Simple & Effective SEO Tips For Local Businesses
If you don’t come up in the top three spots when someone does a Google search, you’re losing out on tons of business. Why? The top three positions on Google search get the most clicks. If you haven’t started taking SEO seriously, then you need to set aside some time to read this piece. Then, set at least an hour a day each week to put our SEO tips for small business in action.
Let’s start off with a little background to get you caught up on what SEO is, how it works and how you can implement these SEO tips without wasting too much of your time.
What is SEO?
SEO is an acronym for ‘Search Engine Optimization‘. It is probably the most important thing to anyone running any business that can be found online. Regardless of whether you are a blog, online shop, or service, if you have a less than stellar SEO ranking, you will have a hard time discovered by current and potential customers.
The higher your website comes up on search rankings, the greater your chances consumers will do business with your company. It’s vital to have a local SEO strategy so consumers can find your business when they perform a local search.
Improving your local results ranking will generate more sales and revenue for your business. SEO is not easy, but with these SEO tips, you can give your website a boost to help your business grow.
12 Local SEO Tips
1. Create/Claim your business listings on the main search engines
The first step is making sure that you have a local business page for all three major search engines. Where to start? Click the links below to create, claim or update your listings:
Fill out your business information such as location, phone number, hours, etc. and then you’ll be all set with an account. Take a few minutes to make sure each of these profiles is filled out completely and that all the information is consistent across profiles. Fill in everything you can, and come back once a month to make sure everything is current.
2. Check/Claim on all local listing websites.
Directory websites like Yelp, FriendsEAT, Foursquare, Local.com, Facebook, Mapquest, and YellowPages.com all increase your reach and visibility. Most of these will create a listing of all local businesses whether you want them to or not. Check these sites. Make sure that your listing is properly filled out. If you can claim your listing, claim it and edit it to make sure it is accurate. If you can’t claim it – then write those sites with the correct information (they want to have accurate information on site). If they allow you to link to your website, make sure your website is updated.
3. Optimize and properly categorize your pages
Optimize your local pages by uploading quality photos, keeping your hours of operation updated, and listing the services or products you offer.
Once that is done, categorize your business correctly. Several local search engines allow you to place your business into 2-5 categories to help them understand what your business does.
4. Use accurate business citations
Make sure all of your information is filled out on all these sites, and you have consistent NAP (Name, Address, Phone) data for your company or business across all listings. Then, follow these steps:
*Use a tool like Yext or Localeze to see where your company’s local listings are found online.
*Search for your business and phone number to help you see if there are any duplicate listings.
*Search for various names of your business. If you already have a listing created, that information is gathered from around the web so it could be incorrect.
You will have to verify that you are the owner of your business either by email, phone, or possibly traditional mail. Services such as Yext and Localeze can also speed up this process because they can also help you create these citations or make them more uniform so that all of your local information on the web is accurate.
5. Keep your eye on online reviews
When people search for your business on Google will probably first see a set of ads, then Google listings, then review websites, then…maybe… they will see your website. When your potential customers perform a Google search, they will be influenced by your star rating. Reviews are quick and easy ways for consumers to decide which link they want to click. These are a few things you can do to take control of your online reputation:
- Put an emphasis on requesting reviews from happy customers.
- Monitor review websites so that you can address any negatives in a speedy manner.
- Add a button on your webpage prompting customers to leave a review
- Add an easy to see “contact us” button on your site. This way, people who are unhappy have an easy way to contact you instead of going to Yelp and leaving a negative review.
6. Add quality photos
This point goes back to optimizing your listing. When people are searching for local businesses, they want to see photos. Most local directories including Google allow you to upload at least 10 pictures. Your goal should try to be to have that many photos uploaded. It’s also important to take photos of your actual building, both inside and out, and even take pictures of your products. Your logo does work, but it’s always best to have an actual picture of the company building as your main photo. All you have to do to upload photos is visit your local listing and click a little link that says “add photos.” It’s as easy as that.
7. Optimize Your Website
Local search is a combination of optimizing your actual website as well as local listing sites and review sites. Make sure you have your contact information and preferably a phone number somewhere on your website. It’s also important to try and include city or regional keywords wherever possible and write content that is specific to your local area. Reach out to local organizations to establish connections. Begin to collaborate with them and when they write about the events you are collaborating in, make sure you ask them to include a link to your site.
8. Have your complete contact information in a page on your website
Include your name, address, phone number, e-mail address, business hours, website URL, and even a map of your location(s) if possible. If you have multiple locations, give each location its own page.
9. Use keywords that combine your service with your location
Using local signals is especially important in your title tags and meta descriptions because these snippets are often the first things people will see when searching for you- make sure they know how easily accessible you are. For example, if you’re a plumber in Nutley, NJ – make sure you clearly state that.
10. Add fresh, local content to your blog
You have a company blog, right? Great! Use this space to write about local events that you’ve participated in alongside the helpful posts you’re already giving your readers. You could even reach out to other local businesses that are in a similar industry for extra link building through guest posts. For example, if you run a pizzeria, you could reach out to a local farmer for a guest post about why locally sourced ingredients taste superior on pizza.The whole idea is to increase the chances that you’ll come up for local events.
11. Don’t forget link building
Inbound links will always remain a huge ranking signal, so don’t forget to continue to build high-quality links. A great way to gain some useful links is to create useful content that your readers will want to share and spread throughout the internet. If you have something newsworthy don’t be afraid to reach out to the local media and share information that you feel they might be interested in. This is a great way to get some powerful natural links the correct way. As mentioned above, collaborate with local organizations. If they are writing about their events and you are involved, make sure they include your links in their articles.
12. Use social media
An easy way to increase the chance of getting links is to use social media. It’s is great for link building and improving your keyword strategy. Google indexes pages from most social media sites, so you can increase your content’s visibility in SERPs by adding keywords within the title of your social media posts. Your social media posts also give you a chance to create content that will be seen first by your audience, therefore giving you more control over the conversation. In order to do this effectively, you will need a strong social media management tool like Socialdraft. With Socialdraft you can:
- Schedule posts to multiple Facebook pages, Twitter accounts, Instagram accounts, Pinterest boards, and LinkedIn pages
- Schedule one-time, recurring and duplicate posts
- Engage your community on the all-in-one feed
- Pull reports
- and give different people special permissions to collaborate on social for your business
- We will even train your team and give you personalized ideas on how to make your social media efforts a success
13. Sign up for Google My Business
No one loves Google more than Google. Sign up & claim your Google My Business and complete as many fields as you can in the “About” section using keywords that describe your business. Google also allows you to add several customized links to your profile, you can use this as an opportunity to link back to your website, blog, and additional social channels. By spending 10-minutes a day sharing your content to your Google business page, you’ll be more likely to appear within Google’s SERP.
If you don’t have time to handle this, or feel a little overwhelmed, contact us by clicking on support. Socialdraft offers SEO as part of its managed services and we’d be glad to help your business serp.