Local SEO Basics

January 10, 2022 by First Federal Bank

SEO-1Search engine optimization is a key part of marketing your local small business. A well-optimized website and strong SEO strategy can raise awareness of your services, attract customers, and put your company at the top of Google search results. Here’s how you can get started with giving your enterprise a boost:

Encourage customer reviews

You can show search engines your company is reputable by courting customer reviews. Entrepreneur contributor Tom Popomaronis suggests giving your patrons a gentle nudge, via email or an on-paper reminder, to leave reviews on your Google My Business profile or your company’s other review pages. For instance, upon completing a contracting job, you could leave a business card or send a follow-up email asking for a review. Popomaronis also mentions it’s helpful to respond to every review — whether it’s praise or criticism. Responding to a critical review shows future customers you’re willing to work hard to do right by your customers. And on the other hand, thanking customers can reinforce their enthusiasm of your company.

Get familiar with Google

According to local SEO expert Miriam Ellis, Google accounts for 92 percent of the market share when it comes to helping customers locate nearby small business. Therefore, it’s crucial to understand the search engine’s rules for your company’s website and Google My Business profile, since compliance issues can lead to your site being penalized or delisted. To complicate matters further, Google has guidelines that differ based on which of the 10 categories your company falls into. So, to avoid getting in hot water with the search engine giant, take some time to familiarize yourself with the support document entitled “The Guidelines for Representing Your Business on Google.” It details common pitfalls, such as listing too many categories for your company, or providing inaccurate information on your profile.

Optimize your website

One of the best (and simplest) ways to optimize your website is to make sure essential information is easily accessible to both your customers and Google’s web crawlers. Once you’ve filled out the entirety of your Google My Business profile, Ellis encourages you to make sure your company’s website and social media pages have the same accurate information. Crucial data includes your company’s address, operating hours, contact information, a description of its services, and key geographic terms, like the names of the towns and regions that you serve.

Research trends and competitors

To climb your way through the search rankings, Ellis suggests using Google Trends to gain insight into what your customers are searching for. This can help you guide your inventory ordering and tailor your services to suit local needs. On top of that, you can also hone your SEO by looking into your competitors. If they’re outranking you, Ellis recommends that you comb through their site and take notes on where you could improve.

Who needs local SEO?

If you do business solely online, with no in-person interactions, then local SEO won’t benefit you — however, it’s critical for companies who serve clients face-to-face. Ellis explains Google classifies business into 10 different categories. These include home-based businesses, such as daycares, brick-and-mortar retail establishments, Service Area Business, which travel to the customer, and solo practitioners, among many others. All of these ventures can benefit from locally specialized search engine optimization, and should follow specific SEO rules set forth by Google.

If you’re looking for more ways to give your business a boost in the search algorithm, consider consulting with an expert at an SEO agency.

Categories: Small Business, Entrepreneurship

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