As businesses worldwide continue to realize the importance of taking their services online and establish themselves as strong players in the online environment, the competition levels are increasing by the day. This said, small businesses are finding it hard to compete with corporate giants in the search engine rankings. This is one of the major reasons why, if you have a small business, you must focus on improving your local rankings as much as you can.
Local SEO Tips For Small Businesses
In this article, we will discuss a few local SEO points that every small business should pay attention to in case they are looking for bettering their position in the local search results.
Here’s everything that we will discuss today –
- Claim your Google My Business Account.
- Local link building.
- Managing customer reviews.
- Ensuring a mobile-friendly website.
- Add local business structured schema (markup) to the website.
1. Claim your Google My Business Account
This is the first step in every local SEO process. Before executing your local SEO strategies, you need to create a profile on Google My Business and claim your account to show up in Google Maps. It is imperative to have a GMB listing if you want to show up in a local search.
Claiming your GMB listing will not cost anything, the process is free!
Make sure to be consistent with your NAP (Business Name, Address, Phone Number) information that you put in your GMB account and on your website. Once you enter all the basic information about your business, you can begin to optimize it. There is no denying the important role that keywords play here. Do not forget to add your primary and secondary keywords to your GMB account. Add good quality images and media files of your business, showing the insides of your physical store, the products, and services, and make sure to optimize them using keywords.
2. Local link building
Similar to the importance that link building holds in regular SEO, the same is the case with local SEO. To show up in local search, you need to work on establishing a robust local authority in your niche area – this will indirectly help you to rank higher in traditional SEO as well. Links are an essential part of every SEO strategy, and their importance is not decreased when switching from conventional SEO to local SEO. When you produce good, informative content and publish them on good-authority websites asking them to link back to your website, you establish trust and credibility.
3. Managing customer reviews
Customer reviews are an extended version of word-of-mouth marketing, and it can do wonders for your small business if you manage to keep these reviews genuine, adhering to the negative reviews in the most polite way possible. The number and frequency of reviews that you have, the ratio of positive and negative reviews, how many reviews mention your primary and secondary targeted keywords, how many of them use images – Google takes all of this into consideration in determining your position in the search.
4. Ensuring a mobile-friendly website
This goes without saying – it is a mobile-first world. With the massive penetration of the smartphone industry over the past decade, Google is following a mobile-first approach because maximum Google searches happen via mobile devices. This said, your website requires a mobile-friendly design, focusing on a seamless user experience. Keep a regular check on your website’s loading speed and ensure that it does not take more than 3 seconds to load. You can use online free tools like Google’s PageSpeed Insights.
5. Add local business structured schema (markup) to the website
You must have noticed that when you go to Google and enter your query, you are often presented by the information you are looking for right there in the Google results, without you having to click on any website link. For example, if you are searching for the opening and closing hours of Ikea, you may find the store hours displayed in the search results. You are likely to see additional information like address, contact details, and store images.
Ask this – how does Google get and display this information? This is via Schema (Or Schema Markup or Structured Data).
Adding schema information to your website’s search results makes a crucial element in determining your overall website rankings in search results.
As mentioned above, small businesses often find it difficult to compete with giants in their niche area in grabbing a spot on the first page of the search results. However, considering the importance of having a solid online presence, you cannot invest in SEO too. So how do you ensure your website’s visibility in search? This is where local SEO comes to the rescue. However, local SEO is not as convenient and easy it seems. So irrespective of what your objectives are, you must partner with a professional SEO Company to make sure that your prospective clients can see you and do business with you.