Small business owners face all kinds of advice from marketing “gurus” every day regarding how to sell products or services to local customers. There’s no “one-size-fits-all” answer to this, but it starts with local SEO.
For small businesses, local SEO is essential because it puts your business in front of your customers and takes them right to your location. With 72% of local searches leading customers to a store within five miles, the importance of SEO for small businesses is clear.
What is local SEO?
Local SEO is a way to optimize your website to help customers in your area find you. And it works. In fact, 80% of consumers turn to popular search engines, such as Google, for this very reason: to look up contact information for nearby businesses just like yours.
As a small business, local SEO is valuable because it gives your potential customers access to your physical address, hours, and more at their fingertips. What better way is there to help customers find you than to guide them right to your store? (Spoiler alert: there isn’t.)
And this is what local SEO is for small businesses: a tool to bring customers to you by way of optimizing your site for local keywords and phrases such as:
- [Service] in [Your City]
- [Service] in [Your State]
- [Your City] [Service]
- Your State] [Service]
- [Service] Near Me
How should you use local SEO for your small business?
You should consider local SEO for your small business if your target audience is in your area. For instance, we provide Minnesota SEO services, so throughout our site, you’ll notice mentions of this keyword and others like it to attract potential clients in the state.
So, what is the goal of SEO, and how do you take it to the next level? Make sure you have your bases covered.
Step #1: Submit your website to local business directories.
The last time you traveled, think about how many times you Googled “best steakhouse in [City]” or “Italian food near me.” What comes up at the top of Google? A list of restaurants in your area.
If you click on the restaurant name, you’ll notice it populates contact information on the right-hand side of the page.
That is a Google My Business (GMB) profile. It’s a free local business directory that helps customers find you with a simple search. Some other local business directories to apply to are Yelp, YellowPages, and TripAdvisor.
Step #2: Audit your website for local search and keyword placement.
Successful local SEO for small businesses starts with website content. Jot down where you include your contact information, the names of the product or service pages, and how many times you see your city name used on your website.
Where should you put your contact information?
According to Yoast, you should list your contact information (full address, phone number, and hours--if applicable) in the header, footer, and a "contact us" page to make it easier for local customers to find your store.
Verify that the details are identical to what you added to GMB, and don’t forget to add driving directions or a Mapquest plugin. As a small business that relies on foot traffic for sales, this is essential.
How should you handle your product or service pages?
Small businesses should have a page for each type of product or service they offer. You’ll notice that Agency Jet has a Services page in our main menu with submenus for our most popular services, including search engine optimization, digital advertising, web development, social media marketing, and analytics and reporting.
Each of these services includes keywords that can help customers find us when they search for them online. Therefore, we’ve made individual pages for them with an abundance of content to improve our ranking in the search engines.
In the Search Engine Optimization page, we discuss local SEO for small businesses, for example. We even go as far as to show how local SEO works and results customers can expect to improve your experience with us.
Your service pages should always:
- Explain features and benefits in words the average person can understand
- Include an offer and call-to-action (CTA)
What keywords should you use?
Before outlining your content, you’ll want to do some keyword research. You can use keyword tools, such as KWFinder, to pinpoint top-ranking keywords in your industry.
But don’t underestimate the power of Google.
You can start your keyword research by typing in a word, phrase, or query, such as, “Why is local SEO important?”
Save the links for the top three search results in that category to see the types of content people are looking for. Then, notice the “people also ask” section, where you can see related questions potential customers may be wondering. This is important because you can create your content around these topics.
Now, when choosing keywords, you’ll want to scroll to the bottom of the page to the “searches related to [topic].” In SEO, you have a primary keyword (usually a specific phrase, also known as a long-tail keyword) and secondary keywords.
To come up with your secondary keywords, draw from the list at the bottom of the search results. Filter through what is relevant, and don’t be afraid to incorporate phrases from this section.
To optimize your small business with local SEO keywords, you’ll want to mention your city and/or state often--including it in your keywords. Don’t overdo it, but try to use the location (e.g., Minneapolis) throughout each piece of content where it fits naturally. The most important places to include keywords, including location-based keywords, are:
- The title
- In at least one heading
- Throughout the body
- The summary
- The meta description
- In the image tags
Step #3: Add a social media plugin.
Social media is essential to local SEO for small business strategies. By adding a free plugin, you can link your business pages for Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, LinkedIn, and more. This can direct customers to your local store and allow them to engage with you online within minutes.
For small businesses, local SEO is vital. The goal? To help potential customers find you on popular search engines, such as Google. The great news is that the best local SEO starts with a strategy, and we’ve got you covered.
To improve your searchability, you’ll want to update your website contact information, submit your company to local business directories, implement the right keywords for your industry and with your city name, and include links to your social media.
These tips are not all you need to improve your results in the search engines. However, they’re fundamental to get you started with local SEO.
So, why wait? Start optimizing your website today, or click now for a FREE website assessment. One of Agency Jet’s best and brightest marketing experts will evaluate your site to help you see how your business matches up with the competition--at no obligation to you.