Local SEO Tips for Small Businesses
It used to be when you started an organization, you did your advertising the old fashioned way. This meant newspapers, flyers, handing out business cards, sometimes just going door-to-door. With the arrival of the internet, these methods are now out of date. As of 2015, there were 3.26 billion internet users. This makes up 40% of the planet's population! If a business owner wants to increase the traffic to their website or shop, they need SEO. Let's jump into some of my favorite local SEO tips!
Understanding why you need local SEO tips
Just because you know SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization doesn't mean you know why your business needs it. Just because you know the main purpose of SEO is a marketing strategy doesn't mean you know how to begin using it yourself. When 93% of online experiences start with the use of a search engine, why wouldn't you want to become an expert in SEO?
The difference between organic SEO and local SEO
The first thing I need to teach you is the difference between organic SEO and local SEO. Organic SEO is defined as the practice of optimizing your website to make it search engine friendly and the effort to get it to rank for specific key terms. Local SEO is the same thing but with the added practice of building reliability and reputation around specific geographic locations.
It all comes down to competition. When you're using organic SEO, your website is competing with every other website that's on the same topic. What does that mean? If you have a blog on ballroom dancing, your blog will have to compete with every other blog on that. Since this includes the whole world, that's a lot of competition! When you add the local SEO layer, your website only has to compete with websites on that topic that are based in the same geographical area. If I wanted to attend ballroom dance classes in New York City, then the only websites your business is going to compete with is going to be other New York City dance classes.
If you advertise it, they will come
Did you know that internet searches for locally based businesses cause 50% of online people to walk into a store within one day? How can you make this happen for your business? You need to make sure that your website beats out other websites in online searches. Business owners who used local SEO tips like I'm sharing with you have seen their customer base suddenly expand. One study showed that 28%-55% of people who discovered a company during an online search then reached out to that company. This might mean a phone call or them walking into your shop in person. That same study showed that 42% of those searchers then wanted to make a purchase within an hour of their original search.
Local business pages
When researching the best local SEO tips, it is easy to get overwhelmed. Often, the best first step is to have an expert tell you where to begin. As that expert, let me tell you that creating local business pages for the major search engines is the perfect place to start! Some of the info you'll need to get your details onto Bing and Googlewill be the location of your business, the phone number and hours of operation.
Don't let your website get lost
Once you have your local business pages setup, you'll want to make sure to choose a category. Most of the widely used search engines ask you to choose 3-5 categories. Be very careful when choosing these! If you aren't careful, your potential customers can totally miss out on your website purely because it was listed under the wrong category. The same dangers apply if you decide not to choose a category at all. When building your local business pages, go with fewer categories so that you get better results.
The good kind of citation
I want to make sure search engines like your business as much as possible. To do that, you'll want to get your business as many citations as you can. The way to do this is to get your organization mentioned in as many other places as possible. If you donated to charity, for instance, that charity might put the name of your business on their site. Simply put, citations are defined as listings posted on websites that contain the name of your business, the address, and the phone number. (NAP) The best way to begin receiving citations? Do them for other, geographically relevant businesses specializing in similar topics. Citations are not only one of my favorite local SEO tips. They're also one of the very best ways to get the search engine results you want. LinkNow Media can also help you gain the maximum numnber of niche citations for your business.
As you increase the number of citations you have, you'll be posting the same information repeatedly onto different pages. Often, one downside to your business being so present on the internet is the possibility of typos. If I could have you prioritize one thing when creating local pages, what would it be? Try to keep it consistent. Typing the name of your business, the address and the phone number correctly is what helps search engines direct customers your way, be that to your website or to your front door.
A study showed that 88% of consumers place as much trust in website reviews as they do in personal recommendations. As a result of this, reviews are very important to search engines. Reviews are also a critical factor in how Google Maps decides which businesses get listed towards the top and which ones don't. This doesn't always work in your favor. If reviews are becoming so important to consumers, this also means negative reviews can send them away too. Respond to every review you receive, including the bad ones. If you don't, that bad review could inspire other customers to lose interest as well as tell search engines you shouldn't be highly ranked.
My next local SEO tip involves some scary numbers. A 2012 study showed that 80% of internet searchers used a computer or laptop. By 2014, that number had dropped to 66%. That same study showed that as of 2012, only 25% of internet searchers used a mobile phone or smartphone. Come 2014, that number became 42%. What does this mean? People are changing how they search the internet. With phones being more readily available, people are using them on their commute to work, during their lunch breaks and even when socializing. If you don't want to miss out on these opportunities, then you've got no choice but to go mobile. Another reason to make your phone mobile-friendly is the update Google came out with in 2015 called Mobilegeddon. While it helped internet searchers, it hit business owners in a big way. If you don't have a mobile-friendly website, the chances of your business being put on the first few pages of Google greatly diminish.
What's one of the worst things that can happen to you if you have a bad landing page? If a potential customer accessed your website and didn't see what they were looking for, they might return to the list of search results. Luckily enough, I have a local SEO tip for this one! Landing pages are important because they're the very first thing customers see when they click into your website. If they don't immediately see what they came for, they're going to give up and return to the search results. How can you avoid losing these potential customers? Your landing page needs to be user-friendly and clearly, display the product or purpose of the website.
Don't overdo it
My local SEO tips might sound familiar. You might be thinking you already knew most of this. You might already know how to link, use keywords and format a good landing page. What you might not know is when you're overdoing it. The first instinct of many business owners is to stuff as many links, keywords, and citations as they can into their websites. This is, after all, what all of the local SEO tips pages say to do. The problem is that if you overdo it, you can actually damage the performance of your website. It's better to be choosy about which links, keywords, and citations you focus on. You'll like the results more.
Getting started instead of getting overwhelmed
The best local SEO tips change almost as often as there are new websites being made. This means that it's very easy to get overwhelmed while trying to stay up to date. My best tip is to rewind as far back in the process I've laid out here as you need to. Find the right spot and begin, even if that means beginning by just choosing to create a website for your business in the first place.