Ranking for keywords terms can be challenging for small businesses. It can be difficult to rank for the same keywords as larger businesses with more resources.
What can small businesses do to rank high on the SERPs? There's more to it than just a chance with local SEO.
Local SEO is essential for small businesses. That's the one certainty. Consider that mobile searches for “where to purchase” and “near me”, have increased by more than 200 percent between 2017-2019.
A recent study also found that 69% of digital traffic comes from local . This means that it is more important than ever to ensure that your local SEO strategies are effective.
This guide will provide local SEO tips for small businesses. The guide will then provide 12 local SEO tips as well as the tools that you will need to start your journey.
What is Local SEO for Small Businesses?
Search engine optimization (SEO), is the process of optimizing your website so that it appears when people search for terms related to your business. Local SEO is similar to SEO but with a special focus on local keywords terms.
Local traffic is important to drive to your site. This will make it more likely that people convert online and offline.
Why is Local SEO Important for Small Businesses
Local SEO is becoming more important for small businesses as more people are relying online for offline purchases. According to one study, 78 percent of mobile searches resulted in offline purchases. These results are hard to argue with!
Local SEO optimization can also be used to help you build authority and educate your target market about your products and services.
Local SEO doesn't need to be about increasing sales. Local SEO strategies can be used to drive traffic to your site for information or education.
12 SEO Tips for Small Businesses
While some local SEO tips are quick and easy to implement, others require more time. Each of these tips can be a huge benefit to your local business online and offline.
1. Optimize for Google My Business
Google My Business is Google's business directory. Google My Business aims to give searchers the best possible information about local businesses.
This is why most businesses have a Google My Business listing within one year of their start. Google automatically creates a Google My Business listing based on information it receives from its website crawl bots.
An automated listing can have problems. For example, the information might not be accurate or complete. You can only get the best out of the platform if you claim your listing.
You have more reasons to claim your listing or create one. Consider that businesses with at least 4 stars on Google My Business rank higher than those with less stars by approximately 11 percent. You can't afford not to have that edge as a small business.
How do you optimize your Google My Business listing for maximum effectiveness? These are the essential steps that will get you started.
- Claim your Google My Business listing or create one.
- Complete your profile and publish your listing.
- Upload photos and videos about your business and offers to your profile.
- Respond professionally and promptly to reviews and ratings.
It is important to keep your business information current and accurate. Updates should be made at least once a month, but it is also important to monitor your listing on a weekly basis for success.
2. All Business Directory Listings Available for Claim
You must make sure you claim your business in all business directories. Google My Business and Yelp are the most popular.
A Google Business Profile may seem sufficient to drive traffic online or in-store. Consider that Yelp pages are present in the top five results for 92% of searches that include a city or business category.
This is to say that you cannot afford not to claim your business in all directories.
It's easy to claim your listing on business directories. You can verify your business information to claim your Yelp page.
Google and Yelp are big dogs. However, there are other directories for business that you should consider: Facebook, Bing and Yahoo.
3. Do a local SEO audit
Once you have your business directory listing, it is time to get to know the market. This allows you to look at what your competitors are doing and helps you make improvements on your own website.
The first page of the SERPs provides the most information and inspiration.
Before you start your audit, make sure to use free analyzers such as the SEO Analyzer. These tools will give you an in-depth overview of the current state of your website and help you determine what you can do to improve it.
Next, you will use your target keywords and compare your website with the top five SERPs. You should consider the types of content, website structure and page elements as well as keyword density.
To track your progress and easily implement changes, I recommend creating a spreadsheet.
4. Target Local Keywords
Keyword targeting can be difficult for small businesses. Targeting high-volume keywords can be overwhelming. However, lower-volume keywords are more likely to bring you results.
Local businesses have an advantage when it comes keyword targeting. Search terms for “near me” increased by as much as 150 percent (e.g. “near me now” has seen a 900% increase in search terms (e.g. In just a few short years, “near me now/tonight” has increased by as much as 900 percent (e.g. Targeting a combination high volume and local keywords can work for your advantage.
What does it mean to practice?
Let's suppose you have a local florist. Your website contains high-volume keywords such as “florist”, “flower shop” and “flowers for purchase.” It's unlikely that you'll be able to compete with national flower suppliers like Sam's Club and 1-800-Flowers.
Optimizing your website using local keywords should be the goal.
Search your website for “flowers for Sale” and you'll be able to find every instance. However, it is important to avoid keyword stuffing.
- “Flowers for sale in [city/zip code]”
- “[city/zip code] Flowers for Sale”
- “Flowers for sale [city/zip code]”
Targeting your local area and zip code is not necessary. Target keywords that are local to your business in areas between 10 and 15 miles. This is especially useful if your town is smaller than a metro area.
5. Encourage and reward customer reviews
What is the most recent time you've visited a restaurant, or bought an item without researching reviews and ratings? If you're like 82% of consumers who conduct an online search for local businesses, the answer is no.
Your business's lifeblood is your customer reviews. This is especially true for small and new businesses.
How do you get customer reviews online?
First, make sure customers can leave reviews. Once you have claimed your Google My Business profile, and Yelp listing, you are off to a great beginning.
Customers who leave reviews should be offered an incentive. Customers should be able to tell others about their ratings and reviews.
However, the work does not stop there. All reviews, positive and negative, must be responded to. This allows you to interact with customers and can instill trust in your brand among those who have not yet purchased.
6. Local Content
We discussed how to target local keywords and avoid keyword stuffing. This is best done by creating local content for your website and blog.
You can use local content in a blog post or news release. These content types can be used to highlight local events (past or upcoming), local offerings (e.g. local businesses that complement or don't compete) or to educate the public about your product or services.
Local keywords can be targeted more easily if you have more natural content on your website. This can help you to be regarded as an expert in your field. This is important for small businesses competing with larger companies.
Following the flower shop example, here are some content ideas that will naturally target the audience and keywords.
- Blog Post: #X [Your state] Flowers for the Year-Round Decorating
- Static page: Your Local [your state] Flower Offers
- Static web page: [your state] Garden Flower Offerings
- Blog Post: [Your state] Flower Events for the [season/year]
A backlink is a link from another website to your website. This can have a significant impact on your website’s authority, depending on how good the websites are and how many links you have.
Authority is an important factor in determining the rank of your website on the SERPs. How can we find out? Consider that is the #1 result on Google with an average of 3.8x more backlinks then positions #2 through #10.
How can a small website build backlinks? Here are some things to keep in mind:
- Writing guest posts on relevant websites of high quality in your industry
- engaging in influencer outreach
- participating in link outreaches
- Brand mentions can be “listened to”
- Writing shareable content
Quality, long-form content is the key to any backlink strategy that succeeds in sharing content. Long-form content is 77.2 per cent more backlinks then short articles.
Don't write long content just to make it interesting. Keep the content valuable and relevant.
8. Become Mobile-Friendly
82 per cent of smartphone users use “near me” search to find information, so you should have a mobile-friendly website.
It's not about getting visitors to your site but keeping them there once they arrive. Local searchers will leave your site if it is not mobile-friendly and look elsewhere.
What makes a mobile-friendly website? These are the four essential elements of a mobile-friendly website.
- responsive page display
- Fonts that are easily readable
- proper text formatting
- optimized media display
You must not only create a mobile-friendly site, but also mobile-friendly content. Mobile-friendly content can be viewed by desktop readers as well.
What is such content?
- short paragraphs
- White space
- A summary
- Style (e.g. bold, italics).
It can be difficult to create a mobile-friendly website if you aren't a web developer. Good news is that many website platforms include mobile-friendly elements in their themes and overlays. As an indicator, look out for the word “responsive”.
9. Optimize page structure
Local SEO for businesses goes beyond content and business listings. Page structure is an important element that is often overlooked.
Title tags, headers and meta descriptions are all part of page structure. These can be used properly to enhance your content and increase your ranking on SERPs.
You might be curious about the impact these elements have on your rankings. The deal is this: You can use elements that are not available to your competitors and get ahead.
What page structure elements are the most ignored by small businesses? Here's a list of the top SEO features that small business owners are using, ranked from highest to lowest.
- Title tag 99 Percent
- Robots.txt 88 Percent
- Sitemap.xml 73 Percent
- Meta description: 72 percent
- H1 68%
- Schema.org 44 Percent
The title tag, meta description and H1 can be addressed most easily. Robots.txt and sitemap.xml are also useful for structuring websites.
10. Participate in Social Media
Social media isn’t just for influencers and big brands. Social media can also be beneficial for local businesses.
A local business page is a great way to keep customers informed about the latest sales, events and changes (e.g. hours of operation). Because even if you have a website, your social media profile acts more like a “living” version of your business.
Local business pages may be the most useful for Facebook users. According to all countries, two thirds of Facebook users visit local business pages at least once per week. Your business can also benefit from other social media platforms such as Instagram and TikTok.
Maintaining a social media profile for your small business is a great way to build relationships, track trends and analyze them, and promote social commerce.
Here are some ways small businesses can participate in social media.
- Based on your target audience and features, you can decide which platforms are best for your business.
- Regularly post quality content.
- To test and increase engagement, use automation and scheduling tools.
- Participate in roundups and events at your local community.
- Customers will find it easier to order your products or services online.
Social media can make up a significant portion of your sales or traffic depending on your target audience and business. Small businesses need to have a strong social media presence.
11. Participate in Local Business Events
You might be surprised to know that you can do much offline to improve your local SEO. 48 per cent of marketers spend at least 20% of their marketing dollars in live events .
Participating in local events can help you grow your business, especially if you have a strong social presence. These events are a great way to promote your business and get to know your community. These events are likely to bring in a lot of money.
You have the flexibility to host your own events or sponsor larger community events. A self-hosted event would yield more return, while a community event might be better for those with smaller budgets.
12. Google Ads with Local Keywords: Invest in Google Ads
A small business often means a smaller budget. You should make wise investments in your online business' growth. How can you hedge your bets online? Google Ads is a great place to start for most businesses.
Google Ads allows you to appear prominently in the SERPs with paid advertising.
It is possible to believe that you cannot compete with big businesses. This can be overcome by targeting local keywords and local audience to promote your local status. Instead of targeting flowers for sale, target “flowers available for purchase in [your city]”.
How do we know if this will work? According to Think With Google, 72% of tablet and smartphone users would like ads customized to their area or zip code. So give users what they want.
Although it is true that Google Ads can seem daunting at first, there are options to hire an agency to help you manage and set up your account. These are the essential steps to follow if you're looking for help.
- Conduct Keyword Research : These will include keywords that you are interested in but also exclude from your campaigns (negative keyword).
- Determine how you want your ad group to be structured. Ad groups are a way for advertisers to organize their campaigns by a common element such as target audience, keyword or location. You can start creating your campaigns by deciding how your groups will be broken down.
- Create your first campaign A campaign is an additional step to ad groups because it targets a wider audience. You can create a campaign called “Wedding Flowers”, which includes ad groups such as “Wedding Flowers in Queens” or “Wedding Flowers in Brooklyn”. This is where your campaign-level goals will be set.
- Create your very first ad. Google Ads offers multiple ad types. Although a text ad is the best place to start, you can have multiple ad types in your ad groups. It's important to test what works best for your audience.
For your campaign to be successful, you must monitor and adjust it continuously.
SEO Tips for Small Businesses. Frequently Asked Questions
Should I hire an agency for local SEO services?
Budget can be a problem for small businesses. A consulting agency is able to offer valuable advice and resources, even though you can make many of the changes yourself.
What local SEO can do to help small businesses grow?
Local SEO is a great tool for small businesses, as it allows them to target local searches. Local SEO can help you rank for keywords that you might not have ranked for before.
What should a small company pay for local SEO?
The amount that you decide to invest in will depend on the value you place on your business. I recommend investing in two areas if you are required to: one, in an SEO agency and second, in paid advertising.
What type of small business needs local SEO?
Small businesses can reap the benefits of local SEO. Local SEO can be beneficial for businesses that offer products and services in specific areas (or multiple locations).
Conclusion: SEO for Small Businesses
You know how hard work and dedication are required to increase your sales as a small business owner. Local SEO is no different. SEO is not an easy task. However, it can be very rewarding in the long-term.
Even small businesses can benefit from the 12 local SEO tips. You can make improvements today and reap the benefits later, from keyword research to social marketing to paid advertisement.
Which one of these SEO tips for small business will you first implement?
By: Neil Patel
Title: 12 Local SEO Tips For Small Businesses You Can’t Ignore
Sourced From: neilpatel.com/blog/small-business-local-seo/
Published Date: Mon, 25 Apr 2022 14:00:00 +0000