In today’s world, it is important for all small businesses to make sure they have a strong online presence. While there is still a place for a well-rounded marketing strategy, there is nothing more important than digital marketing when it comes to a comprehensive advertising campaign. One of the most important parts of running a strong marketing campaign is something called search engine optimization, which is usually shortened to SEO. Simply put, this is the practice of making sure that a website has been designed to be as attractive as possible to search engines. Given that this is a rapidly growing field, there are numerous niches that have developed. One example is called local SEO.
What are the Benefits of Local SEO for Small Business?
For those who might not know, local SEO is the term used to describe a SEO campaign that is designed to focus on making sure that websites for small businesses rank well for searches that are conducted within a certain geographic area. Remember that the job of a search engine is to provide the user with results that have been tailored to help them answer their question or search. Therefore, if a user is conducting a search that is designed to pull up results in a certain geographic area, the search engine wants to deliver. Some of the queues that trigger a search engine to produce localized results include:
- Searches that include the phrase, “near me”
- Searches that have street names, town names, or city names
- Searches that include zip codes
If someone enters a search using any of these triggers, then the search engine is going to track the user’s IP address and pull up results that are close to their location. Therefore, businesses that operate in this area will want to rank well for nearby searches. There are a number of benefits that come from running an SEO campaign to improve listings for local searches. These include:
- Increased Web Traffic: One of the most important benefits of running a strong local SEO campaign is that small businesses are going to see an increase in localized web traffic. The more people visit a website, the more leads are generated. This will lead to more conversions and more revenue.
- Compete with Other Businesses: Some businesses may feel like they do not have a shot at competing with large corporations. This is only partially true. In reality, small businesses can absolutely compete effectively with large corporations when it comes to localized searches. It is important to orchestrate a strong SEO strategy that will put the business on the map.
- Customer Retention: Finally, localized SEO can also help businesses with customer retention. While customer acquisition is important, customer retention is just as important. With a strong SEO campaign, businesses will be able to win repeat customers because they will consistently place themselves at the top of localized search rankings. This is how small businesses can grow.
These are just a few of the most important benefits that small businesses will enjoy when they run a strong SEO campaign. Of course, in order to run a strong campaign, small businesses need to know what they are doing. There are a few key tips that all small business owners need to keep in mind.
9 Local SEO Tips for Beginners
When it comes to running a strong campaign, everyone has to start from somewhere. There are a few tips that all beginners need to note. These include:
- Claim Your Business Listing: If you want to get started with local SEO, then the first step is to make sure that you claim your business listing. The first step is to go to Google My Business and look at the listing for your business in the directory. Make sure that you claim your business listing so that you are in control of what is posted on that listing. That way, you can make sure that it is as accurate as possible. This listing is going to put you on the map.
- Add Location Pages for Your Business: If you have a business that operates multiple locations in various towns and cities, that is great! At the same time, if you want to rank well for all of these locations, then you need to create a location page for each of these brick and mortar locations. This means creating a page, adding a name, address, phone number, and hours to each listing. This is going to help your SEO campaign for each one of these locations.
- Focus on Your NAP Information: One of the first steps that you need to take when you are looking to run a strong campaign is to focus on your NAP information and make sure that this is consistent across all online directories. NAP stands for name, address, and phone number. This is how search engines are going to pin your business down on the map and list it in the right searches. There are numerous online directories out there but some of the most popular are Google My Business, Apple Maps, Yelp, and Trip Advisor. Make sure that your information is correct in all of these listings.
- Update Your Google My Business Profile Regularly: Once you have claimed your listing, it is time to fill it out. Make sure that you include your NAP information and tack your hours on to this listing as well. There is a spot for a picture, so make sure that you post a high-quality image as well. If you are worried that the image looks a bit blurry or is hurting your response time, consider compressing the image first before uploading it.
- Ask For Reviews: Similar to a general SEO campaign, an SEO campaign is going to live and die by reviews as well. Therefore, take the time to ask for reviews from your customers. This is going to be one of the most important factors when it comes to ranking your business in localized searches. Think about incentivizing first-time customers to leave a review by entering them into a drawing or providing them with a discount. The more positive reviews you have, the better.
- Create Content Locally: While your address is a nice start, search engines are going to want to make sure that you are actually invested in the nearby area. Think about using a blog to post news articles on events that take place in the area. Or, post about some of the top locations in the area. When search engines know that you are invested in the area, they are more likely to rank you higher. This is going to go a long way in an SEO campaign.
- Local Keywords Vary: Even though you are running a localized campaign, keywords are still going to matter. The keywords in your area might be different from keywords that are located in another area. Therefore, use a keyword planning tool to figure out which keywords matter most in your area. There are plenty of free tools out there that can help a small business that might have a tight budget when it comes to digital marketing. You want to find keywords that don’t have a lot of competition so that you can make an impression on the market quickly.
- Focus on Backlinks: Once you have a profile set up and your NAP information is verified, the next step is to make sure that your business is seen as an authority in the field. You do this by generating backlinks to your site. Think about the partners your business needs to operate. Go to these businesses and see if they would be willing to do a backlink swap. When other businesses provide backlinks to your business, search engines are going to see your business as an authority in the field. As a result, you are going to rank higher. Build a strong backlink network.
- Use Social Media: Finally, one of the most important tips that all small businesses need to follow is that they need to use social media to drive traffic to their website. Social media is a great way to post links to your website that visitors can use to find you. Then, once search engines see that your website is generating a lot of traffic, they are going to improve your ranking and increase your visibility. Use social media to create a feedback loop with your website.
These are just a few of the top tips to get a small business off the ground. When it comes to accelerating a campaign, there are a few additional tips that everyone has to follow.
4 Tips to Accelerate Your Local SEO Campaign
If you have followed these beginner tips to get your campaign off the ground, it is time to optimize it. There are numerous tips that you can follow to take your local SEO campaign to new heights as well. Some of the top tips include:
- Voice Searches Are Coming: When you are looking for keywords, you probably look to eliminate small words such as prepositions. This is because this is how people type. Today, people are starting to use their voices more often to conduct localized searches. People speak in different ways, meaning that their searches are going to be different as well. Think about optimizing your campaign for voice searches as well.
- Versatility Is Key: There are numerous ways that people are going to access your website. Some people are going to use desktop computers while others might use tablets or other mobile devices. You have to make sure that your website is responsive on all of these platforms. This will ensure that everyone is able to access your website.
- Create Dedicated Pages for Products and Services: You might think that the best way to list your products and services is to put them all on the same page. This is not the case. Instead, every product and service that you offer has to have its own page. If you lump everything onto one page, then search engines are not going to see your brand as an authority in one specific area. This hurts your ranking. Instead, spread them out.
- Write on Local News Stories: If you really want to make an impression in the localized market, then you have to pay attention to the area. If you publish stories on news events that take place in your area, this is going to enhance your localized ranking. If there is an event happening, write about it. Search engines will see that you are invested in the area and will improve your ranking.
If you are able to put these tips to work, then you will stay ahead of your competition. It is important to note that SEO is not a destination but more of a journey. Therefore, you need to look at it as a maintenance task for your business. This is where cost is going to play a role.
How Much do Agencies Charge to Do Local SEO?
If you are running a small business, then you want to know how much you should spend on digital marketing. The answer is that it depends. Some of the key tips to remember include:
- You need to view local SEO as a maintenance task. Once your business is at the top of the list, it needs to stay there. You should always be trying to optimize your business rankings and trained professionals can help.
- The actual price range of a campaign can vary widely. A good range is between $300 and $2,000 per month depending on the exact needs of your business.
- While it is possible to find a service for less than $100 per month, this is usually just a trial offer. Furthermore, people get what they pay for.
- Always take a look at the experience of the professionals and see if they have experience working in a specific industry.
While every business has a budget, it is important to remember that if a local SEO campaign is executed well, this is going to significantly increase leads, conversions, and revenue. Therefore, all businesses need to take steps to make sure they have a strong local presence. This is where local SEO can help.