11 Tips For Small Business SEO
How can smaller companies expect to rank highly on search engine results pages? With so many small businesses competing for the same virtual real estate, it can feel daunting to even make a dent, let alone rise to the top of search engine results pages. Fortunately, there is a better opportunity with the help of local SEO.
When you think about all the other things you have to do as a business owner, it might be hard for small businesses to rank for keyword terms. It can seem impossible to push your way to the top of the search engine results pages because bigger, more resourceful organizations are also targeting those keywords (SERPs).
If there is one thing that can be said with certainty, it is that local SEO for small businesses has never been more crucial. Just take into account that from 2017 to 2019, mobile queries for “where to buy” and “near me” increased by over 200 percent.
Furthermore, a previous study revealed that your small business generates 69 percent of local and organic web traffic, making it more important than ever for you to focus on local organic SEO methods.
This article will familiarize small businesses with local SEO. Then, we’ll go over 12 local SEO pointers and the resources you’ll need to get started. And remember, if you don’t have the time or desire to do it yourself, there are professional companies like ours to do this work for you.
What is Small Business SEO?
The practice of optimizing your website through search engine optimization (SEO) increases the likelihood that it will be found by users who enter relevant search terms for your company. Similar to regular SEO, local SEO puts a particular emphasis on local keywords.
What are local keywords? Simply put, these are keywords that people living in a particular area may use, such as “service name + city name” or “City + Service” that clearly indicates they don’t want just any provider, but one who is local and familiar with their unique needs.
Driving local traffic traffic to your website is the obvious distinction, because local traffic is more likely to convert both online and offline. Not only is there greater potential for name recognition, but there is a perceived familiarity when your business is in the same community as the customer.
What Makes Local Small Business SEO So Important?
Local SEO for small companies has never been more crucial as more consumers rely on online information to make offline purchases. In fact, according to one survey, 88% of searches for local businesses on a mobile device either call or visit the business within 24 hours. Clearly, the results speak for themselves.
The chance to establish your website as an authority and inform your target audience about your goods and services are two significant reasons to optimize your website for local SEO.
It should be stated that boosting sales is not the only focus of local SEO. It is also well worth the effort of using local SEO techniques to direct visitors to your website with the intention of informing or educating them.
12 Tips for Small Businesses Local SEO
Each of the following pointers can considerably help your local business to grow both online and off. While some local SEO recommendations can be put into practice immediately, others require much longer. Read through these tips and see which feel most easily accomplished. For the more challenging ones, consider consulting with or even hiring a respected SEO agency.
Conduct a Local SEO Audit
It’s crucial to understand your competitive environment and where you are right now. With the help of a local SEO audit, you will discover what your competitors are doing, so you will better understand how to increase your website’s performance.
The best insight and ideas can be found on the first page of SERP results. After all, more than two-thirds (68.1%) of all clicks on the Google Search page go to the top 3 organic search results.
Consider using free tools and analyzers, such as Ubersuggest or SEMrush, as you start your audit. These tools give you a thorough breakdown of the present state of your website and what you can change to improve it.
Next, compare your website to the top five results on each SERP using your target keywords (which you’ll determine in the following phase). Take into account the various content types, website layout, page components, and keyword density.
It’s a good idea to keep a spreadsheet of your findings so that you can easily keep track of and use your changes.
Targeting The Right Keywords
Choosing the right keywords might feel challenging for small businesses, but this is one of the most crucial steps for faster results. When you target high-volume keywords, you know you’ll be lost in the crowd, but lower-volume keywords typically produce meager results. Finding the right balance of search volume and ranking difficulty is a time-consuming tasks.
You actually have an advantage when it comes to keyword targeting as a local company, though. In just a few years, variations of “near me” search terms have climbed by as much as 900 percent (such as “near me today/tonight”) and as little as 150 percent (such as “near me now”). This indicates that targeting a mix of high volume and local keywords may be advantageous.
What do we actually mean?
Say you run a painting business. Naturally, your website includes a lot of popular search terms like “painters,” “house painting,” and “local painting company.” The truth is that using such keywords, you’re unlikely to outperform major national painting companies with large marketing budgets.
So, what is the solution? Your website should be optimized for local keywords.
For example, search your website for every instance of “painting company” You’ll want to be wary of keyword stuffing, but take care to change most of these instances to more specific, local terms, such as:
- “painting companies in [city or zip code]”
- “[city or zip code] residential painters”
- “House painters in [city or zip code]”
You don’t have to target only your specific town and zip code, though. Consider areas within 10 or 15 miles of your business and target those local keywords, too. This is especially good practice if you live in a smaller town outside of a larger city or metro area.
Google My Business Optimization
Google owns and runs the business directory known as Google My Business. The platform’s objective is to give searchers the most reliable business information for nearby establishments.
In light of this, most companies will have a Google My Business listing within a year of opening. As Google learns about your company through its website crawling bots, this happens automatically, but leaving your profile incomplete is not going to cut it.
The issue with an automatic listing is that the data might not be correct or comprehensive. You can only be sure you’re getting the most out of the platform when you claim your listing.
Consider that firms with 4 or more stars on Google My Business outrank those with less than 4 ratings by around 11% if you need one more incentive to claim or establish your own listing. You can’t afford for your tiny company to lose that competitive advantage.
How can your Google My Business listing be fully optimized? Here are a few crucial actions to get you going:
- Your Google My Business listing first needs to be claimed or created.
- Completely fill out your profile information and publish your now optimized profile.
- Include images and videos of your company and products.
- Reply to ratings and reviews in a timely and professional manner.
Your company’s information has to be current and correct. Although weekly maintenance of your listing is crucial for success, you should make sure modifications are performed at least once each month.
Create Local SEO Optimized Content
We previously discussed how to target local keywords without overusing them. The most effective way to accomplish this is to provide local content for your website or blog.
A blog entry, a news release, or a static web page can all be examples of local content. You can utilize these different content kinds to promote local events (past and forthcoming), local products, local business roundups (example: local businesses that support but don’t compete with yours), or even to inform the public about your good or service.
You can target local keywords more readily the more natural material you have on your website. Additionally, local content can assist in establishing your expertise in the industry, which is important for small business owners fighting against bigger corporations.
Here are a few content suggestions that, using the painting business as an example, will naturally target both the audience and the keywords:
- Static web page: Residential Painters in [your state]
- Blog post: The Best Interior Colors For Home in [your state]
- Static web page: Local Painting Services in [your city]
- Blog post: [your state] Climate and the Effect on Exterior Paint
Building Customer Ratings & Reviews
When was the last time you dined out or made a purchase without first reading reviews and ratings? If you’re like 82% of customers who conduct local searches online, the answer is never.
Your business depends on customer reviews. This is particularly applicable for start-up and small businesses.
How do you find consumer reviews online?
First, make sure there is a review section for customers. You’re off to a terrific start if you’ve claimed your Yelp company listing and Google My Business profile.
Second, provide customers who post reviews with a reward. Customers should be informed that they will receive a discount or a free item in exchange for their ratings and reviews, whether by word of mouth or a statement on in-store receipts.
But the task doesn’t end there. All reviews, both favorable and negative, require a response. This gives you a chance to interact with your customers and can inspire confidence in your business among potential clients.
Secure Business Directory Listings
We just mentioned Google My Business and Yelp. There are, in fact, countless online business directories offering many benefits. Because of this, you need to make sure to claim your listing in each one.
Having a Google Business Profile alone is just not enough to increase foot traffic both online and in-person. Keep in mind that 92 percent of search queries with a city and company category get a Yelp page in the top 5 results.
What difference does it make if your listing is in Google’s top 5 search results? On the first page of Google, 80% of click-throughs are from the top 5 results on the SERPs. Nearly 40% of results come from the first organic result alone.
All of this is to indicate that you cannot afford to not claim your company on all directories.
Thankfully, business directories make claiming your listings simple. For instance, you may start the process of claiming your Yelp business page by verifying the details of your company.
Another solution can be using a service like Yext that offers a package with management of listings in some of the top directories. This is a paid solution, but certainly one of the fastest and easiest.
Consider using Yellow Pages, Bing, Yahoo, and Facebook as additional company directories.
Small business local SEO extends beyond just content and business listings. Page structure is a frequently neglected component.
Title tags, headers, meta descriptions, and URLs all form part of the page structure. When implemented properly, these can strengthen your content even more and raise your SERP ranks.
You might be wondering how much of an effect these factors will have on your rankings. The fact is that you can gain a competitive advantage by using strategies that your rivals might not be using.
Which page structure components do small businesses seem to miss the most? Here are the primary SEO elements’ usage rates by small business owners, from highest to lowest:
- H1: 68 percent
- Title tag: 99 percent
- Meta description: 72 percent
- Robots.txt: 88 percent
- Sitemap.xml: 73 percent
- Schema.org: 44 percent
The title tag, meta description, and H1 are the easiest to modify. On a well-structured website, however, robots.txt, sitemap.xml, and schema.org all have a purpose.
You cannot afford to skip having a mobile-friendly website given that 82 percent of smartphone users conduct “near me” searches. Mobile responsiveness is the ability for a site to automatically adjust to the screen it is being viewed from. Considering all the different types of devices; phones, tablets, monitor sizes, it is no wonder this matters.
The harsh truth is that local searchers are likely tol abandon your site and consider one of your competitors if it isn’t mobile-friendly.
So, a mobile-friendly website is… what?
Every website that is optimized for mobile should have these four fundamental components.
- All pages display responsively to the device screen
- All fonts are readable
- All text is properly formatted
- All media is optimized
Keep in mind that you must create mobile-friendly content in addition to optimizing a mobile-friendly website. The advantage of mobile-friendly material is that desktop readers may view it as well.
So what does that mean? Consider these things while building out your site with content.
- Write clear and concise paragraphs
- Leave plenty of space between paragraphs
- Use Relevant subheadings
- Include a clear summary
- Include applicable images
- Use easy to digest lists
- Use appropriate styling (i.e. bold, italics, underlines)
The thought of developing a mobile-friendly website can be intimidating if you’re not a web developer. The majority of website platforms, which is fantastic news, include mobile-friendly components in their themes and overlays, too. Watch for the word “responsive” to indicate the presence of such alternatives.
Use Social Media
It’s not just major corporations and celebrities who use social media. Social media use can be advantageous for a local business page as well.
More specifically, a local company page can be an excellent location to inform clients of any changes, sales, or events that have occurred (e.g., hours of operation). Despite having a website, a social media profile functions more like a “live” representation of your company.
Local business pages may be of most help to Facebook users. After all, 2/3 of Facebook users worldwide who were polled said they visit a local business’ Page at least once each week. But other social media sites like Instagram and TikTok can also provide your company a competitive edge.
Relationship development, trend tracking and analysis, and social commerce are a few advantages of keeping social media presence for your small business.
The following are some tips for small businesses using social media:
- Based on features and your target market, choose the platforms that are best for your business.
- Post high-quality articles frequently.
- Tools for automation and scheduling can be used to test and raise engagement.
- Take part in gatherings and events held nearby.
- Make buying your goods and services online simple for customers.
Social media may or may not account for a sizable portion of your revenue and traffic, depending on your industry and target market. In any case, small businesses online must have a strong social media presence.
Engage in neighborhood business events
Your company can expand in a number of ways by taking part in area business events, particularly those with a strong social media presence. They provide you with a chance to sell your company while also providing a quick approach to learn more about the people you want to reach and the area you want to service.
Would it surprise you to find that you can do a lot offline to boost the local SEO of your website? You can arrange your own event as a small business, or you can sponsor and participate in bigger community activities. A self-hosted event would probably bring in more money, but for tighter budgets, a community event would be the best option.
Use Google Ads
Small businesses typically have tight budgets. It’s crucial that you make informed investments in the expansion of your online business. Where do you want to place your bets? Google Ads is a good place to start for most businesses.
With the help of Google Ads, a platform for paid advertising, you can dominate the SERPs.
You might believe that you could never compete with large corporations. One approach to get around this is to emphasize your local status by concentrating on local audiences and keywords. For instance, target “Paint your house in [your city or zip code]” rather than “House Painting.”
How can we be sure that this will work? According to Think with Google, 67 percent of smartphone users and 72 percent of users of computers or tablets prefer ads that are tailored to their location. Give users what they want because they want to find the options that are closest to them.
It’s true that using Google Ads for the first time might be overwhelming, but fortunately, you have the choice to pay an advertising company to assist you in setting up and managing your account and keywords. But if you wish to go it alone, take these critical actions:
- Perform keyword research, focusing on both the terms you want to target and the ones you want to omit from your ads (negative keywords).
- Choose your ad groups’ organizational structure: Ad campaigns are organized into “ad groups” according to a common factor, such as target audience, target keyword, or even region. Determine the composition of your groups so that you can start developing your campaigns.
- Start your first campaign. A campaign encompasses a bigger target demographic than an ad group does. Using the ad groups “home plumber in Phoenix” and “Residential Drain Cleaning in Phoenix,” for instance, you could create a “Residential Plumbing” campaign. Here, you will set the campaign-level objectives and preferences.
- Create an ad. There are various ad types in Google Ads. Although your ad groups can contain many ad types, a text ad is a nice place to start. However, it’s crucial to experiment to see what works best for your audience.
It’s important to remember that your campaigns must be continuously monitored and improved for success.
Summarizing Your Local Small Business SEO
You understand as a small business owner that increasing sales requires perseverance and hard effort. The same is generally true for local SEO. Although SEO can require patience and time, it can be profitable in the long term.
Even the tiniest businesses can gain from using the 12 local SEO tips mentioned above. You can start making adjustments now to reap the rewards later on, whether it’s through paid advertising, social media marketing, or keyword research.