Search engine optimization is just as important for small businesses as it is for large corporations. By using effective local small business SEO strategies, your company can level the playing field, and compete with even the largest companies in your area.
But, what are the best local SEO strategies for small businesses?
According to Darren Shaw at Whitespark and Moz in their results from a study on The State of Local Search whose data comes from surveying nearly 1500 local search professionals the following are the search engine optimization strategies and tactics your local business needs to focus on in 2019:
1. Google My Business
One of the first things you’ll need to do is claim and verify your Google business listing.
We’ve written extensively about the importance of your GMB listing, including how to get verified and how to take advantage of all the features available in your Google listing. And the good news is, other experts in the local online marketing industry agree too. In fact, Google My Business local search factors increased by 32% in 2018 over what they were in 2017.
2. Treat online reviews seriously
Online reviews provide useful recommendations for people searching for a specific product or service.
As much as possible, you should encourage your customers to write positive reviews of your company. Furthermore, if you receive any bad reviews, you should take them seriously and address any issues which are brought up by unsatisfied customers.
Responding to reviews, both good and bad, will demonstrate to potential customers that you are a caring business and that you take your clients’ comments to heart.
3. Encourage backlinks
Even having a few links from high authority, trustworthy sources can drive your rankings up. Links from other reputable companies tell Google that your service or product is legitimate and has value to others, so it’s worth providing your information to Internet searchers.
It takes a lot of hard work to get links to your content. The two ways are creating high-quality content that others want to link to, and link outreach efforts which many small businesses don’t have the resources to do in-house.
4. Optimize on-page keywords and localizations
While the survey results highlight how important GMB and reviews are becoming, it’s still always advisable to employ on-page SEO tactics.
That includes the usage of keywords and references to local landmarks, businesses, and other distinctive features which make the local area stand out.
Your titles and meta descriptions should also include these keywords and references, to help create a connection with what consumers in your service area are searching for.
5. Citations are still invaluable
Local citations used to be one of the most important local search factors. According to the Moz study, this is no longer the case. However, the survey data does still point to local citations as a foundational step. And experts, as well as the professionals here at BizIQ, all agree they are still essential and valuable.
Google uses your citations to determine the prominence of your business. That’s why you still need to be listed on all the relevant and main directories in your area and your industry.
Citations are invaluable in achieving higher search rankings because they serve a function similar to backlinks – they demonstrate to others that your business is reputable and trustworthy.
Local SEO is more than keywords
As you can see, there’s a lot more to local SEO than just a few keywords in your town.
And while the essential local search factors may shift in importance, the 5 key things you still need to focus on are your GMB listing, responding to reviews, gaining backlinks, those on-page keywords, and good old-fashioned citations. By doing that, you’ll be well on your way to dominating local search results in your industry.
Want more information on local SEO and online marketing?
Subscribe to the BizIQ blog for more smart local online marketing tips, all focused on small businesses and conveniently delivered straight to your inbox.