1-903, 18 Eonju-ro 146-gil,
Gangnam-gu, Seoul, Korea
Through clever local search planning, small business owners can experience a boost from local SEO. This will allow more potential customers searching in your area to discover the products and services you provide. Without local SEO, you could be missing out on web traffic to your small business website, or foot traffic to your brick-and-mortar store.
Let’s take a look at how you can use local SEO best practices to rank your small business website highly on local search results. We’ll also explore how you can utilize engagement on social media, your Google My Business account, your presence on relevant online directories, your website structure, on-page and off-page technical SEO, and your participation in local events that can contribute to your local SEO efforts. Let’s get started!
What Is Local Search Engine Optimization (Local SEO)?
Local search engine optimization allows a business to improve its visibility in local search engine rankings. Local businesses, especially those that have a physical store that customers walk in to purchase products, or a company that provides services in a limited geographical area can benefit from this.
When a potential customer is looking for a shop or services provided in their area, they will often use search engines to discover where a suitable local business is located. When this user types in their search query, search engines like Google pay close attention to the keywords that indicate a local search intent. Such keywords are called ‘local keywords’.
When people search for something like “Thai restaurants near me” for example, Google’s search algorithm will consider the proximity of local businesses and deliver a list of results it thinks will be relevant and useful to those users. These are the search engine results pages (SERPs) that a user will browse before making their decision.
The Google Map Pack
The most prominent of these local search results will be featured in the Google Map Pack, where each local business is listed along with their locations marked by icons on a map. Other search engines will have their equivalent of Google’s Map Pack. Users will also see the address, opening hours, a small description of the business, the website or social media page, contact information, photos, customer reviews, and even a rating in this segment.
The Google Map Pack takes over most of the screen, especially when the potential customer is using a mobile device. This means many of them will consider one of the first few listings they see here. The businesses that have higher ratings will also jump to the top if the user doesn’t specify the name of a business, but searches for the product or service they desire. This means that competition among local small businesses will be fierce to get into the map packs of search engines.
If you’re a small business owner, you can now rely on local SEO services to get your listing to the top of the search engine result pages and the map pack, increasing your chances of being noticed by potential customers in your area.
Small Business Owners That Can Benefit From Local SEO Services
By getting to the top of map packs and local results in search engines, small businesses can benefit in a variety of ways. Your online visibility will increase drastically, and help bring in more customers directly to your place of business. This can also be considered a digital marketing strategy, helping your website attract more targeted organic traffic, which gives you further opportunities to convert these website visitors.
If you currently don’t have a business website, you can still direct web traffic to your social media platforms, where you can impress your audience with more details of what your business does. And finally, appearing at the top of search engine results pages will give your small business a big boost of credibility in the eyes of your target market.
Local SEO services can be used by a variety of small businesses that wish to rise to the top of local search engine rankings. Small businesses in the food and beverages industry such as restaurants, pubs, clubs, cafes, fast food places, and even food trucks are the obvious examples. The hospitality and travel industry is another with everything from boutique hotels to travel agents and tour operators being able to benefit from this.
Other examples could be hair and nail salons, tattoo parlors, and local contractors such as plumbers, and electricians. Medical clinics, dentists, gyms, and spa centers could also utilize local SEO. Mom and pops boutique shops, garages, and even small marketing agencies can be other examples.
How To Benefit From A Local SEO Strategy
If you hire affordable SEO services, they will improve local SEO for your small business through a combination of technical SEO approaches, and other methods. There are also many things you can do by yourself without investing in specialized SEO services but it is always advisable to get the help of an expert.
Optimize Your Google My Business Profile
Before you start getting into fixing your website’s technical SEO issues, you can get your small business into the Google Map Pack by creating your own Google My Business (GMB) account. Here you can claim your business and get it verified by Google as an authentic business. This will help you achieve a variety of things.
First of all, your potential customers will be able to find your business, where it’s located, and any additional details they need to find it. You would be improving their experience of doing business with you, so make sure your opening hours, contact details, and location are up to date.
You should also pay close attention to how your GMB listing will appear on local search and map pack results, and fill in any missing information that might be useful to customers. In time, Google may even reward your business by placing it in its much-coveted sidebar for its top result in local searches, guaranteeing users will see it first.
Perform An SEO Audit
An SEO audit will reveal technical SEO issues present on your website. Google Search Console is a great free tool provided by the search giant that allows you to discover crawlability, loading, and indexing issues on your website. For a fully comprehensive analysis, you’ll need to utilize paid online software like SEMrush. This is an all-in-one tool that can highlight key technical SEO problems like broken links, missing metadata, HTTPS issues, crawlability problems, site architecture problems, and more.
After finding these technical SEO issues, you can call on a web development expert to fix them. While a free tool like Google Search Console can be used by anyone with some practice, tools like SEMrush can be a bit complex and overwhelming to someone that is not a website SEO professional. You’ll most likely need an experienced SEO agency that understands how to use these tools to perform a comprehensive website audit.
Perform Local Competitor Keyword Research
Part of your local search planning should focus on finding out what keywords your competitors are using and trying to outrank these other websites. Your SEO services provider could do this with a keyword research tool like SEMrush which will provide you with a list of what your rivals are ranking for. By comparing search volumes, intent, relevancy, and keyword difficulty of the keyword research results, they can recommend to you which are the easiest keywords you will be able to rank for.
You’d want to make sure that the keywords suggested by your SEO agency make sense for your brand, products, or services. You should also pay special attention to geo-specific keywords that include the name of your city, town, or street. You’d want to utilize localized keywords that are relevant to your small business.
For many small businesses, this part could be beyond your level of expertise. Fortunately for you, affordable SEO services can be hired to manage your on-page SEO requirements according to best practices. The relevant keywords discovered through research can be mapped to your products and service pages, with a focus keyword for each page. These keywords can also be included in your page metadata, ensuring search engine crawlers understand clearly what each page is about.
Your SEO agency will know how to do internal linking to give your website visitors additional context, and a way to navigate through related topics. The URLs of your website can also be optimized to include the focus keywords and made to be concise. Furthermore, any images you use on your website like product images can be optimized by adding relevant alt text, or image size reduced to allow faster loading for a better user experience.
The website copy will have to be written by content writers who know how to strategically include the relevant keywords while describing your product or services. They will need to understand what your target market is like and write with them in mind. An SEO agency will most likely have a team of content writers to help you here.
In content marketing, you can create blog post articles that will be published on your website to provide your target audience with relevant and useful information about various topics. This is where you utilize your local knowledge and expertise in your industry niche to impress visitors. Create localized content that will show everyone that you are the local authority when it comes to your area of expertise.
These blog articles can also be shared as social media posts to gain an even wider audience. And if you’re not very strong with your writing, most of the affordable SEO services providers will offer content marketing services as well.
Have Localized Landing Pages
Using some of the geo-specific keywords you found earlier, you can get your web developer or SEO agency to create some localized landing pages based on those keywords. These can include informational content as we mentioned before, but more relevant to the location. If you’re planning on running online ads based on these keywords, you can direct people to arrive at these landing pages when they click on one.
Get Into Other Business Directories
Google My Business may be the most important one, but there are other useful business directories you can get into. The ones to keep in mind are Yellow Pages, Yelp, and Bing Places to name just a few. Apart from these, there could be other websites specific to your industry niche that may be more relevant, and help direct potential customers your way. Just like in GMB, you’ll need to ensure your contact information, address, website URL, and other details are accurate and up to date.
Make Sure Your Website Is Mobile-Friendly
A majority of local searches are done by users on smartphones. Appearing at the top of Google Map Pack is not enough. You should be prepared to give them a great experience if any decide to click on your listing. Your website audit can help you find the technical issues preventing your website from loading properly.
You might also need some talented graphic designers to make sure all visual elements on your website have their corresponding mobile versions when called. If you’re hiring an affordable SEO services provider, you should make sure they know how to make your website mobile friendly, both technically and visually.
Acquire Quality Backlinks Through Link Building
Link building is an important part of any successful SEO campaign. This involves getting quality backlinks from other sites that have a high level of authority and relevance. If you’re a restaurant, then you could reach out to a popular food blogger and request them to write an article about your establishment. Included in this article would be the precious backlink, bringing with it some valuable link juice that will help in your SEO efforts. You will also receive more web organic traffic from their readers.
Guest posting on relevant sites might be another way of getting backlinks. When guest posting, you will be writing content for another site and will be rewarded with a link to yours. Business directories that are relevant to your industry are another source of backlinks. Furthermore, the physical location of these websites that link to yours will also matter. A credible website that is an authority figure in your area will help you more in local search.
If you’re a business that offers safari tours, a local travel blog writing about you would be great for your local SEO. If you’re not good at guest blogging, an SEO agency could help you write the content, and ensure the anchor text of your backlinks is localized to deliver even better local results. They could also use a backlink gap tool to identify backlinks your competitors are using that might be worth chasing down for your business as well.
Participate In Local Community Events
Simply hiring affordable SEO services is not enough to rank highly in local searches. You have to make your presence known by participating in local community events. You could sponsor an event, or work with a non-profit organization for a cause that matters in your local community. Not only will you appear as a respectable authority in your industry niche, but you will also discover opportunities for more link-building and exposure on social media.
Focus On Getting Positive Customer Reviews
No matter how many SEO service providers you hire, you will need to provide your customers with great products and valuable services to be rewarded with positive reviews on your GMB. As mentioned before, your rating on GMB is a major factor in Google pushing up your rankings. If you want to be featured in the most prominent position for a local search, you’ll need to look credible.
You could start by requesting satisfied customers to leave a review when they leave your establishment. You could also do this with a follow-up email or by asking them on social media. Keep in mind that not all of your reviews will be positive. It’s important to stay professional and respond politely to your negative reviews. This can go a long way to change your customers’ perception of your business, learn how to improve your products or services, and even turn that negative review into a positive one in the future.
Looking For Affordable Local Search Engine Optimization Services?
If you’re looking for an affordable SEO service provider to help you with your on-page technical SEO problems, competitor analysis, local SEO, and link-building efforts, then Inquivix is the digital marketing partner for you. We can help you rise to the top of local search, bringing more visibility to your small business, and helping more customers to discover you. To find out more, contact us today!
Local search can be a powerful search engine optimization tool to target customers in a specific geographic area like a town, city, or region and make your business visible to them on local search results. This will bring more customers to your doorstep, and more traffic to your website.
You can climb the local search rankings by starting a Google My Business account, adding all of your relevant details, and encouraging customers to leave a review. You can also fix any technical SEO problems on your website, optimize it with content that includes relevant localized keywords, and engage in link-building activities. You can also get into business directories, and participate in local events that will further boost your visibility.