When you’re starting a small business, one of the first things you want to do is attract new customers. And, if you’re lucky enough to live in a city with a population that exceeds 100,000 people or so (according to Google), then a local search is one way for you to get those customers. Local search refers to searches on websites like Google where users are looking for nearby businesses or services in their area. To help your business grow, read on for 14 tips that will help boost your SEO and increase visibility online:
Local searches have skyrocketed recently, with “near me” searches increasing by as much as 900% from 2015 to 2018.
Local search results are the main way that people find local businesses on Google and other search engines. That’s why it’s so important to optimize your business listing and make sure you appear at the top of search results, where you can impress potential customers with a great presentation and convince them to come in or call you right away! If you’re just starting out, you might be unsure of how to go about doing this, but that’s what this article is here for.
Why Is Local SEO important for small businesses
Local SEO is important for small businesses because it can help them rank higher on the search engine results pages. Local SEO is more targeted than general SEO. Search engines like Google, Bing, and Yahoo! give preference to websites that are local in nature.
If you are a small business with a physical location near your target audience, then you will have an edge over your competition. A local business can gain many benefits from its website. However, these benefits are not limited to just increased traffic for the website.
Many SEO experts recommend creating a local landing page for small businesses with a phone number, address, e-mail address, and map of their location as well as any contact information that may be pertinent. This will help them rank highly on the local search engine results.
Categorize your business
When you’re starting out, it’s best to get the basics of your business listed on as many platforms as possible. The more locations where people can search for and find your company, the better. Google is a great place to start, but there are plenty of other places to add your business: Yelp, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest all have tools for adding information about where you’re located (and what kinds of things you offer).
If something goes wrong with one platform—or if someone wants to give feedback that isn’t appropriate for that platform—you’ll still be able to address those concerns through another channel.
The first step in local SEO is keyword research. You need to find out what local keywords your potential customers are searching for online. You can use a tool like Google AdWords Keyword Planner or Moz Keyword Explorer to find the right keywords. Make sure you have a content strategy before diving into this, so you know what type of content to create and where it should go on your site.
How to Perform Local SEO Keyword research
- Look for local keywords using a keyword research tool like Google Keyword Planner or Moz Keyword Explorer.
- Identify relevant local keywords by considering what customers in your area might search for.
- Narrow down your list of local keywords by identifying terms with high search volume and low competition.
- Incorporate local keywords into your website content, titles, and meta descriptions.
- Optimize your Google My Business profile and include relevant local keywords in your business description.
- Make sure your website is responsive and mobile-friendly, as this is a ranking factor for local SEO.
- Promote your business on social media and include local keywords in your posts and profiles
Keyword mapping is the process of showing how well your web pages rank for different keywords. It also enables you to set new target keywords and which pages you want to rank for when people search for those terms.
Keyword mapping is important because it lets you organize how you want your site to be laid out. If you use a keyword map, all the pages on your website will be thematically connected and will cover different topics rather than sticking to one main theme per page.
Local SEO content should be thematically clustered, which makes it clear to search engines that the pages are authoritative on certain topics. Therefore, creating pages that are clear and thematically relevant will be more efficient.
Why do I need to Map Keywords for Local SEO?
For a good user experience, mapping keywords is useful because it makes content creation more specific and makes your website’s structure more thematic.
If you are performing Local SEO, then you will likely be using this strategy to track the keywords that your localized pages are targeting.
Let’s look at an example.
the local SEO agency has a website, serves 3 cities in the region, and offers the following services
- Local SEO
- Review Generation
- Local Business Listings
Each of these pages will then have separate boxes to address 3 major cities as follows
- Useful Longwood Search Engine Optimization services
- Local SEO services for the Sanford area
- Located in Lake Mary, FL
- Longwood Review Generation
- Sanford Review Generation
- Lake Mary Review Generation
Local Business Listings
- Longwood Local Business Listings
- Sanford Local Business Listings
- Lake Mary Local Business Listings
To focus on keywords for our pages, we need to create a breakdown for all the pages so we know which to focus on and how to do it. If you look at the page breakdown from above, you can see how we should optimize each page so it can focus on keywords.
Simply put, keyword mapping helps SEOs know which keywords they rank for and where they could use some improvement in their search visibility.
Localize Your Listings & Content
Put your NAP (name, address, and phone number) on your site and listings so that when customers type near me or your city’s name, they will find your site.
There are certain keywords to make sure to include when writing about your business or products/services, including some that pertain to your geographical location, to increase relevance for a search in your location. Locally optimizing your content is especially important for those who serve multiple locations.
There are a lot of things you can do to rank better on search engines like Google. As an example, sticking to this piece of information, Google and other search engines will display your content in prominent positions in local search results and in Google Maps. As another example, if you consistently share this information in your blog posts, content, and social media posts with some of the more relevant keywords to your blog niche, it will positively affect your ability to rank in search engine results.
It’s imperative for local businesses to localize their content with relevant keywords and to include citation information. Having content for all locations can be helpful when it comes to local SEO for service-area businesses. These methods can be effective in ensuring potential customers know you’re a local business and increase lead conversion rates.
You can also benefit from using a local number to appeal to local customers rather than using a number that doesn’t indicate your location.
Claim your local profiles
Claiming your local profiles makes it easier for customers to find you and promotes your business. You can claim your local profiles at the following places:
- Google My Business
- Bing Places for Businesses
- YELP! (if you’re not already a member)
One of the most important local SEO tips for small businesses is to claim and verify their business profiles on popular directories, like Google My Business, Yelp, and Bing Places for Business. This may seem like a no-brainer, but you’d be surprised how many small businesses don’t do this! There are different directory sites where small businesses can set up listings to get noticed by more people in their community.
A great place to start is by researching sites your competitors are already listed on and making sure that your company has an entry there too.
After getting all of your company’s listings set up, it’s time to start attracting more local traffic with great content!
Create a Google My Business profile
Google My Business is a free tool that helps you showcase your business in Google search results. It also allows you to manage your Google listing across popular mobile devices and desktop browsers.
To create a Google My Business page:
- Go to https://www.google.com/business/, sign in with your regular Google account, and select the “Get Started” button at the top of the screen.
- Enter your business name, address, phone number, and website information into each field provided (you can choose from multiple formats for each piece of information). Then click “Save.” You’ll see an option to add photos; click it if applicable or skip this step if not needed right now (extra images will be added later).
- The system will then ask whether this is a new location or linked to another existing one; choose “I’m adding a new location” if applicable or “Migrate my current listing” if already listed somewhere else online but want to move it over here instead (this may be more practical for larger businesses that operate multiple locations).
Google my Business Optimization for Local search rankings
The local map pack is essential because it contains what Google thinks should be included in a local map.
When that happens, your business listing will rank in a different way, where you’ll be scored by different factors.
Unlike other factors like your on-page SEO, content, or link building, your GMB optimization, local listings, reviews, and other signals that indicate you’re a good business all-around let Google know you’re worth giving your position in search results.
Other search engines like to keep track of popular local businesses, so you should create your listings on their sites too. It’ll be very similar, but be sure to note that all of them have their own system for rankings and you’ll get a different result every time.
Make sure your information is consistent
Make sure your information is consistent.
It’s important for your business to have a consistent presence across all local listings, directories, and citations. If a potential customer searches for “Mike’s Pizzeria” in Google Maps, Yelp, or other sources of information they might want to use to find you (such as the Yellow Pages), they should see the same name on each listing website that comes up in the search results.
That way they know it’s the right place if they choose one of those listings over another one that doesn’t have consistent information.
Optimize for mobile devices
Another way to ensure that your customers find you is by optimizing your website for mobile devices.
This will help make sure that they’re able to read content and navigate the site with ease, even if they’re browsing on their phone or tablet.
In addition, it’s also important to make sure that any images or videos are clear and legible when viewed on a smaller screen.
Collect reviews from customers
- Collect reviews from customers. If a customer has something positive to say about your business, let them know that you appreciate it! Don’t forget to give them an incentive for leaving a review, either: like 10% off their next visit or some other kind of reward.
- Ask for feedback on the quality of your service or products. This can be done in person or through email surveys—just don’t make it too long; people will tune out after a few questions if they aren’t interested in responding. But if you’re asking for feedback because you genuinely want to improve as a business owner, it’s important not just to ask but also to listen closely and respond with actionable steps that will help solve any problems brought up by customers (and potential customers) alike!
Earn More Online Reviews
Approximately 53% of shoppers in the United States use ratings and reviews as a primary factor in making a purchase decision.
A positive review can do wonders for a business. It helps in boosting customer confidence and also improves search rankings. This is why it is important to have as many reviews as possible. Reviews are a great way to get more customers, but they require time and effort to be put into them. So, here are some tips on how you can increase your reviews: – Ask your customers for feedback and offer them discounts in return. – Respond quickly to any complaints or issues that customers have with their purchase or service.
- Provide excellent customer service and make sure that the customer leaves happy with the experience they had at your store or restaurant
- Be active on social media so that you can get more reviews from people who follow you on these platforms
- Get more people to review your business and ask them for feedback on your Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter.
- Make sure you have high quality photos of your business so that customers can see what they are buying before they buy it.
- Create a list of qualities and rules for customers to follow when reviewing you as a store or restaurant.
Incorporate local keywords into your website content
Your website should be optimized for local searches, too. The first step is to use the appropriate keywords in your website content.
You can do this by using the Google local keyword tool and searching for relevant terms in your area—both on desktop and mobile devices. The tool will give you a list of suggested terms based on popularity and search volume, as well as their estimated cost per click (CPC). From there, it’s up to you whether or not you want to implement these into your site’s content strategy!
Use schema markup on your website
Schema markup is a way to add structured data to your web pages. Structured data helps search engines understand the information you are providing and makes it easier for users to find what they are looking for on your site. Schema allows you to specify the type of content that is on a page, like reviews or events, while also adding specific details about that content.
You can use schema markup in two ways: by adding structured data to HTML code and by using Open Graph Protocol (OGP). OGP provides more flexibility because it allows you to define how certain types of content should be displayed in SERPs (search engine results pages). This means that when someone searches for “small business tips,” your website will display differently than all other small business websites—you’ll have more visibility!
Add other relevant citations
- Add other relevant citations.
- Use local business directories. These can help you rank in the SERPs and are often a good place to start when it comes to getting your name out there. Make sure to include your website, address, phone number, and other key information about your business in these listings.
- Add your business to local blogs and forums. As with online directories, adding yourself as a resource for others in their area increases your visibility for you and provides helpful information for potential customers.
- Add your business to local groups on social media sites like Facebook or LinkedIn by posting about events at which you’re participating or offering discounts for members of those groups—the more active this account is, the better!
Build Links to your Website
One of the most important things small business owners can do to improve their ranking in local search is to build links to their website. This can be done by getting listed in directories, submitting guest blog posts, and claiming your business on review sites.
There are a number of paid services that will also build backlinks, but these should be used with caution since it’s easy to get penalized by Google if you’re not careful. Another way to build links is to offer valuable content in the form of free ebooks or guides that link back to your site. The most successful way for any small business owner to gain links, however, is by networking at events like conferences or workshops where they have an opportunity to share information with others in their industry.
Try to Acquire Local Backlinks
One of the most important local SEO tips is to try and acquire local backlinks. A backlink is when another website links to yours. This shows Google that your site is relevant and trustworthy. The more backlinks you have, the higher your site will rank in search results. Here are a few ways to get local backlinks:
- Make sure your website is listed on online directories such as Yelp, Foursquare, and Google My Business.
- Create blog content that is relevant to your local community and share it on social media using hashtags related to your city or town.
- Reach out to local businesses and ask if they would be interested in linking to your website on their own site.
Maintain Social Media Accounts
If you want your small business to dominate the local search results, you need to have an active social media presence. SEO and local marketing are important, but they’re not the only factors that Google takes into account when ranking businesses.
Social media signals are also a key part of the equation. To rank higher in search engines, make sure to use schema markup in your site’s code. Schema is basically data about data; it tells search engines what information is available on your site. Use the right markup and you’ll give yourself a head start on other small businesses who aren’t using this strategy.
An easy way to get started building up your seo for local searches is to create a Google My Business profile and add other relevant citations!
The first step to getting your online presence positioned for local searches is creating a Google My Business profile. This is a free tool that Google provides for small businesses and it’s super easy to set up, so there’s no excuse not to take advantage of this opportunity!
You can enter in all the vital information about your business such as hours of operation, images, and other details that will help people find you on Google Maps. You can also use this same tool to add or claim other relevant citations like Yelp reviews or Facebook pages with contact info.
Hopefully, we’ve given you some valuable information and tips to help you get started on your journey to local SEO success. If there’s anything else we can help with, please feel free to reach out in the comments below.
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