With consumers increasingly turning to search engines to find local products and services, the ability to appear prominently in local search results can be a game-changer for small businesses. This makes local SEO an effective one to expand online customer base and increase sales. In support of this, a study has shown that 61% of marketers stated that improving your brand’s SEO and presence is vital.
SEO is more effective than most digital marketing strategies. Research was conducted, and it reported that 70% of marketers see SEO to be more potent and effective than PPC Campaigns. Additionally, 59% of B2B marketers see improved SEO techniques as the most significant driving factor in lead generation.
Local SEO is all about optimizing your online presence to ensure that your business is visible to potential customers in your geographical area. This article will explore effective local SEO strategies for small businesses. From optimizing Google My Business listings to mastering on-page SEO and local link building, we will develop tactics to help your small business thrive in the competitive local market.
Top 10 Local SEO Strategies For Small Businesses (2023)
1. Google My Business (GMB) Optimization
Optimizing your Google My Business (GMB) is the first local SEO strategy for small business that help your small business appear prominently in local search results. You must have a GMB profile as a local business.
To do that, go to the Google My Business website and follow the verification process. This often involves receiving a postcard with a verification code at your business address. You will be required to complete your business information, including your business name, address, phone number (NAP), website URL, business category, and hours of operation.
In addition, add high-resolution photos and videos that showcase your business, products, and services. Craft a concise, informative, and engaging business description that highlights what your business offers and why it’s unique, and place it underneath the pictures or videos.
2. Keyword Research
Keyword research is one of the fundamental local SEO strategies for small businesses. To do effective keyword research, you must first understand your business, products, services, and target audience.
There are several keyword research tools in the market, such as Ubersuggest, Google Keyword Planner, SEMrush, etc., that you can use to find the most searched keywords relating to your business in your locality.
Ensure you incorporate location-based keywords if your business serves a specific geographic area. These could include city names, neighborhood names, or other local identifiers.
3. Content Marketing
Content marketing is a strategic approach that involves developing and distributing relevant content to attract and engage a target audience. It builds trust, provides value, and nurtures long-term customer relationships.
To conduct effective content marketing, you must first define your target audience. Understand their demographics, interests, and preferences and determine what you want to achieve with your content. It can boost sales, increase website traffic, generate leads, and build brand awareness.
Most importantly, you have to ensure your content is informative, educational, entertaining, or valuable in some way to your audience. Your brand voice and tone should be consistent across all your content.
4. Social Media Engagement
Data has shown that there are 4.8 billion social media users, 92.7% of all internet users and 59.9% of the global population. This indicates that social media is an excellent area to major in when building your small business in this digital world.
Social media engagement is one of the most vital areas of local SEO strategies for small businesses. It refers to your brand’s interactions and connections with its audience on social media platforms. High engagement levels indicate an active and interested community of followers, which can result in greater visibility and more sales.
To improve your social media engagement, you must first understand your target audience’s demographics, interests, and preferences and tailor your content and messaging to resonate with them. Also, establish a consistent posting schedule to keep your audience informed and engaged. In creating content for your social media, it is advised that you use a mix of content types, including images, videos, infographics, and text posts.
Additionally, ensure you reply to the comments of your followers. Encourage them to leave a review on your social media handles and, most importantly, always answer their inquiries and questions. You can employ a social media manager if you are too busy to manage your business’s social media handles.
5. On-Page SEO
On-page SEO deals with optimizing web pages to enhance search engine rankings and attract organic traffic. This is a fundamental local SEO strategy for small business to improve their website visibility and awareness.
To do an on-page SEO, you must choose a primary keyword for each page based on your keyword research. Input the primary keyword in the page title, meta description, and URL, and use the keyword naturally in the page’s content, headings, and subheadings. Ensure you use proper grammar, formatting, and spelling to improve readability. Additionally, on-page SEO includes creating highly appealing content with the keywords scattered within the article.
6. Local Link Building
Local link building is essential to a thriving local SEO strategy for small businesses. Quality backlinks from local sources can improve your website’s authority, Google ranking, and visibility in local search results.
The more links you have that direct to your business website, the higher your sense of credibility, makes Google rank your business high. Unfortunately, it is not always easy to get backlinks from high-quality websites. Die to this; you must decide and develop a backlink-building strategy. You can contact reviewers and new companies to do backlinks, write guest blogs, and create backlinks.
Additionally, you partner with local organizations, events, charities, or schools and request a link back to your website from their websites. You can also sponsor local events and request a link on their event or sponsor page.
7. Mobile Optimization
It is no surprise that local searches constitute 82% of mobile searches. This shows you how mobile optimization is one of the essential local SEO strategies for small businesses. Due to the prevalence of mobile internet usage, providing a seamless and user-friendly experience for mobile visitors is necessary.
Mobile optimization ensures that your website and its content are well-suited for mobile devices like smartphones and tablets. You must ensure the web design is responsive and easily adapts to various screen sizes and orientations.
The page loading speed is another critical area to pay attention to. It is shown that 53% of mobile visitors will leave your site if the loading speed is longer than three seconds. To optimize and improve page load times, compress images, leverage browser caching, and minimize HTTP. You can also use Google’s PageSpeed Insights tool to identify speed optimization opportunities.
8. Local Citations
Local citations refer to the online mentions of your business’s address, name, and phone number (NAP) on external websites, directories, social platforms, and apps. These citations are one of the top SEO strategies for small businesses that can significantly impact your business’s online visibility.
For citations, consistency is the key. Ensure that your NAP information is consistent across all citations. Even minor variations can confuse search engines and harm your local SEO efforts. Use the same format, including abbreviations, and make sure it matches what’s on your website.
Also, focus on high-quality, authoritative directories and platforms relevant to your industry and location. You can start with major platforms like Google My Business, Yelp, Facebook, and Bing Places for Business. You can check out other niche-specific directories.
Additionally, it is advised that you regularly monitor your citations to ensure they are accurate and up-to-date. Use tools like Moz Local, Yext, or BrightLocal to manage and track your citations. Conduct periodic audits to identify and correct inconsistencies or outdated information. In conducting regular audits, remove duplicate citations, which can confuse search engines and cause potential harm to your local rankings.
9. Schema Markup
Schema markup, also called structured data or schema.org markup, is a code added to your website’s HTML that provides search engines with specific information about your content.
Schema Markup aids search engines in understanding the context and meaning of your web pages, which results in improved search results and enhanced visibility in search engine results pages (SERPs). It is not about using Schema Markup but choosing the appropriate one.
To do that, visit the schema.org website to explore various schema types. Select your content’s most relevant schema type, whether a local business, product, recipe, event or something else. After choosing the appropriate one, you can manually add schema markup to your website’s HTML code. Still, using a plugin or script is often more convenient if you’re using a content management system (CMS) like WordPress. For manual implementation, use the JSON-LD format recommended by Google. Insert the schema markup within the <script> tags in the HTML of the relevant page.
The markup should include properties and values that describe the page’s content. For example, if you’re marking up a recipe, you might consist of properties like “name,” “description,” “recipe ingredient,” and “recipe instructions.” Also, before deploying your schema markup, use Google’s Structured Data Testing Tool to authenticate your code for errors or warnings. Fix any issues found during testing to ensure that search engines correctly interpret your markup. After this, you can implement it.
10. Online Reviews Management
Online review management actively monitors, responds to, and leverages customer reviews posted on various online platforms, such as review websites, social media, and e-commerce sites.
Effective review management can significantly impact your online reputation and influence potential customers’ decisions. To manage your online reviews better, set up Google Alerts to notify you of new reviews and mentions.
Respond to all of the written reviews, both positive and negative, promptly. Aim to reply within 24-48 hours to show that you value customer feedback. Also, learn to address negative reviews with empathy and a solution-oriented approach. Acknowledge the issue, apologize if necessary, and offer to resolve the problem offline if possible. Avoid confrontational or defensive responses, as they can harm your reputation further.
Local SEO strategies are not just a digital marketing luxury but a necessity for small businesses aiming to establish a strong foothold in their local communities. By embracing these strategies, companies can attract more local customers and grow their revenue.
As the online and offline business worlds continue to come together, small businesses that invest in local SEO will find themselves better positioned to connect with their target audience and secure their place in the hearts and minds of local customers. So, don’t overlook the power of local SEO; it’s your ticket to success in the digital age’s local marketplace.