Why Local SEO is Important for Small Business Growth. Best Local SEO Practices.

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Do you want to appear in the top search results in Google when people search in your area for your service? If you want people to find your business, you need to learn and apply local SEO. Local SEO includes online marketing strategies to attract local users. This includes claiming your Google My Business account and showing up in featured snippets in local search results.

Local SEO should be an integral part of your overall digital marketing strategy and when you get it right, you’ll attract many more high-quality users to your site and physical store.

benefits local seo

Why Worry About Local SEO?

Local Search Engine Optimization or Local SEO is all about optimizing your business for search engines so that people near you can find your products and services when searching for key local phrases in the search results.

Local SEO is more focused on ranking your business higher in your local area. If you have a local shop, store or office then local SEO is also important for customers to be able to find you in person through online maps or directories.

As Google takes up a majority of the market share of search engines worldwide, we will mostly be focusing on how to optimize your local SEO for Google specifically. But there are other places to focus on such as Bing Places and Apple Maps.

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*Pro Tip* When you’re looking into local SEO the number one thing you’ll see often is the words ‘online business citation’. An online business citation is basically anywhere your business is featured or mentioned online. This can be your company name, physical address + zip code or phone number. This is also referred to as your NAP (name, address, phone number). Examples of online citations are directory listings as well as social media pages.

How To Maximize Your Local SEO Results

When searching on Google you will find 3 types of search results. You will see paid ads (usually at the top of the search results), Google Maps listings, and organic results. Google has specially optimized their search engine for local searches through the use of its ‘snack pack’. This ‘snack pack’ is the three Google Maps listings that are shown above the organic results.

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So how do you feature in Google’s snack pack?

Google uses different factors that, when right, can see you featured at the top of that snack pack for your local keywords.

Relevance

Here Google looks at whether or not you are a relevant result for the user to click on. The more information you add to your Google listing, the better Google can understand what your business is about and match it for relevant searches.

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Distance

This is a pretty straightforward ranking factor. Google will rank your business higher if you are closer to the location term in the search result. If there is no location specified Google will use the location of the user or the location information they know about the user.

Prominence

Distance is an important ranking factor but so is prominence. Prominence is how popular or well-known your business is eg. famous buildings, museums, and hotels will rank higher. Google also looks at what other people say about your business ie. Reviews, and those that link to your business ie. Directories, to better rank your business.

You can’t pay to rank your business higher in local rankings as Google uses an algorithm to make the ranking system as fair as possible.

VIDEO: Complete Local SEO Guide to Improve Local Search

How To Improve Your Local SEO Ranking

When getting started with improving your local ranking you need to look at these activities and places to make your business known locally.

Set Up and Optimize Google Business Page

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Creating and optimizing a Google Business Page is probably one of the most important tasks you can do to improve your local SEO and start ranking locally.

A few things to note:

  • Make sure you only fill in your exact business name. Don’t put industry keywords in the name just to rank better, it won’t work and goes again Google’s guidelines.
  • Categories must be as relevant as possible to your business. If you’re not sure what your category is then look at your competitors.
  • Keep your information consistent across your listings

Google My Business also allows businesses to add posts to their listing on Google Search and maps. There are many types of posts that can be uploaded, from new business announcements to highlighting popular products.

Google Business Posts can be a great way to advertise what your business is all about as well as get people onto your website. Here is a great guide to posting great content on Google My Business posts by Thrive Hive.

*Pro Tip* Claiming your Google My Business listing should be at the top of your list to improve your local SEO, however, there are other maps such as Bing Places and Apple Maps that are important to set up too.

Submit to Local Directories

Local directories are platforms that specifically cater to a particular geographic location or niche.

By submitting your business information to these directories, you increase your online visibility within your local community. This allows potential customers in your area to easily find and discover your business when they search for relevant products or services.

These citations and backlinks from reputable directories can contribute to your overall SEO efforts. Search engines consider these mentions of your business as references, helping to establish your online authority and credibility.

Search engines consider local directories as trusted sources of information. When your business is listed in reputable local directories, search engines are more likely to recognize your business as legitimate and relevant within the local context. This can positively impact your local search rankings, helping you appear higher in search engine results for local queries.

Remember, it’s essential to choose authoritative and relevant local directories that are popular in your target market. Focus on directories that are trusted by search engines and have a strong local presence. By strategically submitting to these directories, you can maximize your chances of improving your local SEO and attracting valuable local customers.

Ensure Correct NAP Across all Platforms

Your NAP (Name, address, phone number) information needs to be consistent across the web. This means your social media pages and local directories should contain the same, correct information. What’s important here is to make sure all your NAP information is consistent across all citations.

When search engines find consistent information about your business across various directories, it enhances your business’s trustworthiness and improves your local search visibility.

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NAP citation for Lupa, from their Facebook Page

*Pro Tip* To ensure that your NAP citations are all correct you would need to perform a citation audit and edit any incorrect citations. Moz has a great tool to view all your citations. You can manually find all your citations by searching on Google for your“Business name” + “partial address” -” correct phone number”.

After running a citation audit you would need to start creating new local citations, by submitting your information to local directories or top citation sources in your country or industry-specific citations ie. Yelp (for restaurants etc.)

Ask Client for Reviews

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Google reviews for Momo Kuro, from their Google My Business reviews page

Getting reviews is extremely beneficial to your local SEO listing. Reviews show users what other customers thought of your product or service and give a more human aspect to your business. Reviews show that consumers trust the business and Google likes to rank trust.

Link To Local Sites

Backlinking to local sites is also super beneficial for your local SEO. Websites and users love to link back to interesting, unique, and useful content. Therefore, you need to start doing the following to grow your local backlinks and exposure:

  1. Create a useful local resource like infographics and cover local topics
  2. Guest blog for local sites

Build Links from Local Businesses.

Building relationships and networking with local businesses go hand in hand with effective local SEO strategies. It’s not only crucial to link to other businesses in your community, but equally important to earn backlinks from those local businesses back to your own website. Backlinks, or incoming links from external websites, play a significant role in boosting your website’s authority and visibility in search engine rankings.

When local businesses in your area link back to your website, it signals to search engines that your website is a trusted and valuable resource. These backlinks act as votes of confidence, indicating that your content or offerings are worthy of recognition. Search engines interpret this as a signal to potentially rank your website higher in search results, increasing its visibility to local customers.

Furthermore, backlinks from local businesses can also drive referral traffic to your website. When visitors to those local websites come across the backlink to your website, they may click on it out of curiosity or interest. This traffic has the potential to convert into leads or customers, bringing new opportunities for your business.

Building relationships with local businesses and earning backlinks can be achieved through various strategies. Participating in local events, sponsoring community initiatives, or collaborating on projects with other businesses can all foster opportunities for link-building. Additionally, engaging in active networking, both online and offline, can lead to valuable connections that may result in backlink opportunities.

By fostering relationships with local businesses and earning quality backlinks, you can strengthen your online presence, expand your reach within the local community, and ultimately boost your business’s success.

Use Keywords To Target Local Traffic

By using keywords locally based keywords you can attract users who are specifically looking for local businesses and services. By including local keywords for your city, county, and nearby areas, you can increase your chances of attracting highly targeted local traffic. These potential customers are more likely to convert into leads or sales, as they are actively seeking businesses like yours in their local area.

Using local keywords attracts users who are actively looking for businesses like yours in your area. As a result, you receive traffic that is more likely to convert into leads or customers.

Add City Pages to Your Website

If you serve a few different local areas/cities then it is a good idea to create local landing pages or city pages. These are pages on your website that are optimized for a specific location-based term or keyword ie. “vegan bakery [location]” and “vegan restaurant [location]”. On these local landing pages, you can add your opening hours, local NAP as well as related keywords in the SEO copy.

*Pro Tip* You can also rank for relevant nearby locations as long as they aren’t too far from your business. Alsooptimise your homepage for your main location (if it makes sense to) by adding your NAP to your footer and a Google map showing your location.

Video: 4 Local SEO Marketing Strategies to Build Your Brick And Mortar Business

How Does Local SEO Help Small Businesses

The benefits of Local SEO are enormous. By utilizing local SEO strategies, you can increase your visibility, attract targeted traffic, build a strong online reputation, and gain a competitive advantage in your local market. Investing in local SEO strategies can lead to long-term business growth and success.

Some of the main benefits of Local SEO include:

1. Helps Online Visibility

Local SEO plays a crucial role in enhancing your online visibility and attracting quality, relevant traffic. Consider the following scenario: Imagine two users searching for legal services—one simply types “lawyer,” while the other searches for “lawyer near me.” Now, which user is more likely to convert into a client? Undoubtedly, it’s the user who can find a lawyer in close proximity with a strong online presence.

By implementing effective local SEO strategies, you ensure that your business appears prominently when potential customers search for products or services in your local area. This increased visibility gives you an edge over other local businesses in your competitive space. It allows you to compete on equal footing and capture a larger share of the local market.

2. Highly Targeted Traffic

Local SEO allows you to attract highly targeted traffic. When your website ranks well for relevant local search queries, you’re more likely to attract users who are specifically interested in your products or services in your area. This targeted traffic has a higher likelihood of converting into leads or customers, resulting in increased sales and business growth.

3. Cost-Effective Marketing

Local SEO is generally more cost-effective than traditional advertising methods, such as print media or billboards. With local SEO, you can target your efforts specifically to your desired geographic area, reaching potential customers who are more likely to convert. Additionally, online directories and platforms often offer free or low-cost listing options, making it accessible for businesses with various budget sizes.

4. Enhanced Online Reputation

Local SEO allows you to actively manage and improve your online reputation. By encouraging customers to leave reviews and ratings on platforms like Google My Business, Yelp, or industry-specific directories, you can build trust and credibility. Positive reviews can attract more customers while addressing negative reviews demonstrates your commitment to customer satisfaction.

5. Improved Google Maps Visibility

Local SEO is closely tied to Google Maps, as many local searches trigger map results. Optimizing your business information, such as name, address, phone number (NAP), and category, helps Google understand your location and display your business prominently on the map. This increases your visibility and makes it easier for customers to find and visit your physical location.

6. Competitive Advantage

Implementing effective local SEO strategies can give you a competitive edge over businesses that haven’t optimized their online presence for local searches. If your competitors are neglecting local SEO, you have an opportunity to stand out and capture a larger share of the local market. By appearing higher in search results, you increase the chances of customers choosing your business over competitors.

7. Community Engagement

Local SEO can help small businesses connect with their local community and foster engagement. By participating in local directories, events, or sponsorships, small businesses can build relationships with customers and establish themselves as active community members. This community engagement can lead to increased loyalty and word-of-mouth referrals.

Checklist To Improving Your Local SEO Right Now!

Local SEO Tips

  • Claim your Google My Business Place Listing
  • Set up any other relevant maps ie. Bing Places or Apple Maps
  • Create city pages for your website
  • Post updates & pictures to Google Business page
  • Add NAP information to your business social media accounts
  • Sign up for local business directories (general & specific to your services)
  • Build links to local sites (guest blogging, infographics)
  • Ask for reviews on Sites like Yelp, Google Business Directory

Conclusion

Local SEO empowers small businesses to compete in their local market, attract targeted traffic, build a strong online reputation, and connect with their community.

By investing in local SEO strategies, small businesses can maximize their online presence, increase visibility, and ultimately drive business growth.

Infographic: Checklist All Website Owners Should Follow

If you’re wanting more info check out Bipper Media’s more in depth blog on city pages

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Author: Paula Clyde is involved in managing the SEO and Google Ads accounts at The Weblab. This means doing anything from writing new blog posts and ads to understanding the data that comes through to be able to tweak and optimize their performance. Connect with her on LinkedIn.

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