Search Engine Optimization for Local Business is in the forefront of any small or local businesses growth. This is due to the fact that the purchasing behavior of consumers has already shifted from traditional to digital. This means that your target market essentially searches for businesses online first, before visiting the physical location of the said business.
For this reason, prioritize on ranking high on every search results by using this guide on search engine optimization for local business!
Search Engine Optimization for Local Business
Ranking on top of every search results is an essential factor in the growth of your business especially during these days, consumers do an online search first.
Before, people need to visit physical locations to know what business owners can offer. However this purchasing behavior has changed with electronic devices such as mobile phones and tablets that are easily connected on the Internet. Due to this fact, consumers right now search for online recommendations first before buying a product or a service.
With this change in the purchasing behaviors of your target market, you should be digitally-inclined. This means that because they are going digital, you should also make your local business be seen on online platforms, specifically search engines.
Search engines are mainly used for online searching. These platforms are what your consumers are using in order to search for businesses near them. These include Google, Bing and Yahoo, the most popular search engines used by almost 4.48 billions of people across the globe.
Besides, according to Google, the biggest search engine platform, that 46% of searches have local intent. This means that you should utilize the “where to buy” and “near me” queries because these have grown by over 200% in the past two years. So, because your target market are in these platforms, you should strongly consider using these as a way to market your products and services.
As an owner of a local business, whether you aim to increase the reach of your business to the local or global market, you should consider using strategies that would increase your visibility on these platforms. Hence, you should incorporate search engine optimization for local business with your overall marketing strategies.
Search engine optimization (SEO) refers to the process of optimizing your online presence through relevant searches. Also, if your goal is to maximize your visibility on specific local areas, then you can use local SEO.
The difference between these two is that SEO specifies on a wide variety of audience while local SEO aims to target a market in a specific area. Take it as this way. In maximizing SEO, you create an optimized website and post content and blogs to generate targeted traffic into your business. On the other hand, local SEO focuses on registering your business to local listing sites to gather targeted market.
Although these two differs on the geographic, these are still the same in one thing. These aims to improve your ranking on search engine platforms to increase your website audience and visitors of your physical store.
Search Engine Optimization for Local Business Advantages
SEO is a free digital marketing strategy that you can use to gain success on the Internet. As more people do online local searches first, then hitting the top spot of every search engine results page (SERP) will guarantee more customers for your local business.
Also, other than the main objective of increasing sales and revenue, there are other benefits that you can gain in using search engine optimization for local business. Hence, here are the main advantages of using SEO for your business that will lead to an increase in your sales and your business’ success.
Improve search engine ranking
In improving your SEO whether on local listing sites and in your website, this triggers search engines to increase your rank on the platform. And the key here is content and citation.
A huge part of SEO triggers are website content. Websites serve as a resume to search engines. They won’t know about your local business if you don’t have a site. However, this doesn’t mean that you should just build a website and that’s it. Structure your website accordingly and provide ease of use whether your target market is using it on mobile and other electronic devices.
This also implies that if your website has no content, then search engines won’t work in crawling, indexing, and ranking your website. So, start blogging and posting various digital content into your website.
Other than that, citations also helps increase your visibility on this platform. To give you an idea, online citation simply refers to any mentions of your company’s business details such as your number, address, and phone number.
This indicates that the more information about your business are seen online, the more it will trigger search engines to show your business details when someone search for keywords referring about your business details. So, you should list your business on various directory listings such as Google My Business, Yelp, and TripAdvisor.
Increase targeted website traffic
As said above, your website should provide information and content to help search engines crawl, index, and rank your site. When done perfectly, this triggers these platforms to rank your website on top of the SERP which in return will help you increasing website traffic.
Ranking on search engine platforms is the fastest way to increase website traffic. When consumers see your website on every query regarding your industry and related keywords, this will provide them an idea that your content is valuable enough to be on the top results. Therefore, they will visit your website and read your content.
Just keep in mind that in ensuring a more targeted traffic, make sure that your website is fully-optimized. Check the design of your site if it is responsive on all electronic devices and if it loads quickly.
Then, link other websites and businesses and other content that you find related to your current page as this gives credibility in your content. Also, make sure that you provide a full SEO metadata to search engine platforms. Hence, improve your on-page, off-page, and technical SEO to improve your ranking and to target more website traffic.
Search engine platforms provide the most targeted people into your business. This refers to those people that are most interested in what your business offers. So, by improving SEO, you are not just informing people about your local business, you are also enticing your target market in visiting your physical store and becoming your customers.
Consider that your target market is not just scrolling on the Internet, they are purposively searching for local businesses to visit. Take a person who is looking for a new restaurant for example. It is probable that this person will search the terms ‘restaurant near me’ or ‘restaurant in’ followed by his location.
In using these keywords, this triggers search engines to provide the nearest restaurant in the area which in return prompt that person to visit the most pleasing restaurant he could find. Besides, according to Google that individuals who used the above keywords have actually visited the stores.
So, to make sure that you’re visible when your target market is searching for businesses near them, list your company to directory listing sites, optimize your details, and make sure that all of these are the same and up-to-date.
Strengthen business authority
Making sure that your content is valuable and your listings are optimized are key in strengthening the authority of your local business in the Internet.
When people search for a business and it doesn’t even have a website or cannot be seen in local listing platforms, it lessens the credibility of that business. Take into consideration that 4 in 5 consumers use these platforms to find local information.
So, when your business are always seen on a specific and industry-related keyword and on the top of any search results, this prompts consumers to think that you are a credible business and is worthy to be visited in person and your local business.
Aside from website optimization and content creation, make sure that you manage your reputation on local listing platforms. Keep in mind that these sites provide your past and current customers the ability to review your products and services and rate your business.
For this reason, these reviews are one of the key factors that prompts search engines to rank your business on the first page of the SERP. So, regularly acquire new reviews, and respond quickly to queries and negative reviews because this affects your SEO ranking.
Search Engine Optimization for Local Business Tips
Before establishing a rank on the first page of the search engine results page (SERP), there are different tactics that you should use altogether. Besides, SEO doesn’t have one rule to success. Instead, you need to ensure that all of your on-page, off-page, and technical SEO are perfectly settled in your website.
To give you an idea of the difference between these three SEO tactics, here’s a definition of these simple but essential aspect of your SEO’s success. Firstly, on-page SEO refers to both content and HTML source code of a page that signals search engines on what your website is all about.
Then, technical SEO refers to your website’s structure. Lastly, in contrary to both technical and on-page SEO, off-page search engine optimization refers to external signals like mentions, backlinks, and social signals.
These three tactics are important in your overall SEO. Without using the other, you will be left with an ongoing but ineffective strategy. Take it like how a domino effect happens. Without having a carefully-established website and content, search engines will identify this as a negative one so instead of putting you on the SERP’s first page, you will fall on its lowest part.
Also, this affects the experience of your audience and customers that are viewing your website. Hence, you are using tactics that are useless that achieves nothing in your goals.
However, you can avoid these by using these effective tips that are used to improve these three tactics on search engine optimization for local businesses.
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The first thing that you should consider in establishing a name online is your website. This platform serves as the main area for you to spread your branding, message, and campaigns. This also acts as your online marketplace where you sell your products and services. So, you need to optimize this to both search engines and target customers.
To start with website optimization, you should buy a domain name and web hosting to website creation platforms such as WordPress. Keep in mind that you are building the name of your local business so you should create a professionally-looking website.
Then, present your website like how you introduce your business to your customers. Provide your business details like your location, phone numbers, email address, and other important information that would clearly identify how your target market can contact your local business.
Also, customize your website by adding your branding, company logo, and other types of content as this gives personality about your business. Hence, perfectly present your business because your customers surely want to know more about your business.
Lastly, optimize your website. Internet users don’t want to open websites that takes too long to respond as this mainly annoys them forcing them to close the platform. However, you can avoid this by choosing a design that is responsive to all devices and is easy to navigate.
Make sure that you resolve these three points because this affects your audience’s experience. The more people bounce off your website, the more it triggers search engines that your content don’t provide value to these people. Hence, your website’s SEO will rank low.
Maximize reach through local listing
Keywords such as ‘near me’ triggers search engines to provide the most appropriate businesses on the SERP. Even when you list your business to other local listing platforms, search engines will still think of it as a trigger to increase your rank so these platforms will place your listing on the utmost part of the search results. This only means that the more searchable you are, the more search engines will recommend you to people who are searching for businesses in your locality.
However, the search engines also value other metrics before prioritizing your listing. These platforms provide the best results according to the user’s intent. So, the best thing that you should do is to keep your listing optimized across all platforms.
Make sure that your business details are the same on all of these listing websites. Provide your business name, address, phone numbers and other contact details and check that all of these are accurate and up-to-date.
Also, add pictures about your business. Upload pictures of your logo, physical store, and other parts of your business that will provide your target market the idea on what your business really is.
Then, don’t forget to utilize Google My Business’ special feature which lets you post various content like announcements, offers, event details, and whatnot with CTAs. Remember that local listing sites are like your website. Because these platforms help search engines know more about your local business, you should also list your business and optimize your content herein.
Moreover, you should also improve your customer’s experience on the platform. Ask past and current customers to rate your products and services and post their reviews and pictures.
In doing this, they are not just helping other customers, they are also helping you improve your online ranking and pinpoint your services that needs improvement. Then, when prospects ask questions about your business, you should answer their queries and help them decide on what to do next.
Keep in mind that these local listing platforms helps your searchability, so use these platforms to directly communicate with your target market.
Improve your blog’s permalink structure
Permalinks are the web address of your website. This Uniform Resource Locator (URL) helps your website visitors and search engines to understand what your content is all about. Also, URLs are one of the factors search engines use to classify if your site is SEO-friendly. So, you should improve all of your website’s permalink structure.
If you have a content on how to use your services, then this should be shown in your URL. If your link is link this: yourlink.com/?p=100, this link is not optimized.
Instead, make the said link into: yourlink.com/how-to-use-our-services as this is more descriptive and carefully analyze what the content is. Hence, in using the optimized permalink, you are telling your target market and search engines on what its content is all about.
Aside from that, URL is used as a categorization system. With this, your audience will know on which part of your website they currently are. This also helps the search engines to easily identify what information searchers will access on your blog. Hence, you should check your permalink and make sure that it is categorized properly.
Optimize content for voice search
Voice search has grown rapidly over the years. With technologies like smart speaker devices and voice assistants like Siri and Alexa, people can just use their voice to search for something without having to tap on their keyboards and smartphones. Hence, with this trend expanding, you should optimize your content according to voice search.
To do this, curate your content on how people ask questions. When people use voice search, they essentially use more long-tail keywords. With this, make your content more conversational and answer all the necessary questions for each of your content. Besides, user’s intent is crucial in online searching.
So, using this new trend on using voice to search for information, create content that covers all questions regarding your business.
Focus on long-tail keywords
Search engines now prioritize the user’s intent and with more people using voice search, incorporate this in your keywords too. Because the key here is natural and not forced, focus on long-tail keywords.
These keywords are longer and is often question-based as these associate with the goal of your audience. For example, short keywords like “business documents” is less impactful than a long-tail keyword like “how to get business documents.”
Besides, the former keyword could answer another thing such as what these are and others. So, you should use long-tail keywords as it targets the right traffic that can easily be converted into customers.
Significantly, avoid keyword stuffing. Maximizing keywords is essential in getting traffic from search engine platform. However, don’t incorporate too much keywords in your content because this hurts your SEO and you might have a penalty from search engines that will put your website and business name at stake.
Instead, only focus on one to two long-tail keywords and strategically place this all over your content.
Use proper header tags
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Headings are important in making your content organized. These mainly help your readers and search engines to understand what the structure and each section of your contents are. Hence, this boosts your SEO and improves your user’s experience.
Header tags are divided by numbers. Heading 1 (H1) should be used for your content’s title. H2 will then follow the H1 to serve as a subheading that divides your content in digestible chunks. Then, H3 will be underneath the H2 to describe the content of subheading.
Sections of each subheading will then be divided for H4, H5, and so forth. Keep in mind that these tags should be used to structure your content. So, use these accordingly.
Other than that, you can also include your keywords in these headings. However, carefully place these keywords so that it won’t annoy your readers and be at risk for penalization. Hence, insert your keywords in the headings in a natural and friendly manner.
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To maximize engagement, you need to add images in your content. Whether it’s an infographic or a picture of your business interiors, you need to incorporate these in your content to captivate audience as well as boost your SEO ranking.
Technically, search engines cannot see pictures and they can only understand what your image is all about if you post this together with an alt text. Alternative text (alt text) are words or phrases that tells search engines the content of the image. Keep in mind that consumers are also search visually.
So, by telling search engines what your images are all about, you can rank on every search engine’s image results page.
Just remember that images are also another form of content. Describe your image appropriately by only adding keywords that significantly tell what it is about.
Improve title tag and meta description
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When people search online, the first thing that they see on the platform are your title tag and meta descriptions. The title tags are essentially the title of your content while the meta description is an additional text that lets the readers know what the link is all about. Because of this, you should optimize these two to make sure that online searchers will click your content.
The first thing to consider is your title tag. These are primarily highlighted on the search results so you should optimized it. Include your main keyword on the first few words of the title tag. Make sure that it will really make your target audience click and read your content.
Then, check if it the 50-60 characters of your page title because if it didn’t, search engines will cut the last part of your title. So, when your title is too long and your keyword is written on the end part, your audience will not really know the purpose of your content.
Then, carefully describe your content with meta description. Written below the title, this is the second thing that your target market will look to know more about your overall content. Due to this, keep it under 155 characters so that, like the title, search engines won’t cut its lines too.
Lastly, make sure that these two are concise. Because these are key in getting more clicks and website visitors, keep it engaging and perfectly paint a picture to your customers. Hence, by making sure that you clearly describes the body of your content, you increase the chance of your content to be viewed by your prospects.
Fix broken links
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Broken links affect your audiences and SEO. With a broken link, this provides a bad user experience to your audience and they will certainly get frustrated if they found that there is nothing on your page aside from the statement that it is broken.
Then, this also affects your ranking because this restricts the flow of link equity throughout your website. So, you should certainly find and fix broken links.
You can use Google Analytics for free to find your broken links. Just create a filter at the bottom stating your site’s 404 error page title in the box after the “Filter Page Title: Containing.” Then, click the “Go” button and you will be presented with a detailed preview of all of the broken links.
Lastly, you can email or export the results for you to go to the next step which is analyzing and redirecting.
Boost your site’s loading speed
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Both search engines and your audience are annoyed to your website’s slow loading speed. The slower it load, the greater the chance for website visitors to bounce off of your website. Hence, because this is one of the signals used by algorithms to rank your website, this will restrict the flow of link equity and give an idea to search engines that your website don’t provide value to audiences.
To ensure that your website loads fast, optimize your website by using a responsive design. A lot of people are already using smartphones and tablets to search for businesses near them. For this reason, you need to make sure that your website still provide that ease of use even when opened to various electronic devices.
Also, you should reduce the size of your images, improve server response time, reduce redirects, and enable compression. Make sure that you resolve your website’s loading speed so that no audience will bounce off of your website.
Link internal content
In building your brand name, getting links are important as this improves your brand’s authority. However, if you are still building your name online, you should start linking your internal content.
Internal linking is a marketing tactic that you can do if you want to attach pages of your website that are connected to each other. You can simply add external links in any of your blog’s content or add statements such as “Read Also” together with the title of the content you want to link.
By linking internal content, this improves your SEO in three ways. First, it allows users to navigate your website without going back to search engine platforms to search for content that can already be found in your website.
Then, this establishes a hierarchy of all of your information. Lastly, this spreads equal ranking of all of your content throughout your website.
Get backlinks and mentions
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When a lot of people are talking about your local business online, this triggers search engines to rank your local business on top of every search results. One thing that helps this is through backlinks and mentions.
Backlinks simply refers to inbound signals that includes a link into your website while mentions don’t. However, these two still signals search engines that your website or business is an authority in your industry.
So, to get these two inbound signals, you need to create valuable and top-notch content that are not just valuable to your readers but also to other businesses.
Keep in mind that like other SEO signals, these should follow the rules of search engines to avoid penalization. Make sure that your backlinks and mentions are not spams and from credited and authoritative website.
So, to check mentions, you can simply search for your business name online while you need tools like Moz’ Link Explorer to track backlinks.
Top Tools to Use for your Search Engine Optimization for Local Business
Managing an online presence particularly on search engine platforms requires a deep knowledge on how SEO works. Luckily, there are various SEO tools that will help you in accomplishing these marketing tactics for search engine optimization for local businesses. Hence, we have these top SEO tools that will help you in managing your online reputation.
Google My Business
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Manage how your local business appears to your target customers and utilize the ‘near me’ feature with Google My Business.
It is a fact that Google is the biggest search engine on the Internet and billions of consumers are searching on this platform for the nearest businesses around them. Just by listing your business on this tool, you are allowing your target market to see what your business is, how to reach you, and what other people think about you. Hence, this can help you increase the visibility of your business as well as your sales.
In utilizing this tool, you should optimize your listing details. Provide better information about your local business by adding your company’s key details. Also, you should utilize the posting feature of this tool by publishing content about your business and your industry and adding call-to-actions (CTAs) such as ‘buy now’ and ‘visit the website.’ Most importantly, learn more on what your customers think about your products and services by monitoring and replying to their customer reviews.
Make sure that you carefully analyze all of your customer reviews. Whether it is a good review or not, it is your responsibility to keep everything about your business clean. Be thankful to those who left a five star reviews and communicate privately to address the bad reviews. Hence, make sure that you provide the best service that you can offer to your target market.
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As a local business owner, you should have an idea on what the latest trends are in your industry and locality. Understand more about this by using Google Trend.
This is a search trends tool that Google offered to help local business owners and digital marketers analyze a specific trend. For this reason, you can utilize this to monitor industry-related trends, evaluate these and compare against other keywords, and come up with effective keywords that are helpful in creating better content for your website.
Also, you can use this Search Engine Optimization for Local Business tool to monitor your competitor’s position in the said search engine. Hence, you can use this to assess the total search volumes of a specific trends depending on variables such as time, date, and region.
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Another Search Engine Optimization for Local Business tool that you should check out is Ubbersugest. It is also a tool that will help you in choosing what content to post on your website based on keywords.
This is a free tool that generates new keyword and content ideas by analyzing the term that you have added in the platform’s search bar. In using this tool, you will be given a keyword overview that checks the overall metrics of the term such as search volume and age range, SEO and paid difficulty, and cost per click.
Then, this will provide you keyword ideas based on search volume and content ideas from published content individual with its individual metrics analysis.
Other than that, this tool also lets you perform a site audit. Through this, you can have an idea of your on-page SEO score, organic keywords and monthly traffic, and backlinks. This also checks the site speed and pages of your website to see if there are critical errors. If there is, your top SEO issue will be provided together with warnings and recommendations.
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Your content is one of your main assets as this provides your business authority. Search engine platforms check the content of each website to see which one should be placed on the top part of the results page.
However, if your contents are copied without you noticing it, this strongly affects your SEO. This is why, you should always perform a content audit through Copyscape.
This tool detects plagiarized content elsewhere on the Internet. Simply enter your website’s URL and this tool will scan the entire Web to check if there’s a duplicate content of your pages. If a content is plagiarized, this tool will provide you with results that you can click to see the word-by-word comparison.
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Build the name of your local business with an established and SEO-ready content. Accomplish this by using Yoast SEO which is a built-in plugin in WordPress.
This tool mainly helps local businesses to rank better on search engine platforms in terms of content and readability. When it comes to content, this tool will analyze your overall content if you stuffed too many keywords, links, and other aspects of creating a SEO-ready content.
With this, you will be provided with suggestions regarding your title, meta descriptions, images, and others to improve its SEO. Then, this will also provide details if your content is readable or not by checking your sentences’ character percentage and other aspects in making sure that your content is not too long to read.
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Creating content without even thinking of how it will turn out when searched online provides a negative output in your SEO ranking. With this, you need to make sure that your title tag and meta description are perfectly placed on search engine platforms. Hence, you need a tool like SEO Mofo.
This free tool provides you a platform to check how your snippet looks like when published. In using this, you will be provided with toolbars that lets you put your title, meta description, URL, rich snippet text, rating, and date of publication. Hence, with this free yet effective snippet optimization tool, you can strategically construct your listings on search engine platforms.
Google PageSpeed Insights
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The speed of your website pages need to be checked constantly as this helps your SEO ranking by making sure that there are no audience bouncing off your website.
In order to do this, you need Google PageSpeed Insights. This is a free web performance tool that will help you check the performance of your overall website pages and identify ways to make your site load faster and be mobile-friendly. In terms of scoring, if you gather a score of 90% and above, then this means that your website loads fast.
Also, if it ranges from 50-89% this means that you still need some improvement in your website. However, if it is below these two percentages, you really need a major improvement. Hence, check everything on your website from its content into its structure.
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Tracking your website’s progress, understanding your audience’s behaviors, and analyzing its results are essential in making sure that it is SEO-friendly.
On matters like this, one of the best tools that you should use is Google Analytics. This is a free search data tracking tool that lets you monitor and assess your website’s activities such as keywords searchers used to find your website, their demographics and interests, referral sources, and other metrics such as engagement, bounce rate and others. Hence, with this tool, you can get useful insights on how you can improve your website.
Gone are the days where people go to physical stores only to find that the products and services of the staff are awful. Instead, they go to search engines, check the proximity and ratings of the businesses, and choose which to visit.
This is how the purchasing behavior of your target market are changing and as a marketer, you should also be on this trend. Hence, you should also be promoting your business on the digital market.
As a local business owner, you should not be afraid of expanding the reach of your company online. Even with a low budget, you can still be on the place where your target market search for businesses to visit which in this case on search engine platforms.
These platforms have the largest active users worldwide encompassing on almost 4.48 billions of people across the globe. For this reason, business owners and digital marketers are already advertising their company on the platform.
Hence, the start of Search Engine Optimization for Local Business, or the process of maximizing your online presence through targeting relevant search keywords in the local search.
However, this doesn’t mean that you have to be aligned on the most powerful and globally-renowned brands. You can still market your business to the local market by using local SEO which lets you manage your reputation by listing your business to directory listing sites such as Google My Business and Bing Places for Business.
On a final note, SEO might require time, resources, and focus but this marketing strategy is significantly beneficial in increasing the reach of your business. Besides, there are various effective SEO tactics and tools that you can use in effectively accomplishing this digital marketing strategy.
So, use this guide on search engine optimization for local business to improve your SEO ranking, increase website visitors, generate qualified leads, and most importantly, strengthens your reputation whether on the local or global market.