7 Key Assets of SEO for Local Business
The vast majority of businesses are still local, serving their nearby neighbors and travelers passing through. What’s interesting is how big the difference is between SEO for a web-based business versus SEO for local business.
SEO for Local Business
Appealing to a global online community is beneficial to businesses like Apple, or KFC, which has locations worldwide. However, as a local business, your focus is on those who can physically shop at your store, eat at your restaurant, or hire your local services.
Your digital marketing needs to focus on getting into the search results of locals looking for a business like yours. This means an entirely different approach, not just to where you market, but how you optimize your content for search engines.
Today we’ll outline how to optimize for a local business instead of a global one.
Everyone knows that modern businesses can no longer get away with not having a website. Without a website, you don’t exist to the vast majority of today’s consumers who live their lives through their smartphones. Even where to go for ice cream down the road is looked up before they leave the house so local businesses absolutely must build a digital presence.
In terms of SEO, your website is where you want search engines to guide potential new customers. What matters here is your website content, the titles, headings, and blocks of text on each page. Write in a natural and informative way, and mention the areas you serve and the services or products you provide. This should guide people looking for local services to the right page on your website that will help them most.
Always include a header or footer that has your business information for both SEO and coordination purposes.
“Blog” is such a simple word for such an important part of your SEO toolkit. A blog is your opportunity to create SEO-rich content for every level of the funnel. A home electrician service, for instance, can have a conversion-funnel series of blogs ranging from “Why Do My Lights Flicker?” to “What to Do If Your House Needs to Be Rewired”
Blogging is fantastic because you can write about almost anything your target audience might find interesting. For conversions, the goal is to entertain, inform, and create a positive authoritative reputation. For SEO, you’re looking to create a growing snowball of relevant keywords that associate with your business.
Bonus Tip: Local businesses need to mention the regions and neighborhoods they serve or are near. Rather than trying to keyword-stuff regions into perfectly normal posts which winds up looking tacky (ex: “5 Plumbing tips for Tulsa Homeowners”), write about local events from a plumbers point of view. (ex: “How Much Water Does the Tulsa Balloon Festival Use?”)
4) Social Media
While the content of your social media can influence search engines, the true benefit of a strong social media following is the potential for traffic. Search engines tend to prioritize websites that see a lot of natural visits, meaning that the more users you can drive to your site through social media content and links, the better.
That said, social media platforms have their own search results and with the right keywords in your content, you should be able to use a little bit of that SEO and inbound marketing magic to build your following and win a few more customers.
5) Google My Business
Google is the world’s premier search engine, and Google Maps is the most widely popular mobile navigation app. It also has an internal catalog of businesses that it uses to provide the fastest, best, and sometimes only options in response to a user search. This is known as Google My Business (GMB) and every local business needs to have one.
Claiming your conveniently free Google My Business account literally puts your pin on the map and allows people navigating through the app to quickly search up your business on the road. Curating the GMB listing with all your details and big beautiful pictures will improve your search engine and google Maps page ranking. And, of course, don’t forget to thank reviewers and answer questions because it’s also a reviewing platform.
6) Review Platforms
Speaking of reviewing platforms, even if you are not curating accounts, chances are your customers have already made you an entry on at least one third party platform and have begun sharing reviews. Pick several platforms depending on your industry. Yelp is most often used by restaurants, TripAdvisor for hotels and travel industry services, and Angie’s List or HomeStars for home services.
For every review platform you locate your business on or decide to make your own listing, follow the same procedure you would with your Google My business account. Fill out all the information, make sure the map point is accurate, stuff it with pictures, and keep track of activity. If possible, make it easy to jump to your website, make an order, or request service directly through the review site.
7) Links and Mentions
Finally, SEO judges how well connected your business is to other reputable online locations. Reputable sites linking back to your website will boost your SEO. External links which direct to other websites increase your connection to the online community. Internal links which lead to other pages on your site enhance navigation.
The best way to do this is with your blog. When you reference industry concepts but don’t want to explain them for a paragraph, include a helpful informative link. Write articles about business partners and local events, then link to the businesses or event pages. Always be on the lookout for opportunities to make new pages, link to other’s pages, and get involved in partnerships that will earn links back to your site. Writing compelling and informative blog articles can also earn you information links from others you don’t even know.
SEO is incredibly important for local businesses no matter what your size or how many locations you have. Because potential customers start searching online, localizing your marketing with well-targeted SEO is the best way to get new business. For more tips on small business digital marketing, contact us today!