For small and medium businesses a local SEO strategy is crucial when they are competing with much larger corporations with deep pockets.
As a small business owner you’ll always have a minimum of one competitor who has much more visibility, has been around for a while and also have a decent budget to invests in its marketing efforts, and ranks higher in search results.
But for local SEO you do not need a very big budget or constantly invest link building strategies to be visible to your local audience.
Let’s explore some cost-effective local SEO strategies for small and medium businesses that make them rank in local searches and increase local popularity.
Specific and accurate information, with fast response, is what drives local business searches, and having a business listed on Google is the first step towards a smart local SEO strategy.
Frankly speaking, with mobile phones playing the most vital role in influencing consumers journey, as a business owner one cannot say no to mobile optimization. 75% of local searches result in an in-store visit.
It’s a no-brainer that people are searching for business. But the real question is: Are they able to find you?
Factors Influencing Local Search Rankings
- Up-to-date Google My Business profile
- Google Reviews
- Website traffic and engagement
Google My Business is Google’s registry for all local businesses. You can easily set it up by signing into your Gmail account and provide information of your business name, address, and telephone number. If it’s your first time then you need to request for postcard verification, so make sure that the address you mentioned is correct.
But only verifying your business is not guaranteeing your business success, you’ll need reviews to back-up your business. And Google loves an active business listing. So make sure that you reply to all those reviews that you’ve got, even the bad ones (be humble and learn what went wrong, offer a solution). Update your profile with pictures, videos, offers, posts. Make sure you have an active phone number lisited on your business profile. You can even track how many people called your business.
91% of users look at look reviews before investing in a product or service. Businesses with high recommendations prove to have greater success with SEO. So investing your time in getting quality Google reviews will help in local SEO.
The simplest way to generate reviews is by simply asking your customers to give you a feedback on your Google profile. In this way, you are creating a positive relationship with your client, that you really value their opinion and are looking for their feedback.
But, please be careful, your reviews need to unbiased, one cannot offer any incentive to their client for giving a review on Google.
Website traffic and engagement
Google wants to encourage users to have an active business profile along with an active online presence. Google examines your website data by looking at how much traffic you receive organically and how many users interact with your website.
So it is important for you to give your users of good website experience and add value to the content of your site on regular basis to boost the reputation of your website. It can be in the form of writing a new blog, reviewing content; that includes images and videos.
5 Local SEO Strategies for your Business
Title and Meta Description
Title tag and meta description is the major on-page optimization factor that influences search rankings. Hence, it’s important to highlight the most important keywords with meta tags.
Meta tags are the small snippet of description that you see on your SERP’s (Search Engine Results Pages), related to your search query.
Title tags are approximately 50 to 60 characters and the description tags can be from 160 to 200 characters. A meta tag needs to be unique, compelling, and descriptive in order to earn higher CTR for your website. An unprofessionally written tag will result in your website losing traffic, search rankings, and user engagement.
Local businesses can optimize their meta tags as part of their overall local SEO strategy.
Citations for Local Businesses
It is important for your business to rank in local searches. Get your business listed in online business directories like Yelp, Manta, or others that have a good reputation. Call local newspaper and magazines and see if they have any local business directory that you can get yourself listed on.
As part of your local SEO strategy make sure you maintain a consistent NAP (name, address, and phone number) on all the business directories so that Google does not see it as an incorrect information.
Use local structured data markup
“Schema Markup” can be added to your website’s code by your webmaster. It will enable search engines to have more information about your business, products or services, business reviews, etc, that you’d like to highlight.
Structured data markup helps spiders better determine what your site content is about. Google even offers a Structured Data Testing Tool so you can check to see if your markup is properly implemented.
You can even use Data Highlighter to markup content yourself, make sure to have google search console set up prior to using this service of Google.
Leverage Mobile Optimization
It is important to pay close attention to mobile optimization. We are more exposed to our mobiles than desktops! 80% of local business search is on mobile devices. It can be your restaurant, consultancy, or a store.
— Search Engine Land
Optimizing Google My Business Profile
It is important for you to optimize your Google my business listing on regular basis. By providing a good business description, relevant category, along with your business hours, uploading good quality pictures/ videos, you can enhance your user experience.
Try using Google posts feature to inform about your important events, products or services that are exclusively being offered by you.
Keep track of business page insights! Data on phone calls received, views, clicks, search queries, are available under the insights section.
Taking help from a local SEO expert can help you in increasing the visibility of your business and implement best SEO practices for small businesses.
To sum it all, there is no shortcut to success! For local SEO you need to consistent, especially when there are more players in the market. And you won’t rise magically on the top local search engine rankings automatically. Have an active local SEO strategy in place and be sure to be consistent with your SEO efforts.