Did you know that there are 4.388 billion active Internet users at the beginning of 2019? With that many people online, it’s imperative to take your business online. So how can you get a big slice of the Internet pie? Enter local SEO, a method that uses the most searched “near me” keywords relative to your business, so people around you geographically can discover it.
Exactly how important is local SEO to small businesses, like yours? You’re about to find out.
What is local SEO?
To start things off, here’s a working definition: local SEO is a digital marketing strategy that small business owners, like you, can use to optimize your website and organically rank high in search engines. It’s easier than most people think; best of all, it’s free, for the most part.
Local SEO is about creating an opportunity for people geographically near you to find you or your business’s physical location. Click To Tweet To do this, all they have to do is to type in keywords related to your business/website on search engines such as Google, Bing, and Yahoo. On the other hand, local SEO isn’t just about search engines. There are other things you can do on other platforms to help people easily find your website, business, or physical location. See the breakdown below.
How do you implement local SEO?
There are many local SEO strategies or techniques that business owners, like yours, can use to improve your search results ranking. Below are among the most common SEO practices you can start implementing today:
1. Create a website
Does your small business have a website? If it doesn’t, it’s high time you built one and have it SEO optimized. This way, potential customers can find you, in contrast to other businesses without a website.
In a study by business-to-business research firm Clutch, out of the 351 small businesses they surveyed, 64%have websites. Among those without a website, 54% intend to have one built, while 64% rely on their websites to connect with people.
Build a website if you want your business to grow this 2020. You can create one using free blog sites such as WordPress or Wix. Choose from a wide variety of themes that you can customize to complement your brand. Be sure to purchase a domain name and a hosting plan; so you can further customize your website and give it a professional feel.
2. Set up your social media pages
Did you know that there were 2.82 billion people on social media in 2019? That number is set to hit 3.09 billion by 2021. So, as part of your small business SEO checklist, list down the setting up of your social media pages.
Which of the many social media platforms should you invest your time, money, and effort into setting up for your small business?
To help you decide, Facebook has the most number of users at 2.41 billion, making it a must-have social media platform for businesses. YouTube comes in second with 2 billion users. This makes it a good choice for small businesses that use a video-heavy marketing material. Instagram is third with 1 billion users in October 2019, according to this 2019 Statista report. YouTube is great for brands with image-based marketing strategies.
Keep in mind, however, that many users have accounts across these social media platforms; hence, the relatively large number of users compared to the actual number of active social media users. It is a good SEO tip to set up your business’s social media pages through which you could get the most number of audience for your brand.
3. Register on Google My Business
Another important point in this small business guide that most businesses miss is to register on Google My Business (GMB). It’s a free and easy-to-use tool that can improve your brand’s online presence.
By signing up and having your GMB page verified, your business information such as a physical address, business hours, contact numbers, URL, and email address will show up on the search engine results page (SERP). Your business will also show up on Google Maps. Apart from that, it will also allow your customers to post a review of your business. You’ll be able to read those and respond to each, accordingly.
4. Sign up on different local directories
Your business’s presence on Yelp, Bing, FourSquare and other local online directories has basically the same effect as signing up on GMB. Additionally, this makes your business information available on other platforms and browsers. Most online directories are free to use; so don’t hesitate to sign up.
5. Implement consistent NAP for your business
An equally important local SEO tip for small business owners is to make sure that the information you share on online directories is updated and consistent. This is mentioned in Google’s guidelines for GMB. If your data are updated and consistent, Google–through its algorithm–will “trust” you more than other websites/businesses with incomplete, outdated, and inconsistent information.
The long-term benefits of local SEO
Local SEO for small businesses isn’t a short-time gimmick. On the contrary, this marketing strategy promises long-term benefits below that will give you a huge advantage against your competitors:
1. Increased search visibility
The main goal of SEO is to make your brand/business more visible online. Meanwhile, local SEO aims to do the same but in a more intimate geographical area, i.e. close to the physical address of your business or of your target market. By applying the right local SEO practices, people searching for services or products similar to yours will be seeing your website more and more.
And because they can see your website more, they will be able to learn more about your products and services. The more they know about your brand/product, the more likely they will drop by your shop to do business with you.
2. Increased foot traffic
Implementing local SEO can be likened to a billboard pointing to your physical store or business. It makes it easier for people near you to find your shop. Hence, you can expect foot traffic to increase over time steadily. And because you are receiving more foot traffic, you can also expect profits to increase.
You can sustain or increase foot traffic by creating more quality localized content that people can see, read, and/or watch. Moreover, you can keep your business name, address, and phone number updated and consistent in all online directories, social media pages, and website.
3. Improved brand recall
Another effect of being seen more online is that it improves brand recall. This, in turn, could result in repeat customers and brand association with your product/service.
4. You become the local authority
When people recall your brand/business more than your rivals’, you become the local authority in your industry. Click To Tweet With a good reputation, you build trust with search engines and your audience. This trust can eventually convert into increased traffic and sales.
5. Local link-building will increase
As the local authority, you will also notice that more websites will start to cite your content. An online citation is any mention of your brand, physical address, and a contact number. Being cited or building backlinks is very important in a local SEO strategy, according to Moz. In fact, this is fourth in its local ranking factors study.
Be careful and watch out for spam backlinks. This can happen when other entities use a link to your website with high density. Your rivals can do this to pull the rug under you and destroy your SEO ranking.
Try local SEO today
This business guide demonstrated how local SEO could be an easy, cost-effective marketing strategy for small businesses like yours. This can eliminate the need for you to hire a professional small business SEO service.
While implementing local SEO is practically free, numerous online resources can help you get started. Take the first step on your way to small business SEO success.
Interested in taking your business to the next level? Reach out to us through the form below and let’s help transform your business into a sales machine!
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