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As a local business owner, it can seem quite daunting having to worry about optimizing your website for search engines and having to deal with managing your online presence.
For many people, this might seem like a detailed and hard to understand marketing process that only large companies and businesses with huge budgets can participate in.
Actually, local SEO is a fairly straightforward aspect of online marketing and businesses that are willing to dedicate some time and set aside a small budget can really capitalize on the great ROI that local SEO has to offer.
However, if you feel overwhelmed with managing your website and you’re hoping to improve your web presence for your local business, feel free to contact me and we can discuss what I can do for you.
In this post I want to go over some helpful local SEO tips and talk about some actions that you can take today to better optimize your business for local search engine results.
Local SEO Tips for Small Businesses
Before I dive into the different helpful tips, there are some interesting statistics that I want to share with you to give you a better idea on why it’s important to focus on local search engine optimization.
- More than 90% of consumers are heading online and using search engines to find out more information about local businesses regarding products or services that they are interested in
With so many people using smartphones these days, it’s not surprising that just about everybody and their grandmother is using Google or another search engine to look up information about products or services nearby.
It used to be that you would just open up the Yellow Pages and flip to the relevant section that you needed, but those days are long gone.
Nowadays, when somebody in your local area is looking for more information about a specific service, they are very likely to do a Google search about it and one of the first few results that they’re going to end up going with.
It doesn’t matter if you are offering the best service in town, if you’re not on the first page of Google then you might as well be invisible to your potential local clients.
- More than 50% of consumers visited a local store within 24 hours after searching for more information on their smartphone
This statistic goes to show that you want to focus on ranking locally in search engines so that you can gain as many leads or as many clients as possible.
Basically, if someone does an online search and comes across your website on the first page, they are very likely to visit it and much more likely to contact you or stop by your physical location compared to if they were just driving around.
Having a highly ranked local business website really helps to drive more leads and can even be used to grow your business in the long run.
- More than 50% of consumers look for more information about local businesses while they’re already out
This statistic is related to the previous one.
It further goes to show that if it’s your business website that shows up on the first page of related search results, you’re much more likely to get the business of the person that’s looking for more information, especially if they are already out.
- Local SEO is the best marketing investment
Just like with the Yellow Pages, traditional marketing has lost much of its effectiveness over the past few years.
You can spend all the money on advertisements out in your city that you want, but people are still going to look for more information online even if they find your advertisements engaging.
Traditional display advertisements also cost quite a bit of money compared to local SEO, which typically comes with fixed monthly prices and offers a much wider reach when it comes to potential customers and leads.
Hopefully these statistics at giving you a better insight into why you should consider taking advantage of local SEO.
Now I want to dive into some of the SEO tips that you can start using to take over your local search ranking and get your website to the first page of Google
Categorize Your Business as a Local Business
As a local business, it’s important to focus on optimizing your local identity so that Google and other search engines know which specific locations your website needs to be showing up in.
To qualify as a local business, you should have a physical storefront location or at least be providing a specific service to a local area in your city.
Online businesses aren’t considered to be a local business by search engines and you can run into trouble if you try to trick them.
To optimize your local identity for your business, you need to make sure that you have a:
- Physical location with an address in the city that you’re working in
- Local phone number using a relevant regional area code
This means you need to go forward trying to use an inaccurate address, such as a PO Box, and you want to use a real phone number rather than a 1-800 number.
Stay Consistent Across all Platforms
On your website and wherever else you add information about your local business, you want to make sure that the information remains consistent across every platform.
The information that you want to be sharing is known as your NAP and this stands for:
- Name – Address – Phone Number
Wherever you are adding this information, you want to make sure that it’s the exact same whenever you use it so that it’s accurate on your social media profiles, local directories, maps, your actual website, and any citations that you use.
This helps to solidify your local presence across search engines and let them know that you are providing valuable information for a specific neighborhood, local area comma or region.
It’s also a good idea to add this NAP information to as many different platforms and relevant directory that you can because this will help to strengthen your local accuracy and will result in your website gaining better rankings for local searches.
Claim Local Listings
Along with social media platforms, you should also be setting up your business with different local directories in your area and any directories that are relevant for your business nationally.
This makes it easier for search engines to show you to people in your local area that are looking for more information about the product or service that you offer and it also helps to make it easier for your customers and potential clients to find you.
Try to focus on any local directories that you can find at first and once you have added your business information to these, you can move on to related industry directories.
Take Advantage of Social Media
Promoting your local business by taking advantage of social media is another way to help improve your visibility in the different search engines.
Social media platforms, such as Instagram and Facebook, play a big role when it comes to influencing people’s decisions and it’s important to be active on these platforms.
A well planned social media strategy will allow you to interact with more people in your local area and it will help to promote your local business at the same time.
Active social media pages can also rank on Google and other search engines so people are more likely to find your business if you’re active and engaging on these different platforms.
You can also use social media to get feedback from your customers and clients and this can help to get you more reviews on review platforms like Yelp, Facebook, and Google Reviews.
Start Blogging ASAP
Optimizing your business website for local SEO can only do so much and the best way to get more clients and gain more leads is to start blogging regularly.
Content on your website is able to reach a wide local audience and help you find clients that are interested in the specific products or services that you offer.
For example, pest control businesses can take advantage of pest control SEO by writing blog posts about getting rid of certain pest related problems in a local area.
Some ideas for blog posts might include things like:
- New York City Bed Bug Removal
- Chicago Cockroach Exterminator
- Phoenix Termite Exterminator
- Detroit Wildlife Removal
- Pest Control in Los Angeles
With this type of content you can target specific problems that people need help with and drive them to your business where you can capture them as a relevant and interested client.
As a business owner, you might not have the time to write blog posts about your product or service, so it’s a good idea to work with an experienced SEO expert that can help you with this and allow you to focus on the other more important aspects of running your business.
Encourage Review and Respond to Online Inquiries
One of the most effective ways at increasing your local business visibility in local search engine results is by setting up your business with local review websites and encouraging reviews from your past clients.
These days, many people are reading reviews about local businesses to see what other people have to say about the product or service that they offer.
Negative reviews, as well as no reviews at all, can have a detrimental impact on how potential clients receive your business so it’s important to provide a quality service as well as to encourage your past customers and clients to leave reviews.
Getting reviews is pretty easy and most people don’t mind leaving them if you’re willing to ask.
Positive reviews will also help your business gain more visibility on the different review platforms and should also help your business website to show higher up in local search rankings.
Don’t hesitate to ask a past client or customer to leave a review and always take the time to respond to reviews that are left, whether they are negative or positive.
If you do happen to get a bad review, respond honestly and try to mitigate the situation.
When it comes to negative reviews, never respond negatively and never try to cover up or pass the blame on any mistakes that your business might have made.