One of the challenges small businesses face with their online marketing efforts is their visibility in local searches. Even in limited areas, there is steep competition among startups to get to the top spot on local search results for Google and other search engines. Here are four simple local SEO tips that small business owners can implement to gain online visibility and drive traffic to their websites:
Google My Business is Google’s local platform which took the place of Google Places. It is very important for local business owners to set up a Google My Business profile as soon as possible as this helps improve their visibility on local searches. Make sure to provide accurate and complete information about your NAP data (your business name, address, and phone number) so your credibility can be well established. Search engines place high value on businesses with accurate data in all their online profiles and channels.
Once you have created your profile, you need to get verified through phone at your business location or via a postcard sent to your business address. Getting your business profile verified helps with SEO because it gets your business listed in local searches. So if someone searches for your particular type of business and enter your zip code, your business will be included in the locations that are highlighted in the map that comes up on search results.
Whenever possible, add your location in the content, page name, and URL structure. If your business has multiple branches, you will have to create a specific page for each location. Every location page should include your business name, address and phone number, along with any nicknames that area may go by. So if your store happens to be located in Los Angeles, California, also include “City of Angels” on your webpage.
Don’t forget to add your business location in categories for local content. If you have blog posts that are related specifically to certain locations, these locations should be used as a tag and category. For example, if your blog is about an event in New York in which your business participated in, your post should be in a category and tagged with “New York”. That way, the your location will also show up as keywords in the URL.
One way local businesses can establish credibility with potential customers is by being seen as a legitimate and high-quality business, and one way to achieve this is through online customer reviews. According to a study, online consumers trust reviews they see on the internet as if these were recommendations coming from their friends and family.
Your website should also be optimized for mobile. As many consumers conduct their searches for local places while they are on the go, most searches related to local places are made on mobile devices such as smartphones and tables. Generally, searchers are looking for business addresses, phone numbers, and hours of operation in their online mobile searches, so make sure that these information are included on your mobile site these show up quickly on their search results. Otherwise, they might decide to go to a competitor’s site instead.
Learning the basics in local SEO is important for small businesses that rely on their site to lead potential customers to their brick-and-mortar locations. Aside from a traditional SEO strategy with link building and relevant keywords, small business owners can use these helpful tips to achieve greater online visibility for their businesses.
Michelle Rubio is an experienced SEO copywriter and blogger since 2010. She has been working with various businesses, big and small, in the United States, UK, Canada, and Australia. You can see more of her works and experiences in her LinkedIn profile.