The Importance of Local SEO for Small Businesses
If you're a small business owner, bringing in new customers is probably at the top of your priority list. One way to get discovered is through local SEO, a subcategory of SEO (search engine optimization) that exposes local businesses on Google Maps results, or local pack.
Whether you're a coffee shop, a boutique, or a neighborhood bakery, we've got some useful tips to help you boost your local search presence, attract more customers, and set you up for success.
Why is Local SEO Important for Small Businesses?
As I said above, Local SEO is the subcategory of SEO where a website is optimized for local searches. In other words, it's the practice of getting your website in a top position on Google Maps for certain terms that people search in your area.
Essentially, this helps local customers find you thus driving more traffic to your website.
Who Can Benefit From Local SEO?
If you're a small business offering products or services to local customers, then chances are you can benefit from local SEO! But let's give specific examples just so we're clear.
You Have a Physical Location
If you have a physical location, chances are you want people to come to your store, shop, or restaurant. Whatever the case may be, it may be worth your time to look into local SEO services. If people are searching for what you're offering, you can get a piece of that pie and get your business ranked in Google's local pack.
You Offer Local Services
Local services mean you serve customers within a certain area. Specific examples include HVAC companies, plumbers, exterminators, and electricians.
You're a Local Business
Any local business can benefit from local SEO as long as people are actively searching for your services! You can conduct keyword research to see if people are searching for products or services like yours through a keyword research tool, that way you can see if it's worth starting up a local SEO campaign.
How Google Determines Local Search Rankings
Google uses several factors to determine local rankings:
Relevance to the searcher's query
Proximity to searcher
Google Business Profile Strength
Google is constantly changing its algorithm and how it weighs certain factors, but these seem to be the most important as of 2023. Staying up to date can also help you keep your position if you already have a high local search presence.
How Can I Optimize for Local Search Results?
Optimize your Google Business Profile listing
formerly google my business, this is your business profile that shows up in local search results. And as I mentioned above, your Business Profile is the biggest factor in ranking for local SEO.
How you can optimize your business profile
Claim and verify your listing- Believe it or not, I've seen business owners that don't have access to their business listing or don't even know it exists! Verifying your listing is the first step to success.
Fill out as much information as you can- You want to tell Google as much as you can about your business so that it can place you in the position it deems appropriate in local search results.
Get reviews- reviews are an integral part of any business's online reputation, no matter the platform. But for Google, consistent reviews can give you a needed boost, especially if you get them on a consistent basis. If you're low on reviews or don't have any at all, it's a good idea to send email requests to all your current or past customers that had good experiences with you. More often than not, they'll be willing to leave feedback. And don't forget to respond to reviews! Not only does it show those people you care, but reassures future customers that you value customer feedback.
Post consistently- Google is also a social media platform! You can post to your business profile just like you would with Instagram or Facebook. Just like the other things on this list, posting consistently to your profile can help build trust with potential customers and improve local ranking.
Keep your information up to date- This one should be obvious. Make sure to update your information as needed, such as your hours, services, products, and contact information.
Add photos consistently- Not only does adding photos to your Google Business Profile make it more visually appealing, but it can also help potential customers get a better sense of what your business is about- products or services, the atmosphere, culture, staff, etc. Also, adding photos consistently to your profile is another signal to Google that your business is active and can help strengthen your profile, meaning a chance for improved local search rankings.
Choose the Right Keywords
Picture this: your potential customers are in your area, searching for businesses like yours. By selecting local keywords, you'll boost your chances of appearing in local search results, driving more organic traffic and leads to your website. It's like a digital magnet for attracting local customers if you execute it correctly!
You can start to tap into local SEO by conducting keyword research and discovering what people are searching for that's related to your business. For example, you can enter "HVAC companies in [CityName]" in a keyword research tool and it will output several results, including that keyword and related keywords, as well as statistics on those keywords, like difficulty to rank, monthly search volume, and CPC (cost per click).
People like to include their area when searching online, that is a known fact. It's time to tap into that search behavior if you haven't already tried. For instance, if you're a plumber in San Diego, consider sprinkling those magical words throughout your website. That way, you'll have the chance to be on the radar of locals looking for your services.
Get NAP (name, address, phone number) Citations
Local citations are a great way to establish your backlink portfolio, especially if your website is brand new.
In addition, they help search engines understand where your business is located, important information about it, and what you offer. NAP citations also help build trust with search engines, essentially saying "Hey, I'm a legitimate business that's listed across all these reputable directories!"
Add Local Content to Your Website
Adding local content to your website helps search engines understand what your business is and where it's located. Since you're trying to rank in your local area, it's imperative to cater to a local audience!
There are a few different ways you can do this:
Include local keywords throughout your website- After you've done keyword research and found the keywords you want to target, you can start by optimizing your website for these chosen keywords.
Create an events page- Whether you have events going on at your location or want to show off local events through your website, this is a great way of incorporating local content into your website.
Blog about local events or show your expertise- Posting about local events or news can give you extra traffic once people discover your website to be a trusted source. If that's not your goal, then creating helpful content for readers is also a great way to gain the trust of search engines. Google loves expertise, so it wouldn't hurt to blog consistently.
Create location pages- Another way to attempt to rank in other areas outside of your locality is to build local landing pages on your website for areas that you may not be able to rank in maps search, which brings up another point- proximity to the searcher is another well-known factor in ranking in local search which can motivate website owners to create additional location and service pages.
Should I keep going on about how local seo is important for your small business? By focusing on local SEO, you're unlocking the potential to connect with customers right in your own backyard. You're putting yourself on the map (literally) and making sure your business gets noticed when people are searching for the products or services you offer.
Need help getting started? Reach out to Marketing Empire Group! We can get you on the right path to improving your local search presence and growing your business.