Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is a great way to make your business more visible online, and for local small businesses, it can be especially effective, allowing you to compete with larger competitors. With the right strategy, you can attract more customers and increase your sales.
Local optimization should be a priority for your business. To help you in your efforts, here are some local SEO tips for small business owners:
1. Update Your Accounts in Google and Bing Business
In order to optimize your business for local search, there are two places where you must have profiles: Google My Business (GMB) and Bing Places. Here you can provide your customers with important information such as your website, location, business hours, available parking, and anything else they might need to know. In recent times, these profiles have allowed businesses to inform customers about COVID-19 restrictions and policies, curbside pickup, and more.
Once you set up your account, be sure to update it as necessary, ensuring that operating hours are kept current, answering customer questions, and making use of the frequent additions and updates as they are released. Also, be sure to audit the account regularly to see if your GMB or Bing Places account needs revising.
While these two are particularly important, don’t overlook other local business profiles, such as Yelp. Making yourself available on multiple platforms will only increase your visibility.
2. Make Sure You Show Up in Local Search
You don’t need to be an expert in SEO to ensure that you appear in local searches. You can begin by letting crawlers know that you are local. You should have a phone number with your market’s area code and your website should clearly indicate not only the name of the business but also the phone number and address.
You can also find other ways to indicate your location in your content. This will give you localized relevancy in the eyes of crawlers and any potential users who visit your site.
3. Target Local Keywords
Using the right keywords is important for everyone, but to help search engines understand your business and who you are, it’s a must. This will let their crawlers know that you are a small business and where you are located. Using terms like “pet food stores near me” also helps with local SEO.
4. Add Local Terms to Your Descriptions and Meta Titles
Your website may have options that you can take advantage of to make yourself more visible. For example, you may have tabs that you can fill with SEO information. You should also be using the right keywords for your meta titles and meta descriptions, which can tell search engines what they need to know about your site.
5. Connect With Other Local Businesses
Relevant links are an important part of SEO. Having such links leading to and from your site provides search engines with signs of quality and relevancy for your site. Blogs on your site might point to other local businesses or blogs, or you might connect with a local newspaper and have them cover an event at your business, such as a product launch. You may also wish to become more engaged with the local community by sponsoring events that can link back to your site.
Be sure to fix any broken links on your website, such as those leading to external pages that are no longer live, or your own internal pages that have changed or relocated.
6. Be Aware of User Behaviour
Real-world events and trends impact users and can result in altered behaviour. We need to look no further than the COVID-19 pandemic, which resulted in searches for terms like “home improvement” increasing dramatically. As lives were affected and user behaviours changed, so too did their searches.
Google regularly provides insight into user behaviour with reports that you can use to gain a better understanding of your target audience. This can be used to anticipate their needs and desires.
It’s important to remember that even as you adjust the technical side of things on your website, it is ultimately all in service of the consumer. The most important thing that you can do is find a way to connect with your audience, which is what SEO is all about.
By providing high-quality and relevant information with a focus on your local clients, you can gain recognition in the search engines. Offering value and an excellent customer experience will help you get noticed.
Christian is a British-born entrepreneur and founder of Marwick. For over 19 years, Christian has successfully helped businesses excel in digital marketing. Founded in 2012, Marwick has grown from a start-up to the 11th Fastest Growing Company in Canada in 2020 and expanded into the UK in 2019.