If you’re a small business owner, you know every customer counts. You also understand that competition is stiff, no matter your industry. So how do you ensure that your business stands out from the crowd and gets noticed by potential customers? The answer is local SEO.
Local SEO is optimizing your online presence to attract more customers from your local area. This means making sure your website appears as high as possible in search results when people are searching for businesses like yours. It also means ensuring your business is listed correctly and consistently across all the major directories (Google My Business, Yelp, Facebook, etc.).
Why local SEO matters for small businesses like yours.
There are a few reasons why local SEO is essential for small businesses.
First, small businesses tend to rely more on local customers than large ones. Many people want to patronage local companies but may not even know that your business exists if you’re not ranking high in local search results. Sure, if they can find you, they’ll buy from you. But if they can’t find you, well, you get the point.
Secondly, local SEO is more affordable than other marketing strategies (like national-level SEO or paid advertising). It’s also more effective since you’re targeting customers who are already interested in what you offer and are likely to convert.
Finally, local SEO is an ongoing process, which means that once you start seeing results, you can continue to build on those results over time. It’s a long-term strategy that will pay off for your business again and again.
So there you have it! Local SEO is important for small businesses because it helps you attract more local customers, it’s affordable, and it’s an ongoing process that can continue to pay off for your business in the long run.
So, how exactly do you optimize your local SEO efforts?
Google ranks businesses in the map pack based on three main factors—
- Relevance: How well your business matches the searcher’s query. For example, if you’re a plumber, you should optimize your site and target keywords involving “plumbing.”
- Distance: How close your business is to the searcher. This one is more difficult to optimize for. However, you want to target keywords related to locations in your area, such as cities, neighborhoods, or landmarks. When creating your Google Business Profile (GBP), accurately identify your service area or where your business is located.
- Prominence: How well-known and established your business is. This is determined by factors like how many reviews you have, how often you’re mentioned online, and whether you have any awards or recognitions.
With all those focal areas in mind, here are a few tips to help you with your local SEO. It may seem intimidating, but take your time and let me know if you have any questions along the way.
Tips for DIY local SEO.
If you’re a small business owner, you can do a few things to optimize your local SEO efforts. One of the most important is to claim and verify your listing on Google Business. It’s pretty simple and typically takes a few minutes to set up. You’ll need to verify your listing via mail or phone. But once that’s done, you’ll be able to manage your business information and start showing up in local search results.
Another local SEO tactic is ensuring your NAP (name, address, and phone number) is consistent across all the major directories (i.e., Yelp, My Local Services, etc.). This may seem like a small thing, but it’s essential. If your NAP differs in different places, it can confuse Google and hurt your chances of ranking high in local search results. So take the time to audit all the major directories and ensure your NAP is consistent across the board. Several tools will help you update these directories automatically, such as Yext and Brightlocal.
Finally, one local SEO tactic that is often overlooked but is important is to get reviews. Google uses reviews as a signal of quality and prominence, so the more reviews you have, the better your chance of ranking high in local search results. The best way to get reviews is to ask your customers. You can do this via email, social media, or even in person.
Pro Tip: Buying reviews can potentially result in your GBP profile being suspended, so it’s best to avoid that temptation and focus on getting genuine reviews from your customers. Natural reviews are more important for impressing customers and SEO.
So there you have it! These are just a few local SEO tips to help you get started. Now is the time to start if you’re not already doing local SEO for your small business.
The best time to start is yesterday.
Local SEO is essential for small businesses competing against larger businesses with bigger budgets. By claiming and verifying their listings on significant directories, optimizing their websites for local search, and focusing on building solid reviews and ratings, small businesses can significantly boost local search rankings—and ultimately attract more customers.
Don’t hesitate to get started, but if you find local SEO daunting or don’t have the time, consider hiring an experienced local SEO specialist to help you out. Either way, local SEO is essential to any small business marketing plan.