When it comes to search engine optimization done for small businesses, the one thing that normally comes up is local SEO. This is definitely the way to go. It is useful for both the small businesses that would want to reach a wide audience and the small business that can only handle the local customers. Effectively positioning a brand in the Google search engine results is vital for future success and growth. Those companies that realized this early already reaped in the benefits of such a move.
The problem at the moment is that local SEO for small businesses is more complicated due to the competition that is growing in practically all industries. Local SEO is not as easy as many believe. You do not just add the site to a few directories. Much more work is needed and many things can be said about the subject. We will just focus on some simple SEO tips for small local businesses, those tips that will help.
Optimize The Business Website
Any site has to be optimized in order to properly appear in a search engine. Lack of optimization means that it is impossible for a site to rank high. Some things that you want to consider include:
- Choosing a good domain name, one that preferably includes the area covered.
- Add meta titles and meta descriptions to identify the business, services, location and description.
- Add the NAP (name, address and phone number) of the business on the homepage, the contact page and in an area of the site that is visible on absolutely all pages.
Building Local Business Listings On The Local Sites Of Interest
Boosting local SEO is always a lot easier when you add business listing information on as many third party sites as possible. Most of the search engines will look for such indications that the NAP of the company is legit. Start with Google My Business Directory, make sure you are listed in Google Maps and then start looking for directories and sites that talk about the local small businesses in your industry and in your location.
Make sure you use photos, website URL details, videos and any information that you can add to the third party sites. Always analyze the category and be sure it is appropriate and if the business includes different locations, be sure you will create a separate listing for every single location on the site. This increases visibility.
Local Linking Strategy
Links that you receive from businesses and sites connected with the local area you service are particularly valuable for local SEO. This is a little bit more complicated than other methods but the value is always really high. Make sure you consider the following:
- Share links consistently on social media.
- Website links should be included in customer updates and email newsletters.
- Sponsor or host some local events. This increases visibility and gains great local SEO links naturally.
- Start creating listings of great local resources for customers and discuss barters and partnerships to get good links.
Online User Reviews
These are incredibly effective in local SEO. You want to encourage the online user reviews and try to respond to them as often as possible. Always consider the following:
- Encourage the customers to leave reviews and ratings when they are satisfied with the service offered.
- Make sure you tell your customers where they could post the reviews. Most people are just lazy and will not look. At the same time, you can present some important local sites that would help you rank higher in local SEO.
- Respond to both negative and positive reviews.
- Do not post any false review. This will be discovered and you will lose search engine visibility.
At the end of the day, the most important thing is to basically connect with the local businesses, get links from them, make sure your site is prepared for the local SEO campaign and use the same approach you use at a local level but adapt it to the online world. As always, if you do not understand what you have to do or you have doubts, the best thing you can do is talk with a specialist in local SEO.