By Andrew Raso
The most common predicament of small businesses while competing with big brands is their limited budget. This is the reason that local SEO is considered as a powerful marketing tool by small businesses. Local SEO allows small businesses to compete with big brands in today’s highly competitive market. While it is highly economical, local SEO also helps small businesses in generating leads.
In this article, we have included a comprehensive non-technical local SEO guide for small business owners. Keep on reading to find out more about it.
What is Local SEO?
Local SEO is the action of optimizing the online presence of a business to generate a greater number of leads and attract more customers to the business. The searches take place on search engines such as Google, Yahoo, Bing, etc. Google has around 87% of market share, hence one can say that most of the leads come from Google.
Why Do Small Business Owners Need Local SEO?
There are several reasons why small businesses need local SEO. Below we have listed the top 5 reasons why a small business needs local SEO in their marketing plan:
- It helps the small business owners in targeting a local audience.
- Local SEO gives a higher ROI than other forms of online marketing efforts.
- It also adds authenticity to the business. When a business is listed on Google Maps or appears in a local search, the prospective clients would consider the business to be more authentic.
- Having local SEO is important for searches on mobile, as it helps in building local connections and partners.
Basic SEO Terms that a Small Business Needs to Know
Following is a glossary of the basic SEO terms that one needs to know for making a website rank higher.
- Organic search: An organic search is when a user types a phrase or word in a search engine and then clicks on a non-sponsored link. A search engine can return two kinds of information: paid search results or organic search results. A website is more likely to be seen if it ranks higher in organic search.
- Google Answer Box: The answer box on Google is a small box that has an excerpt from the page displayed on the organic search results. It is also called rich or featured snippets. These snippets generally answer a question or share basic information related to a topic that you might find useful. Google has a separate link for the website in this snippet box on the first page of the search result in addition to the snippet.
- Keyword: Keywords are the words or short phrases that show the search engine what a website is all about. When a user performs a search, the engine looks for websites that contain keywords relevant to the search. Google has also become smart enough to match your search intent, if relevant.
- Search query: Search query is what you type in the search box. Based on the search query, Google displays search results.
- HTML Tags: HTML tells the browsers how a website is to be displayed. HTML tags help in dividing the page into different parts that are formatted differently. From the perspective of SEO marketing, the most important tags are title tags, headers, and meta descriptions.
- External and internal links: These are the clickable part of the text that sends a user to another web page. This part of the text is known as anchor text. Links are particularly useful for SEO.
The Non-Technical Guide to Improve Local SEO
It is important for a business, especially a small business, to optimize its website with local SEO. Below are some tips that can help a business in improving its local SEO.
1. Optimize your Google Business Info
For the listing to appear in the local search results Google Search and Google Maps, one needs to create a listing on Google My Business and keep the information up-to-date. A business should also ensure the following:
- Fill complete information
- Verify the business location(s)
- Update the accurate working hours
- Include photos
- Respond and manage reviews
2. Embed Google Maps in Your Website
Embedding a Google Maps API can help you in creating an interactive map or street panorama on the website. This process requires a simple HTTP request on your part. Including Google Maps enhances the trust of the customer on your business.
3. Get On-Page SEO Right
To rank higher on local search results, one needs to get the on-page SEO right. On-page SEO is affected by two factors:
- The product or service that you offer
- The locations that you serve
4. Get Reviews
The reviews about a website can affect the local ranking of a website. Having good reviews can help the business to stand out and helps in attracting potential customers. Below are some ways to entice users:
- Include links to review on the website
- Create links to review on the email signature
- Get a business card made with the review site information
- Ask happy clients to give reviews
5. Create Local Citations (NAP)
A local citation is the online mention of the name, address and phone number of a business. Search engines consider local citations to find out the relevancy and authority of a business. They also help the business to build relevance on search engines.
The top local citation sites are Apple Maps, facebook.com, yahoo.com, Google My Business, yelp.com, etc. Local citations help in local SEO and also help in spreading awareness about the business.
6. Distribute Locally-Focused Content to Build Links
Backlinks also play a crucial role in the local ranking of the website. High-quality backlinks would help the business in building prominence on search engines.
Content writing is the best way to build and earn backlinks. Creating locally useful content and distributing it on different channels can help your website in reaching a huge local target audience. Following are some ways to create local and authentic content:
- Reach out to local media to get featured in stories
- Write guest posts on locally-focused blogs
- Partner with some local influencers
- Invest in local events
7. Integrate Social Media
Social media and SEO are two crucial marketing techniques. Combining them would get you some amazing results. Different social media platforms have a huge number of active users. This means that one can meet the existing as well as new prospects there. It is also a great tool for growing the number of followers and spreading awareness about the products or services that you offer.
Local SEO is important for small businesses. Local SEO efforts should target building relevance on search engines. Now that you know how local SEO can help the small business owners, you can better manage its online presence, and build up your client base. Adding to this your marketing team will not only boost your local SEO but also increase your organic search engine rankings for your site and over your competitors.
Very good read Andrew. I think that many small business owners still don’t know a lot about Search Engines and their relevancy. Altough I can see an increase it is still a small precentage.
Which is a shame. We just need to keep spreading the word.