data
Meta descriptions play a crucial role in providing important information, such as business hours, when searching for a company online. Utilizing data markup assists search engines in identifying and understanding this information.
For many marketers, coding can be a daunting task. However, data markup, also known as schema markup, simplifies this process by using user-friendly language. It’s important to include key details about your business, such as the address, customer reviews, and contact information.
There are various third-party WordPress plugins available that can aid in creating a schema markup. By making information more accessible to search engines, you can enhance your ranking. Schema markups also help potential customers find the specific information about your company they are seeking.
10. Utilize Social Media
Google has clearly stated that local listings are determined by three factors: relevance, proximity, and prominence. While you may not have direct control over relevance and distance, following our previous strategies can help. But what about prominence?
According to Google, prominence is a measure of an organization’s popularity. Google determines this by analyzing online buzz and signal links. A strong presence on social media should be a crucial component of any local SEO campaign.
The key is to drive social sharing, initiate discussions, and aim for a prominent position in Google Local listings. However, mastering the art of social business can be challenging. It’s important to create a significant impact and not just rely on linking your blog post to generate social media engagement.
Drive Organic Traffic With LUX’s Local SEO
Even small businesses can achieve success in the realm of SEO. Local SEO can be a game-changer, helping small businesses generate more leads and acquire more customers than their competitors.
It’s common for small businesses to struggle with managing their SEO due to limited resources.
If you need assistance with local SEO or digital marketing strategies, the professionals at LUX Digital Marketing are here to help. With just a click, you can get a free website audit and discover how we can enhance your current marketing efforts.
Services We Offer:
- Search Engine Optimization
- Web Design
- Google Maps Marketing
- Most importantly, ranking you number 1 on Google!