7 Local SEO Tips For Your Small Business
Not all businesses need to reach a national or international audience. Many SEO tips can work for local search, but your website has to be optimized appropriately to reach that local audience.
For example, say you run a heating and AC repair company in Richmond, VA. If your website is filled with the keywords, “AC repair”, “heating repair”, and so on, you’re reaching a very broad audience with huge competition for search results. Instead, you would use something like, “ac repair in Richmond”, “heating repair in Richmond” and so on. Now your keywords are specific and will stand out better with your local search audience.
A word of caution before we get started: don’t get sucked into black hat SEO techniques. Google is cracking down on black hat SEO techniques and they will punish your site if you do any of the following:
– Using duplicate or spun content – always create original content for your website
– Loading your content with keywords – add keywords to your content, just don’t overload it to the point where it’s difficult to read or looks spammy
– Using nonsense keywords – focus with keywords that are truly relevant to your business
If you’re a local business who needs to reach local customers, then pay attention to these tips to optimize your local SEO reach.
Research Keywords – In order to know which keywords, you should be focusing on, outside of just talking about your city, you should do some research. This includes researching your competitors to see what they’re doing and how you could out-rank them. Use a free or paid research tool to do SEO keyword search. Narrow down the top 10 keywords that people use in your area for your type of service. Place those keywords in an Excel sheet or something similar and make sure to use them!
Google My Business – If you’re not in control of your Google My Business page, then you’re losing out on customers! Google My Business is an integral part of building your local brand. With Google My Business you can post updates about what’s new, make sure your proper website, phone numbers and hours are displayed, respond to reviews and even add photos! It’s a great way to stand out, get noticed and engage with your local customers. Something else that’s really awesome is that if you’re a service that requires bookings, customers can book right from the Google My Business page! Anything you can do to make your customers’ lives easier, do it!
Optimize Your Website – In the intro to this article I scratched the surface on why local keywords are important, but here are some additional tips on how to optimize your website for local SEO. Add the name of your city to every page title. Create new pages for each city your company does business in. Make sure all content on every page talks about the cities you do business with on a regular basis, but don’t bog it down too much with your keywords. Too many keywords is bad, not enough is bad. The copy needs to sound natural, with some keywords slipped in every so often.
Optimize Images – Images are an extremely powerful search category. Many people will search for something simply to look at the pictures. Make sure your images are properly optimized to show up in the search results by;
– Making original images for your website, instead of using stock.
– Make sure the file name contains proper keywords.
– Reduce the file size to 1mb or lower
– Create a unique description using your keywords in the alt text area. If people are interested in learning more about the image, they can click on the ‘visit’ box next to the image and be directed to your site.
Claim Social Media Profiles – Whether you plan to use the profiles right away or not, at least claim the profiles under your business name. Claim your business name under Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram and anywhere else you think might be a good social media site for your business either now or in the future. Set up each profile with your logo, business name, website and small bio.
Get Link Backs – Link building is one of the best ways to show Google that you’re an authority in your field and should be pushed to the top. Link building simply means that other sites are linking back to your website for one reason or another. You want to make sure that you’re getting backlinks from reputable, trusted sources. You don’t want a backlink just for a backlink; be picky and choosy about where your site is linked from. For instance, a great source for a backlink is a local news article. Your local news websites are well trusted and respected and a link back from their websites will absolutely give your website high credibility. Another way to get a good link back is through a local blogger, such as by doing a guest post, sponsored post or maybe they do a review of your website/services. Getting link backs from social media can also help to boost your website.
Reviews – Being listed on sites such as Yelp, Angie’s List, Google and Facebook and getting reviews on those sites, helps to boost your website and business. Whether they’re bad or good reviews, make your customers feel appreciated for their review by thanking them or offering to help make their experience better. Remember, word of mouth (either online or in person) is also going to be a great way to build your brand!
Remember, getting a consistently high-ranking site on Google can take time. Do your due diligence with finding keywords and implementing them, don’t be spammy and be as helpful as you can be to your customers. In the end, it’s all about the customer and their experience with your brand. The internet makes it easy to find your business, as well as your competitors business. Do everything you can to stand out from the noise.