Local SEO is equally important in increasing conversions as the traditional SEO, and it’s something that both SMBs and big companies can use to boost their local business visibility. The thing is that small businesses invest a lot of their time, as well as their limited resources, in optimizing their websites, and all their hard work can go down the drain with another change of Google’s algorithm, meaning that they have to start everything from scratch. However, a different set of rules applies to local SEO practices, and this allows small businesses to boost their local rankings and reach their audiences.
A Google Places account
This should be your starting point if you want to be noticed by search engines. Fill out all the relevant information about your business, and include a few keywords, but watch out not to get carried away because Google can penalize you for keyword stuffing. NAP consistency is crucial, so it’s important to check all your other online business profiles and provide the same information on each of them.
Many people tend to skip filling out the fields that aren’t required, but the more details you provide, the better rankings will be. Make sure to provide quality photos and videos, as visuals are a must nowadays. It’s also a good idea to set up a Google+ account, mainly because Google will put you in its good books, which is a big plus for your rankings.
In other words, this means that your business will be shown in Google+ Local, its mobile application, so potential prospects will be able to easily find you through mobile searches. Let’s not forget to mention that you should have your website optimized for mobile, as many people try to find information about local businesses on their mobile devices – imagine a person whose car break down in an unfamiliar city and who needs a car repair shop.
Local listings and citations
By having your business mentioned in various local and national directories and relevant third-party websites, such as local chamber of commerce or business association pages. Even if there’s no link that will direct traffic directly to your website, these mentions are significant because searching engines scan such websites in order to update local business information. What’s important about building your third-party online presence is that NAP details of your business are consistent and displayed in the same format in all listings.
Even if you don’t have a website of your own, which is frequently the case in certain service industries such as electrical, plumbing, or residential painting, you could greatly benefit from those listings and mentions, as search engines turn to those sources when they can’t find any other information. There’s one more positive effect, because if your business is mentioned in various local directories and media, it’s a good sign that it’s not fake or deceptive since the community in a way validates it and provides a certain level of credibility.
Content is, undoubtedly, an essential element of any successful SEO strategy, and the same goes for local SEO. By featuring local content on your website, you’ll be able to stand out and get noticed, as many websites fail to utilize this excellent tool for driving traffic. The key is in optimizing your content by enriching it with relevant keywords that promote your location and business. What many website owners perceive as a problem is picking relevant local topics that would attract a target audience. One of the options is to write about the best restaurants, coffee shops, or B&Bs, for example.
It doesn’t matter what your niche is, you the point is to offer something of interest and value to people living in the area as well as the ones visiting it. There’s another good side to this. After mentioning several businesses in a favourable light, contact their owners and ask whether they agree to be featured in your article. Everybody will most likely be thrilled with this act of free promotion and put the link to your content on their websites.
It’s not surprising that social media is another vital component for boosting local SEO. It’s important to use all available social media channels in order to reach local audiences and promote your business. One of the ways is to use Twitter and Instagram hashtags that contain the name of your city or region. Many people turn to Facebook or Twitter whenever they’re trying to find out more about a company, so make sure to regularly update your information, content and images. Just make sure the images are properly resized, a detail that can make a difference between a professional looking business profile and an amature one.
Social media SEO works well both for brick-and-mortar stores and for eCommerce companies. You can post information about local events and happenings on your business page, and since they will already be publicized all around the internet, you will get your fair share of visitors and followers on that account. Social media can be immensely useful to online shops selling local products as it helps them increase visibility and reach people beyond their existing target audience.
Apart from eCommerce logistics, which is fundamental for any online shop as it keeps it running like clockwork, leveraging the potential of social media can be a game-changer for acquiring new customers.
Do your business a favour and implement these four simple, and yet frequently overlooked, practices.
Nate Vickery is a business consultant and an online author mainly focused on SMEs and startups. Nate is also the Executive editor at Bizzmarkblog.com.