Local SEO Tips for Your Small Business
Let’s be honest, most small business owners are intimidated by online marketing. At the very least, you might feel it does not apply to your business, because you deal with a local audience.
However, SEO (or search engine optimization) is not just for businesses that do most of their sales online. In fact, local SEO has a very specific set of benefits that are exclusively available to small businesses… but only those who choose to take advantage of all that the web has to offer.
YellowPages.com vs. The Yellow Pages
These days, phone books are used for nothing other than balancing coffee tables. Yet customers still need to find local service providers.
When somebody uses Google (whether it be on a computer or smart phone) to look for “your service” in “your area”, it is surprisingly easy for your business to show up as the answer.
Here are a few ways to do it:
Claim Your Online Directory Listings.
Directories of local business listings dominate the top of search results, and are more likely to be viewed than scrolling to the website listings (in positions 5-10) so claiming your listing on each of the following directories will jumpstart the online visibility for your small business.
- Google+ Local (formerly Google Places)
- Bing Local
- Yahoo Local
- Merchant Circle
Build Links With Other Websites That Already Have Local Authority.
Link building is beneficial to your local SEO, but it also helps your brand get targeted exposure to a local audience.
Start with any groups or organizations that you are a member of. For example, most Chambers of Commerce offer a directory of members published online, including a link to the website for each member. Be sure to include a reciprocal link back to any local groups that you belong to.
Make Sure Your Website is Worth Visiting. (More Than Once.)
Never, ever, ever allow your small business website to go stale! Static websites may be low maintenance, but there is nothing worth returning to.
Try adding a Blog to publish relevant articles, news, events, or special offers. You may also build an email subscription list this way, which adds even more marketing benefits. The bottom line is to keep your customers engages and get potential new customers interested, even if they aren’t ready to buy today.
One point is worth repeating. After you add a “dynamic” section to your website… keep it fresh! You don’t have to publish a new article every day. You don’t even have to publish every week. Yet the more you publish, the more you will “viewed” (by search engines) as an active website. (And by people as an active business!)
Choose Your Keywords Wisely.
When it comes to local SEO, demographic region is as important as service based keywords. Include large metropolitan areas nearby, zip codes, and other phrases that a local resident would use to narrow their search to local results only.
Use Your Keywords Wisely.
For those that don’t give much thought to SEO, a common mistake is to only optimize the meta tags on the home page of your website. Really, each individual web page should have an optimized title, description, and header based on the most relevant keyword.