As a small business owner, you may think that search engine optimization (SEO) is only for big businesses—but that’s not true. Local business search engine optimization can make a huge impact on your business and help you compete with national competitors in your local market.
Most businesses want customers to be able to easily find them and contact them for the products or services they offer. Online marketing services for local businesses can help generate more traffic and profitability.
We put together this guide to help walk you through local SEO for businesses and why it is important for you to take advantage of as a small business owner. Let’s get started improving your small business’ local SEO and get to the top of local search!
What Is Small Business Local SEO?
More than likely, your customers are searching for a business like yours right now. But that doesn’t mean your business is turning up in search results.
Local SEO is the practice of improving factors that search engines, like Google, use to rank businesses in localized search results. Instead of focusing on searches done across the country or even the world, local SEO focuses on searches done in a specific region or city and getting to the top of local search results.
Local SEO helps your small business turn up for searches related to your business, products, or services by optimizing your online presence for the keywords and topics your ideal customers are looking for online. It’s a process of making your business, not just your website, more friendly to search engines and more likely to show for relevant searches.
In today’s market, local digital marketing for small businesses is essential for success because your competition includes more than just competitors in your area.
Typical local search results include a Local Map Pack and organic search results that include both national and local competitors. Often, you’ll only see one or two local competitors in the traditional links below the Map.
What does this mean for your small business? Your best way to get in front of customers is to be in the Local Map Pack and be one of the lucky few local businesses in organic search results below. Above all, prioritizing local search optimization techniques that focus on the Local Map Pack and Google Maps should be the main focus of your small business.
SEO services for your local business can help you get on the map and be more visible in search results for clients to find. In the end it can help boost your overall rankings and customer traffic.
How Local SEO Impacts Purchasing Decisions With Small Businesses
Local searches have a big impact on purchasing decisions and where customers will shop or do business. For a small business, the impact of local searches can be huge on their revenue.
Taking a look at some of the most important statistics about small business local SEO can give you an idea of how influential your business’ rankings can be:
- 74% of consumers look for a local business to visit or contact that day
- 81% of consumers make local buying decisions by going online
- 78% of all local searches on mobile devices resulted in purchase within 24 hours
- 61% of consumers read online reviews before making a purchase decision
To add to that, the majority of searches done every day by consumers are local-focused and they’re shown a local map result in search. In other words, if your business isn’t at the top of local search results, you’re missing out on a lot of business.
If your small business isn’t showing up in search results, people don’t know about your business, or you’re having trouble getting customers in your local area, local SEO solutions can help you grow your business by bringing in people who are already looking for a business like yours.
Google My Business and Local Business SEO
There are a lot of factors that go into ranking well in local search results, including online business listings, your website, and your business’ online presence. Above all, your Google My Business listing (GMB) has the most impact on your local Maps rankings and localized search rankings.
Starting with a local SEO audit can give you an idea of where your local SEO stands but understanding what’s most important for small business local SEO is a great starting point to make sure you’re spending your time and resources on the best local SEO strategies.
Although there are different marketing strategies that can be used to increase a businesses rankings, working on improving your business’ top local SEO ranking factors can be the best use of your time and resources as a small business owner.
A GMB profile is a business profile that includes important information about your business such as your name, address, phone number, website link, email address, business description, and more. It’s how the Map listings are created and also influences your website listing in regular search results below the Map.
The first step you should take is to do GMB optimization. It’s important that your Google My Business profile is claimed, verified, optimized, and frequently updated to stay relevant to searchers. If you’re shopping around for local SEO services for businesses, you should absolutely make sure Google My Business management is included.
Although your GMB profile is extremely important to helping your business rank better on Maps, it’s not the only factor to consider to get more traffic to your business. Local SEO services across multiple channels can drastically help improve your overall search rankings. Additionally, SEO activities for local businesses include:
- Website Optimization
- Backlink Building & Citation Management
- Review Management and Cultivation
- Local Search & Map Ads
The right local SEO company can help you optimize your business profile, gain local backlinks, and create advertisements. The best SEO for local businesses focuses specifically on GMB optimization to help you gain new customers and help you rank higher in search results.
Create Local Content & Optimize Your Small Business Website
Although your GMB profile is very important in the way that Google views your business, there are other factors that Google uses to determine your ranking position. Localizing your website and website content can also have an impact on your rankings.
More than likely your customers are using specific words or phrases to find the products and services you have. For example, including specific terms on your website that your potential customers search for can show Google your business is relevant to that search.
Local business website SEO uses those high volume keywords across your website in order to rank higher. Since Google tries to show searchers businesses that are trustworthy and relevant to the reason why they’re searching, showing Google your business is relevant with local content and keywords can help your rankings.
As well, localizing your website includes placing your city, state, country, or region on your website in key places. If you have a blog post or news update section, adding localized keywords into your website copy to make it more relevant to people searching in your local area and helps Google understand details about your location.
Don’t forget one of our top Google Maps tips: post your content to your Google My Business listing so browsers can see your content to help continue to improve rankings and show Google your business is active online.
Get Your Small Business Involved in Your Local Community
As a local business owner, some of your best marketing resources are right there in your area. One way to raise awareness is by getting involved with other local businesses, organizations, and news outlets to lend your business’ expertise. Not only does this help raise your business’ profile in your community, it can also help your raise your small business’ rankings by getting links from authority sites in your area.
Local backlinks have a higher probability of influencing your rankings than national citation listings on sites such as YellowPages or Facebook. Working on gaining these links can have a big effect on your rankings as well as your revenue with strategic small business partnerships.
In addition to links from other local websites, getting links to your small business from things related to your business niche can also help show Google your business is trusted by those in your industry and improve rankings. For example, getting links from professional associations, industry news sources, and other similar websites can have a positive impact on your small business search engine rankings.
Have a Local Marketing Plan For Your Small Business
The best Google Maps marketing strategy doesn’t just focus on factors that influence rankings in Google search. Instead, it incorporates more holistic digital marketing strategies to build your business’ profile in your local community that, in turn, helps boost rankings.
Another great way to get your brand recognized in your community is by creating social media profiles. Social platforms are a great way to interact with customers, answer questions, promote your business and products, and encourage engagement. Social media does have a very small impact on your small business’ local search rankings.
One of the biggest perks of social media is that you have the opportunity to advertise on social platforms to raise awareness. If you are looking to increase traffic to your business, get customers to call you, or find you on Google Maps, paid social media advertising is a great way to target ideal customers and get them to do just that.
You can also use social media to improve your rankings by cultivating reviews, getting people to ask for directions to your business, and creating engagement with your Google My Business listing. All of these actions can help your small business local SEO improve.
Get More Reviews to Increase Small Business Local SEO
Reviews are important to small businesses for a number of reasons. Google understands that customers are more likely to read reviews before making a purchase or visiting a business. The more positive, high quality reviews you have, the more favorable your business will be in search results to both Google and potential customers.
Asking customers to leave your small business reviews should be part of your marketing processes after serving customers and can be integrated into email marketing or other processes you use. You can share your review form from your Google My Business dashboard to make it easy for your customers to review your business.
Additionally, much like citation links, if you’re willing to review other businesses that you enjoy, don’t forget to ask them for a review as well. You can also work with a local SEO marketing company to help you approach positive and negative reviews and create strategies to help you obtain more reviews of your business.
Need Local Marketing Services?
A local SEO marketing company can help you become more visible in search results and stand out above the competition. We’ve worked with small businesses across the country to help them rank higher in local search results with SEO services designed to grow their businesses.
If you want local SEO tips for small businesses from our experts specific to your business and what it will take for you to rank in search results, contact us for a free initial consultation.