While large international companies focus their marketing efforts globally, small businesses need to focus on another area. They need local SEO so potential customers from the area they cover can easily find them. Local SEO for small businesses can improve their online visibility, rankings for local searches, and increase the number of actual consumers. Despite all the benefits, only half of the local businesses use this in their marketing campaigns. And even among them, a large percentage still don’t do it thoroughly. From the marketing perspective, there is a lot of space and opportunities to leverage this situation. Those who realize it could easily place themselves above the competitors in a specific geographical location. And plan and target different audiences, no matter how big or small they are. After all, creating an advantage for your business is, in reality, the primary goal for every local business owner.
Why should small businesses use local SEO
We have been witnessing the evolution of the internet and different communication networks over the last few decades. The result of all the changes is that the web is, without a doubt, slowly suppressing the use of traditional means of advertising. Now we have large search engines everyone uses when they are looking for all types of information, from food recipes, entertainment, services, and products to various ways to advertise the businesses. Fortunately, small businesses don’t have to compete with everyone on the planet, only with those in their local area or in the specific location where they are offering their services. And this is precisely where local SEO helps.
What is local SEO by definition?
In essence, local SEO is the process of optimization for search engines. But, with one big difference from general SEO. The optimization focuses on improving the visibility and ranking positions of your business for local searches. Depending on the people’s search queries, businesses are evaluated and displayed differently in local SERPs (Search Engine Result Pages), which takes the candidate only from a specific geographical location. For this, major search engines like Google take proximity, relevance, and prominence into account when creating results for geographically-related searches. This means, if someone from your area is searching for a service you offer, they will get complete information about the nearby places.
How to work on your local SEO
Create a Google My Business profile
One of the first steps for local optimization is to create or claim your GMB profile. Given the fact that Google is the most popular search engine, this is essential. In a way, you can find and use many tools to increase productivity, but you will hardly get such an opportunity to advertise for free. Immediately, you will get an online presence, accompanied by all the additional features like Google Maps. When someone searches for the type of service or product you offer, they will get all the relevant information about your business in one place.
The next step is to create online citations and directory listings for your business. First, look for and claim as many online mentions as possible. If you have been in the business for a while, chances are someone is already mentioning you online. Don’t forget to check social media as well. Once it’s done, create citations yourself, and submit your business information on different listing directories relevant to your industry. The only problem is you will need to make an effort to ensure your business information (Name, Address, Phone number – NAP) is accurate and consistent everywhere. You can do this without breaking the bank since most of the citations will be free to create.
Web content with localization in mind
Another way to optimize for local searches is to make some adjustments to your website and social media profiles. If you want to compete for specific terms, add localization to them when including them in your content. Also, for multiple locations, create separate pages on your website or an entirely new website for each location. If you cover one area only, an “About Us” page will suffice.
Actively manage the reviews
Since customer satisfaction is becoming a priority for B2C marketing today, you will have to show you value your customers’ opinions. Not only will it show your buyers you respect them, but it will also show search engines you are a valid and credible business. Once again, GMB reviews are an excellent place to start. But, don’t limit yourself only to that. There are many review websites, forums, and local online places where you will need to make yourself active. Undoubtedly, people who see you have a good reputation will be more likely to trust your business.
Optimize your website for mobile devices
If you want to maximize the results from your local SEO, you will need to optimize your website for mobile devices. This is principally important because the majority of searches with local intent come from smartphones. You have to provide an exceptional experience for your users without any indication of poor website performance. Otherwise, your potential customers will leave and have their search somewhere else.
A variety of benefits of local SEO
While you can advertise your local business traditionally, the results will be nowhere near as if you advertise online. Considering that almost half of the internet searches have local intent, it’s simply too much of the potential audience to ignore.
Furthermore, today, it is becoming a necessity to use SEO, or your business will remain incognito otherwise. In other words, no matter how good your business and website are, it won’t matter at all if no one knows they exist. To help you fix the problem, it’s good to first familiarize yourself with the list of benefits of local SEO:
- Local SEO helps with website rankings, especially for the local searches
- It improves your brand visibility and increases the valuable website traffic
- The increase in traffic leads to more potential customers from the area
- More potential customers mean better conversion rates
- For small local businesses, it’s probably one of the best advertising channels
- Local SEO helps you stand above your competitors
- It covers almost all devices with internet, including increasingly popular mobile devices
- It gives the most important information about your business
- Helps people find you with maps and directions
- Local SEO is one of the most cost-effective advertising solutions
Who should use local SEO?
Every local business should use the advantages local SEO provides. No matter how small or large, whether you are just starting or are years into the business, every business that operates in a particular geographical area should use it. Even if you serve multiple locations, you should use local SEO for each location separately. For example, if you look at the popular franchises, each of them is conducting local SEO for each area they serve, from simple food chains to private dentist offices. In other words, everyone who operates in one or more specific locations should understand the importance of local SEO for small businesses and use it.