How can local SEO strategies reshape the way your small business thrives online? In today’s competitive business world, fostering trust and loyalty among customers is paramount for success.
That’s where implementing local SEO strategies comes into play. But how exactly do these strategies work, and what advantages do they offer?
Local SEO puts your business in front of more eyes in your local area. If you operate any type of brick-and-mortar business or cater to a local market, to put it bluntly, you need local SEO.
46% of all Google searches are looking for local information which means if you’ve been on the fence about doing SEO for your local business, you’ve been missing out on reaching a large pool of local customers actively searching for products or services like yours.
It’s true–it can be overwhelming for many local businesses to mind all the best search engine optimization practices, but by doing so, you can appear earlier in local search rankings, ensure that more local customers visit your website, and increase sales of your products and services.
Use the following tips to improve local SEO and drive your business forward.
Local SEO Tip #1: Claim and Optimize Your Google Business Profile
The leading search engine, Google, wants searchers to be able to find the products and services they need in their area. Your local business news a Google My Business listing so that local customers can find it easily when searching online. Initiating a Google business profile is a simple local SEO tip to achieve, but take care to update your listing with any changes to your business. Any Google My Business listing errors can have the opposite effect on your local search engine rank.
To claim and optimize your Google My Business listing, perform the following steps:
Select Business Type
When setting up your Google My Business listing, be sure to choose the appropriate business type for your business.
Add a Map or Your Business Locations
Adding a map to your Google My Business listing can help you boost your local SEO. Google maps allow local customers to easily get directions to your local business even if it has multiple locations. By adding each location, you can make it easier for customers to walk through your doors.
As map-based searches continue to gain popularity, local search engine optimization (SEO) emerges as a valuable strategy for small businesses seeking to improve their visibility on maps and attract local customers. According to Backlinko, a staggering 86% of individuals discover local businesses through maps, underscoring the crucial role of local SEO in connecting businesses with their target audience.
Remember that Google boasts more than 90% of the search engine market share. Listing your business with its business directory is crucial for your local SEO strategy. Google search engine algorithms call the shots when it comes to search results rankings. If you want to move up in the search results–and you do–you’ll want to make the most of local SEO tools like maps and citations in local directories.
Local SEO Tip #2: Encourage Your Customers to Leave Google Reviews
Google loves positive business reviews. In in a recent study, it was shown that 81% rely on Google to assess and evaluate local businesses. The more good reviews your small business receives, the better for your local SEO. Search engine algorithms crawl online reviews. Great reviews support an overall SEO strategy. Google doesn’t want to send searchers to small businesses (or any businesses) with an abundance of negative reviews because it could impact its own credibility.
The more positive reviews associated with your business, the better for your SEO. If you can encourage customers to leave an image, so much the better. Image and video content help diversify the content associated with your business, which makes for improved SEO. Just make sure when getting reviews for your business that you are following best practices to get Google reviews.
But that’s not all. Many shoppers rely on online customer reviews when making purchase decisions. As a local business owner, you need to encourage your customers to leave a review for your business. Positive reviews tell your local community that you’re worth checking out. Boosting your online reviews and maintaining good reviews can help you improve your search engine ranking and drive more customers to your business.
Local SEO Tip #3: Consistent Name, Address, and Phone Number
Believe it or not, small errors in your business name, address, or phone number (NAP) can sabotage your SEO, especially if they appear incorrect in your Google business profile. To begin, check your Google business profile to ensure everything about the listing like its address and phone number is correct. Then, scour other online business directories and local directories that your small business appears in. Make sure that each listing is correct.
If you find errors in your address and phone number, contact the directory operator to make the necessary change–and be sure to check to make sure it’s done. A small mistake can make a surprisingly big dent in your local SEO. Check all business listings for accuracy, and make a point to revisit them periodically to ensure your listings, especially with Google search engine are accurate and up to date.
Local SEO Tip #4: Add Location Pages with Localized Content on Your Website
If your business has multiple locations or serves customers in multiple locations (even neighboring towns), location pages with localized search terms is a must, and one of our most important local SEO tips for small businesses. Remember, you don’t have to have a physical business in a city or town to create a location page for it to improve on page SEO. If you serve customers from that city, it makes good marketing (and SEO) sense to create a location page for it.
Local SEO Tip #5: Optimize Your Title Tags, H1, and Meta Descriptions
Enhancing your small business location pages with localized keywords in title tags, subheadings, and meta descriptions can improve visibility and attract relevant local traffic. Although meta tags themselves may not directly influence search engine rankings, they serve as valuable snippets in search results. So that might lead you to ask yourself. “Are meta descriptions and meta data even worth it?” As Nick Swan from SEOTesting.com puts it:
Google pulls the page title and meta description to display in search results, and well-crafted meta tags can increase the chances of attracting clicks from users. They act as a guide to both search engine crawlers and your audience, conveying the relevance and purpose of your pages.
Spend time crafting great meta descriptions. Just do it. You are writing the content anyways so you owe it to yourself to write great meta descriptions and meta titles that encourage hight click though rates. Strive for meta descriptions that are 50-160 characters and meta titles that are between 50-60 characters.
Google will truncate them around 160 but in my experience, it’s ok if they cut off because you are just giving Google more context to what your content is. It’s important to note that Google may sometimes generate its own meta descriptions or modify the provided ones if it deems it more relevant to the search query.
To ensure your meta descriptions are more likely to be displayed as intended, it’s advisable to make them concise, compelling, and relevant to the page content. Similarly, meta titles should accurately reflect the content on the page and include relevant keywords.
Local SEO Tip #6: Research Local Keywords for Your Business
To optimize your landing page content effectively, you’ll want to create a robust keyword list so you can target local keywords to include throughout the copy, but especially in the areas mentioned above, the title tags, H1 headings, and meta descriptions. If you aren’t sure how to perform keyword research, it makes sense to hire an SEO company, like Neon Flamingo, to conduct the exhaustive keyword research for you.
By neglecting to identify valuable target keywords and the most promising geographical areas, you’re inadvertently disregarding the immense potential of connecting with local searchers who are actively searching for you. Don’t miss out on the opportunity to capitalize on these local searchers and reap the benefits they can bring to your business.
Bonus Tip: When performing keyword research, longtail search phrases can be your best friend.
While ranking for short-tail keywords can generate a significant volume of traffic, if you’re aiming for improved conversion rates and a smoother journey towards reaching Google’s first page, long-tail keywords are your ultimate ally.
People searching for long-tail keywords are motivated by a specific purpose. Their search intent is clearer, making it easier to create targeted content that aligns precisely with their goals. By focusing on long-tail keywords, you can attract a more engaged audience and provide them with valuable information that meets their specific needs
Local SEO Tip #7: Add Schema Markup to Your Pages
Schema markup is related to your pages’ structured data. Adding them to your webpages is like sending a ‘direct message’ to Google search engine algorithms and other search engines that highlights your local business information. The code makes it easier for search engines to find your business, know it, and share it on search engine results pages.
Although this is a technical SEO issue, it overlaps with local SEO, which is why it’s among our local SEO tips for small businesses that can help boost rank with search engines like Google.
Local SEO Tip #8: Land Local Backlinks and Citations
Local backlinks and citations lend credibility to your local business. If other local businesses are referencing your business online with citations and links, it emphasizes your relevance, which improves your local SEO. A citation is a mention of your business along with its address or contact information. A backlink is a link for your business inserted in someone else’s content.
To build up your local backlinks and citations, you’ll want to contact local industry sites and request local links. Your SEO provider or website developer who specializes in local link building can also contact aggregators to request these links and citations. Many businesses will wait to build up backlinks and citations, but to follow local SEO tips for small businesses, it’s best to take a proactive approach and help things along where you can.
Backlinks and citations can help improve your rank with search engines; it’s as simple as that. Don’t let anyone tell you that backlinks are not a Google ranking factor in 2023.
And last but not least…
Local SEO Tip #9: Optimize for E-E-A-T
E-E-A-T stands for: experience, expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness and is now part of Google’s Search Quality Rater Guidelines. Your business needs to demonstrate these attributes in order to please Google search engine algorithms and ‘convince’ you to bump up your appearance in local search engine page rankings.
Using E-E-A-T as a guide to improved SEO also signals to the local community and potential customers that you’re a reputable and knowledgeable business.
Experience matters to customers, so it matters to Google search engine algorithms. You can demonstrate your experience online by publishing content denoting your experience, generating online reviews, and posting relevant content on your website or social media. Employing local SEO tips for small businesses and following best local SEO practices also points to a more experienced business.
Customers want to do business with companies with expertise. Your local business can demonstrate expertise by highlighting its service awards, certifications, and by publishing a body of relevant content related to its business industry or offerings.
By implementing local SEO tips tailored for small businesses, you not only demonstrate your expertise to potential customers but also showcase your industry knowledge to search engines, ensuring that your business is positioned as a trusted authority in local search results.
There are lots of plumbing businesses, for instance, but if you want to stand out from all of the other certified plumbers, you’ll have to demonstrate your authoritativeness in the field–in this field or any other field your local business happens to operate in.
Publishing high quality content like white papers, articles, blogs, infographics, etc, prove to Google search engine algorithms, and customers, of course, that you are an authority in your field. Learn about marketing collateral and the must-have content types every business needs to help you stand out and differentiate yourself from the flock.
Also, be sure your small business appears in the top business directories, for example. Adhering to all of these local SEO tips for small businesses also helps you demonstrate your authoritativeness to search engines.
Finally, Google search engine algorithms need to note that your business is a trustworthy one because that’s what online searchers need to know. Google isn’t interested in sending searchers to sites of untrustworthy businesses.
As I mentioned above, you can boost your trustworthiness for local SEO by racking up positive online reviews, providing accurate and transparent information about your business, and ensuring that your website content and online business directories listings are accurate.
Local SEO for Small Businesses FAQs
How does local SEO help to grow small businesses?
Local SEO tips and strategies help to improve your local business’s online visibility to its local audience. While it sounds simple enough, there are actually many different ways to improve your local SEO for greater online visibility. The local SEO tips outlined above, for instance, are the best ways to improve local SEO for small local businesses. Even basic steps like making sure local listings for your small business are accurate can help you boost your local search rank.
What is the most effective strategy for local SEO?
The most effective local SEO strategy is the one that gets you a bump in the search engine rankings! There’s no magic formula other than to adhere to Google search engine algorithm best practices for local SEO. If you’re lax in one area of local SEO, be sure to address it. The real secret to great local SEO is to analyze and monitor. Be sure to measure results. That way, you can see which of your local SEO strategies are supporting your online success best.
Is improving local content a good investment?
If you want to attract more visitors to your website as well as your brick-and-mortar store, it makes sense to invest in improving local SEO in all areas, including local content. Your local content that includes local keywords demonstrates your expertise, experience, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness–all things that are crucial for your local SEO. Local content can go a long way to attracting search engine crawlers and improving your rank in local search results, particularly the most relevant local results.
Can local SEO help me compete against other local businesses?
Absolutely. Your small business can use these local SEO tips for small businesses to leverage the best online marketing practices. With local SEO strategies, you achieve a higher rank with search engines when potential customers perform a local search. If you appear before them, you’re likely to attract more customers than they will. Plus, local search offers a great ROI for a local business. It doesn’t eat up your marketing budget to perform the above local SEO tips for small businesses. Even small local SEO efforts can pay off.
What To Do Next?
If you’ve been considering investing in SEO for your local business, it’s crucial to explore a customized SEO strategy that aligns with your specific needs. This ensures you avoid overspending on SEO services that may not be essential for your business. Put your trust in the experienced team at Neon Flamingo Creative to craft a tailored and strategic plan designed for your success.
Meet the Author
Over the past 12 years, I've honed my digital marketing skills by working with well-known brands such as Eu Natural, Skinny Ms., and Costco, to name a few. Together with my wife Candyce, we help other businesses improve their marketing online. When I'm not helping my customers win, I'm playing/recording music, flying my drone and hanging with the family.