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Small Business Owner's Guide to Local SEO

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Search engine optimization (SEO) isn’t just for big businesses. As a small business, local SEO can be a powerful marketing tool. Local SEO is an effective, affordable way to generate leads, grow your business, and compete with big brands. In this post, we’ll walk through the basics of local SEO and share tips on how to optimize your business. 

What is Local SEO?

As a small business owner, you’ve likely heard the term SEO. However, many small businesses may not understand local SEO. When someone searches for a business on Google or other search engines, the results are influenced by the searcher’s current location. For example, if someone searches the terms ‘coffee shop near me’, they will be shown a list of coffee shops in their specific area. Local SEO consists of optimizing your small business for these types of searches so you will rank higher than competitors in your same area. 

There are many benefits of local SEO. It helps you reach locals who are actively searching for your product or service. It also helps to add authenticity to your small business on the Internet. If your small business appears first on Google Maps or in a local search, potential customers are more likely to view your business as legitimate.

Factors That Affect SEO for a Small Businesses Owner

According to Google, “Local results are based primarily on relevance, distance, and prominence. These factors are combined to help find the best match for your search.” Here are a few ways to improve your local SEO ranking. 

1.      Improve your Google Business Info

Creating a Google My Business listing is one of the easiest ways to appear in local searches.  If you devote just 15 minutes of your time to this free tool, it will make a huge impact on your small business. To learn how to use the tool, check out our post, Tips to Improve Your Small Business Google Listing. 

2.      Embed Google Maps in Your Website

Thanks to the Google Maps Embed API, you can add a street view or map to your website, which can also help improve local SEO rankings. To do this, follow Google’s instructions here

3.      Get On-page SEO Right

To improve your local search rankings, you should focus on your content and on-page SEO.

You should take time to develop quality content that is properly structured and organically integrates keywords. Here are a few of the most important SEO factors from a content perspective:

  • Meta-title: This is the clickable text that shows up on a search results page. It appears in a browser’s title bar when viewing your page. A well-chosen meta-title is critical to catching the user’s attention and telling them what your webpage is about. It should be between 55–60 characters in length and use core keywords in a natural way.

  • Meta-description: This is the description text displayed directly beneath the title. It should provide a more detailed explanation of what the content is about in under 300 characters.

  • Body content: Your website’s body content is equally important. Your content should focus on what matters to your audience. You can integrate your target keywords throughout your content, but in a reader-friendly way where the keywords make sense contextually. 

4.      Ask for Reviews

According to Google, review count and score can also improve a business’s local ranking – the more positive reviews your business has, the better your local SEO ranking will be. Good reviews will also encourage potential customers to choose your business over competitors. One great way to encourage customers to leave reviews for your business is to add links to review sites on your website. You could also include review information on your business card. If you happen to receive a negative review, make sure to address it in a courteous, professional manner. 

5.      Get Links from Websites in your Local Area

Your website’s popularity is important to how you rank on local search engine results. If more people in your area are clicking to your site, your ranking will be higher. One tactic is to get inbound links from other sites that lead to your site. 

One way to do this is by creating newsworthy posts and website content that other sites are encouraged to share. To get some more ideas on how your website can get local links, check out the article What Is a Local Backlink & How to Find Them. 

Each of these tactics can help your small business build relevance and prominence on Google. By improving your local SEO, you’ll be on track to improve the visibility of your business on the Internet.

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