These days, if you run a small business, you need to have an internet presence in order to both survive and thrive. If you’re not online, the only people who will likely find you are the ones that walk by your business. Plus, even they might not want to set foot inside if they can’t find the right information beforehand.
Ideally, anyone should be able to find you through a search engine. More importantly, locals need to be able to see your business on maps, and that information should come up when they conduct related searches. That way, you won’t miss out on local patronage, while still attracting business from further away.
In this article, we’re going to introduce you to the concept of ‘local SEO’. Then we’ll talk about four strategies you can use to improve it on your website. Let’s get to work!
What Is Local SEO?
You’re probably already familiar with the concept of Search Engine Optimization (SEO). It’s a collection of practices used to improve your site’s rankings in Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs) on sites like Google. SEO involves everything from proper keyword research and use, to optimizing meta descriptions and adding ‘alt text’ to images.
Local SEO, on the other hand, is a much more focused subset within the field. Its primary goal is to provide local businesses with the tools they need to help passersby and other nearby customers find them. Online business listings, for example, are an excellent way to boost local SEO (we’ll talk more about them in a moment).
Naturally, the more attention your business gets, the more customers it will likely have – and the more money you can make. In other words, it’s easy to see why local SEO is such a big deal.
3 Local SEO Strategies for Small Businesses
If you’re a small business with a brick-and-mortar store, then you need to build up a local clientele in order for your company to survive. Fortunately, local SEO can help you achieve that. Let’s go over three of the most important strategies you can put in place to boost your business’ online presence.
1. Set Up Online Listings and Profiles for Your Business
Every business needs a website. However, we’re past the days where just a website is enough for an effective online presence. If you want to grow your business, you’ll also need to be available on social media and have easy-to-find listings.
When we talk about business listings, we’re referring to features like this one:
Typically, a listing will appear when people located nearby make a search that’s related to (or directly about) your business. Some search engines, such as Google, enable you to ‘claim’ your business and create customized listings for it. The same goes for Facebook and other social media platforms.
Ideally, you’ll want to claim your business on as many platforms as possible, and set up listings for each. That way, no matter where potential customers go, they’ll find what they’re looking for (such as your operating hours, contact information, directions, and more).
2. Focus on Local Keywords to Boost Your Clientele
When you’re trying to grow a website, one of the best things you can do is research popular keywords, and target them through your content.
With local SEO, you still have to think about keywords. However, in this case, you’ll want to target keywords that have local relevance. For example, if you own a hair salon in Brooklyn, you’d probably want to rank for search terms such as:
- Brooklyn hair salon
- Where to get a haircut in Brooklyn
- Best hair salons in Brooklyn
The great thing about local keywords is that there’s often little competition. That means ranking highly for them can be a lot easier. If you manage to place among the first search results for a few key terms, that should help you grow your clientele faster.
3. Make Your Business’ Contact and Location Information Easy to Find
When looking up local businesses, most people pay attention to four things in particular:
- Information about where it’s located
- Details regarding when it’s open
- Location photographs
- Ratings and reviews
The third and fourth points are self-explanatory. If potential clients can find pictures of your business and products, for example, it can help them decide whether to visit. Ratings and reviews are up to customers to create, but you can improve them by offering excellent service.
However, many businesses forget to be as detailed as possible when it comes to the first two items on that list. For instance, if customers can’t find your business through Google Maps, they’ll probably look for other options. The same applies to operating hours. Potential customers should be able to find out in minutes if a location is open, so they can decide when to go.
There are a lot of ways to tackle this aspect of local SEO. First, your contact and location information should always appear prominently on your website:
You’ll also want to make sure your online business listings include that key information. Finally, it can be smart to add contact and location details to your social media profiles as well. For example, Instagram enables you to add a location for your business, so followers can click on it and see how to get there using their favorite map application.
These days, it’s common for people to look up businesses online before giving them a chance. They’ll check out reviews, photos, and opening hours before they decide to spend money on your services. The good news is that those are all elements local SEO can help out with.
If you’re ready to improve your local SEO, here are three ways to start moving in the right direction:
- Put up online listings and profiles for your business.
- Focus on local keywords to boost your clientele.
- Ensure that your business’ contact and location information is easy to find.
Do you have any questions about how to get noticed using local SEO? Let’s talk about them in the comments section below!
Image credit: Pixabay.