Wondering why local SEO for small businesses is important?
Take out your cellphone and Google “best restaurants Los Angeles.”
The top results usually you find aren’t global giant food chains that have a presence in Los Angeles but local restaurants that have been brainy enough to realize the importance of local SEO and optimized their business websites for local SEO success.
Over 30% of consumers search for local businesses before purchasing, and 76% of mobile consumers visit a local store within 24 hours after searching.
Then, 28% of consumers purchase within 24 hrs after a local search. (Source – Intergrowth)
Leveraging local SEO for small businesses require unique and substantial methods, but they can be worth the effort.
Read on for detailed tips on local SEO for small businesses, to help you rank higher in local search results.
15 Effective Tips for Local SEO for Small Businesses
1. Use a Google Business profile
One of the best tips for local SEO for small businesses in 2022 is to set up a Google Business Profile (formerly Google My Business) listing.
Google Business Profile gives your business the most significant impact for local exposure and can allow it to show up over the competition when done correctly. With a completed profile including categories, subcategories, location, keywords, and products or services, a Google Profile can surface your business in more local search results.
To optimize your listing and improve relevancy, add images related to your work premises, get customer reviews, list accurate work timings, and add the latest industry updates.
For example, take this local business, Digimiles. When the users from India search terms like ‘best bulk SMS in India, best bulk SMS service in India,’ etc., their company listing will appear on the Map Pack with the address and link to the website, generating a potential prospect for their business.
So how does it work?
Make a Google Business Profile account, add your business summary, and get verified via the PIN you receive to the listed address. After verification, you can add more details related to the business, get insights about how the business is doing on Google, manage reviews, and more.
2. Get listed in other local directories
Along with a Google Business Profile, consider using high-quality local directories for your local business. You can find general directories such as Angi and Producthunt or industry-specific ones like Zillow, where you can list your business information for prospects and customers.
Yelp is a popular directory website for restaurants that allows customers to create local listings for their favorite restaurants, and then the restaurant can then claim it, making it official.
After the listing goes up, especially on more reputable sites, you may get backlinks and notice that you’re getting more clicks to your business site.
3. Maintain business information consistency
Over time, virtual bots and web crawlers will pick up your business information and add it to their directories. Sometimes, they might pick inaccurate details and post them to their directories.
This might lead to Google not trusting your business since it finds conflicting information about your business on the Internet.
So ensuring consistency in your business name, address, operating hours, website URL, and ownership information are integral to improving your business’ local SEO and customer experience.
Besides, customer-reported websites like Yelp and SaaSHub allow customers to input their incorrect business information. These websites will often allow a business to claim their business profile that can be customized to align with their brand.
4. Analyze your competitors
To improve the local SEO for small businesses, it is important to know who’s doing it well.
Investigate the competition to understand who is getting the top local listing and who is landing on the first page of results for related keywords.
Look at their website, blog, and social media presence to see if there are any tricks or tips you can borrow from them, like the best time to post on Twitter or what kinds of topical content customers seem to enjoy.
Also, find what topics they’re prioritizing and the structure of their site, and use SEO software like Semrush or SE Ranking to see what keywords they rank the highest for and what brings the most traffic. See who is linking to them, use that information to prospect for future backlinks, and develop relationships with other websites and bloggers.
This is especially helpful if you’re in a small niche industry where specific SEO strategies like backlinking can help improve customer trust.
Be careful not to resort to plagiarism. It’s all about laying the groundwork for ensuring your business starts strong.
5. Seek out reviews
Google says, “High-quality, positive reviews from your customers can improve your business visibility and increase the likelihood that a shopper will visit your location.”
So a local business needs to drive a steady stream of good reviews, especially Google ones.
Not only can positive reviews build trust and credibility, but also Google picks up the keywords from reviews and show it in the search results alongside the map pack. Here’s an example:
How to get reviews?
Make a link (short URL) for customers to write reviews on Google and share. OR, request them to Google your business and write a review.
6. Include your location wherever possible
Location is one of the key factors of local SEO for small businesses.
Including your business location throughout the website can significantly impact the SEO reach. Search engines gather and use this information to create location-specific results in addition to compatible keywords.
Why is it essential?
For businesses with more than one location, adding individual pages with details like address, hours, and phone can help attract the customers to the correct place and avoid unnecessary confusion about services.
For example, you may have three stores around a metro area, each in different suburbs. You can name each page on your website after its suburb and include those details in the title, copy, and URL. When someone searches for the nearest location, they can head straight to that page on your site.It is also vital to ensure a unique copy for each location page on your website. Google will penalize you if you use the same content for multiple-location-based pages. #localseo #smallbusinessmarketing Click To Tweet
Each location should have a short URL that gives basic information.
When setting the URL slug, include your location to help search engines recognize where your business is. If you add images to your website, you can add the alt text to have your location so that you may appear in image search results.
7. Use a responsive design
When designing your brand website, focus on the mobile version (the web page adapts automatically to load and appear correctly on mobiles). Google prioritizes mobile-optimized sites. So if your mobile version is hard to use, you will lose local SEO benefits.
61% of mobile users are more likely to visit a local business if it has a mobile-optimized site, as per Hubspot.
Many modern website builders offer to build a mobile-friendly design by default, so you don’t have to work on the mobile version separately.
When using WordPress.org, you can see the changes in real-time. Test the mobile site after making changes to see how it looks and if it’s easy to use. If not, go back in and update it until you can use it efficiently.
Finally, you must ensure both versions look sleek and are easy to navigate.
8. Focus on voice search
Another tip for local SEO for small businesses is to optimize your website for voice search. Voice searches are 3X more likely to be accurate for local results than text.
Besides, voice search is quick and faster than typing and perfect for people on the go.Undoubtedly, voice search is rising, and it’d be a shame for a local business to overlook this SEO trend. That makes NOW a great time for small businesses to adapt and leverage. #smallbusinessseo #localseo Click To Tweet
To top the spot for a voice search, you need to ensure that you do proper keyword research and incorporate the what you found in the content, add relevant FAQs, use Schema markup and consider using more natural and conversational writing styles whenever possible to appeal to voice searches.
9. Get quality backlinks
Another of the best SEO tips in 2022 and beyond is getting backlinks. This is where another website links to your website/blog.
While backlinks are important for overall SEO of a site, to improve the local SEO for small businesses, you need to have targeted backlinks from specific websites.
Look for local industry blogs, news websites, and review sites to get backlinks. It will imply to Google that your local business website/blog serves the region explicitly.
You need to ensure getting backlinks from relevant and authoritative websites to improve your local SEO. Avoid spammy-looking websites that may not have much traffic and engagement. At best, they won’t do anything for you, and at worst, they can negatively impact your overall SEO.
Not only the quality backlinks from trustworthy sources will boost your website’s overall authority and drive referral traffic, but they also improve SEO rankings for local searches.
10. Improve your internal links
Internal links are hyperlinks that point to another webpage within the same website as the one the visitor is currently on.
These links throughout the website help with SEO by raising the time a reader spends on your site, helping search engines understand your site hierarchy better, and passing the Page Rank (P.R) value to the content you want to spotlight.
You must include internal links whenever it makes sense but avoid stuffing links in the content. You can also leverage an efficient A.I interlinking tools like Link Whisper.
Interlink to location pages from the home page, which usually will have high authority in terms of SEO. Doing so helps you gain link juice to your local content pages.
11. Start a business blog
A business blog is a marketing strategy and asset that usually corresponds to a specific product or service your business offers. Blog helps provide information about your product while offering related informational articles to bridge the gap between your business and consumers through hyperlocal content.
In short, a business blog helps you connect with your target group, builds exposure to your business, drives potential prospects, and establishes credibility and authority.
Write compelling blog posts on different topics related to your business or industry. For example, a law firm may write about how to find a lawyer, corporate laws, power of attorney, etc.
For your local SEO, you can use your blog to target different local keywords besides your leading offers. Then, you can attract people who maybe aren’t ready to buy, but you can build brand awareness. They’ll already know about you when they need to hire a lawyer.
12. Be a part of your local community
A more underrated tip for local SEO for small businesses is to get out into your community.
You can sponsor a local event or host a volunteer day. If there’s a nearby college, you can help fund a scholarship for one of the students. Funding a scholarship is especially beneficial because links from .edu sites are powerful and scale your website’s SEO to incredible levels.
Doing these things offline can help you get digital press. When a local news website covers your story, they can link to your website and refer target people.
Even if you don’t get any press, locals may still learn about your business and associate with you. After all, your community deserves the best and you can offer it.
13. Build a social media presence
Almost every small business can benefit from a strong and active social media presence. There are numerous social platforms to choose from, and each one has benefits for specific target markets. Although social media alone can’t grow your business, it plays a vital role.
Social media can increase your reach in your target market, help create more leads that could lead to a higher ROI, and indeed increase visibility, but it takes a constant content delivery plan.
To succeed, social media isn’t something that can be set up and left unattended. Local businesses can increase their brand awareness and conversion with time by creating original and engaging social content and choosing the relevant platforms.
Facebook has pages that allow you to list essential company information, advertise sales and specials, and use messaging programs to keep in contact with customers. It’s the favorite social platform for 35-44-year-olds.
For younger demographics, Instagram and TikTok can boost viewership. Still, all platforms require regular content created specifically for the platform and a social media marketer that can address customer questions and concerns.
14. Leverage Google Ads with local keywords
Sticking out as a small business is always tricky, but local keywords help attract customers close to you and reach out to your local business.
Though it is not technically SEO, one way to expand your visibility in your area of business is to use local keywords on Google Ads, a paid service, to appear highest in SERPs..
This method is also budget-friendly, decreasing the cost of using more popular keywords by expanding them with a location.
For example, to attract local customers that can benefit from your services, the keyword’ music teachers’ advertising for a music school in Colorado can become ‘music teachers near Colorado.’ When customers search for a music teacher, they will most likely search for someone close, and this local keyword will help bring your business to their search results.
15. Track and measure results
Once results start to come in, the journey has just begun. Monitor or hire a digital marketing agency to monitor site traffic and analyze how each keyword is doing. Fine-tune your selections and try more or less specific locations to see if there’s an improvement.
Of course, remove any falling keywords and boost your budget for those that do well.
Most importantly, track how much of your website traffic converts to revenue.
Local SEO for small businesses: Conclusion
For local small businesses to thrive, they must direct their efforts toward local SEO practices for the benefits they generate.
While it can seem overwhelming for a new business to do, the key is just to get started with your SEO.