What is Local Small Business SEO?
Local Small Business SEO (search engine optimisation) has the basic end goal of making your business more attractive and accessible to search engines. This in turn helps you get your website in front of your potential customers.
As Google puts increasing emphasis on local search and mobile friendly websites it’s more important than ever to get the basics right.
This article will cover some quick and easy fixes that can help your business to rank and capture local searchers. Best of all you can implement these yourself.
Ideal SEO Results:
When you type in a search for a local service, you may recognise the results page below.
This is the ‘Google Snack Pack.’ It’s also called the ‘Local Pack,’ ‘3 Pack,’ ‘Map Pack’ or other names, dependent on the number of results or trends at the time.
Although this can sometimes be positioned just below the paid ads at the top of the search results page it’s the ideal place to be for a local business.
These positions are trusted and promoted by Google. The aim is to get there and to stay there.
Getting Started with Local SEO
SEO at any level should always be about providing the best overall user experience. Delivering fresh, valuable and informative content is always the most important ranking factor.
Let’s look at some other quick tactics for boosting your search engine rankings
Google My Business (GMB) Listing
Getting your GMB claimed and optimised should be your number one priority. If you have a new brochure site it’s an ideal free promotional tool. This is a massive advantage for helping you break into the Snack Pack and one of the most powerful ranking factors for local small business SEO.
Make sure to optimise your listing as much as possible and be proud to showcase your business.
The information you include will help your business to appear for location-based searches – even those without a geo-modifier. The keywords you use in your business title will also start to have a positive influence.
On Page SEO Signals
Your website content is the obvious place to promote your services. To help things along you can make small but powerful changes quickly and easily.
The successful use of keywords and where you use them is a big ranking factor.
Put yourself in the shoes of your ideal customer and think about what their search query would be to find your site. These can be single words or phrases that you can then work into your website copy.
A great start is to work along the ‘Service in Location’ (SiL) search intent:
Put simply, that means that someone potentially searches for:
Plumber in Preston
Sign Maker in Blackpool
These are the simple yet laser targeted keywords that your business can thrive on.
A lot of searchers start with “trust terms” too so words such as, reliable and trustworthy are worth experimenting with.
Never stuff your website with keywords though and always ensure that your content is easy to read and well presented.
Make sure your contact details are clear and accessible. This may seem like obvious advice bit it’s surprising how many websites neglect this. If a potential customer has to start looking for your contact details they’ll probably stop searching before they find them.
Remember to incorporate accurate NAP (Name, address, phone number) information to keep things consistent. Embedding a Google map on your site can help you be found both by car and on foot so make sure you add yours.
A clear and concise Call to Action (CTA) can encourage your website visitors to click through to where you want them to be. Studies have shown that CTAs are incredibly successful nudges so experiment with the ones that work best for you.
Slightly technical stuff:
Under the hood of your website you should also apply these KW rules for maximum effect:
- Keyword in the H1 tags (and secondary KWs can be used in H2 etc)
- Keywords in title tag
- Keyword in the page URL
- Short URLs
- Enticing meta descriptions to encourage click throughs
Citations (don’t be scared) are basically listings on pages such as directories and listing that confirm and strengthen the existence of your brand. They are easy to set up and can help with your link building even if you have zero technical skills.
This is an important time to re-enforce how important it is to have your NAP information accurate and consistent. If your citations include inconsistent data then this will confuse the search engines. You need to be 100% on the ball.
It’s easy enough to find some local links and directories with our friend Google..
Completing these can have a positive effect on your link building and local term rankings. There will be free and paid options available, but the free listings are great to get you started.
(You don’t have to go through all 43 million results, but you get the idea!)
Reviews and Testimonials
Online reviews are now as trustworthy as personal recommendations. Getting reviews and being responsive to them is an important part of your brand and online reputation management.
Nobody expects any company to be 100% perfect all the time but make sure you respond to negative comments quickly. A professional, transparent response can often be a successful way of dealing with bad reviews.
Link Building with no Technical Knowledge
Any SEO article worth reading will always mention link building. This can be a daunting task, especially if you’re not the most technically minded, but there are basic ways to get started without getting buried in code!
We’ve already mentioned how local business directory citations can help, so you’re off to a good start. Partnering with other local businesses and charities can often lead to online mentions and sponsoring community events and initiatives is often a great way to attract links too.
Don’t be shy of contacting local press and journalists. Fostering good relationship early on can have tremendous long-term advantages for your business.
Share your news and knowledge on your blog. Adding informative, fun and relevant content, even if it’s only once or twice every couple of weeks, will let Google know that you’re an active blog and will also attract links and shares.
Successful SEO is never a quick fix but making small changes can have long lasting benefits.
There are a lot more technical aspects to local small business SEO, but hopefully you can quickly start to action some of the tips we’ve talked about here and boost your site rankings.