Local SEO: The Perfect Guide for Small Business to Thrive
Do you find it challenging to get your local business top-ranked on Google, Bing, Maps, and other local search engines? Will the potential customers opt for you among the other businesses in your area that offer the desired products and services? Whether it is business-relevant or to achieve the localized customers and clients, the only solution to the above is local SEO (Search Engine Optimization).
It is integral for businesses that operate on a regional level and solely promote products, services, or brands to local leads and customers. This article aims to give you a clear understanding of why and how local SEO is essential for small businesses.
What is Local SEO?
It is the practice to optimize a business, brand, product, or service to rank for a search query specific to a particular geographical location. The search queries are the nifty search terms that mean local in every way possible, for instance:
- Cafes and bars near me.
- Drools puppy food starter pack in Hyderabad.
- Dentists or salons are open now.
When a customer performs a local search for a respective service or product, the search engines like Google, Bing collect the user location through IP address (for desktop) and geolocation (for mobile phones) to display location-specific results.
Local SEO plays an integral role in making your brick-and-mortar businesses stand out in specific towns, cities, regions, and even states. In this way, the customers will have easy and quick access to your business products and services online and offline. The local search results displayed to a prospect depends on the content, social profiles, link, reviews, and citations.
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Concept of Local Search Result
Local SEO is like Google searches. When a user types into a search bar, Google doesn’t always do a live exploration of the whole internet. Instead, it scans through a stored copy that contains all the discovered websites. This stored copy is Google Index which updates the sites and connections when found.
With the Local SEO in the picture, Google’s local search algorithm uses a proximity factor that is user location is taken into account while searching for a local keyword. Usually, it happens when a place name or ‘near me’ is not specified in the search bar. Then, the relevant sites are listed and ranked by prominence.
The local search results have two parts: Local Organic Results (website) and the Local Pack (Google My Business). The right strategy in place can include several aspects to improve the online presence of a business.
- Paid Ads – Displayed above the Local Pack
- GMB – Local Pack
- Organic – Displayed below the Local Pack
These local packs differ based on the query and business type like for brands, restaurants, hotels. Over the years, the local search has been around. But it was not much in demand because a majority of users had desktop computers. The recent increase in mobile network access has made local search engine optimization an essential component of any local business rendering its product and service.
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Unique Ranking Factors
Google and other search engines constantly look for ways to facilitate purchasers with the most valuable and helpful information nearby. Therefore, a multitude of unique ranking signals works together to provide results relevantly and accurately.
Also, brick-mortar businesses experience a tremendous amount of search visibility in their vicinity. Below are seven essential ranking factors that aid businesses to establish a better connection with customers:
- Online Reviews
- Google my business listing
- On-Page Signals
- Name, Address, and Phone Citations
- Post and Shares on Social Media
- Check-ins at that location
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Benefits Of Local SEO
Now that we know what a local search engine is and the concept of its marketing. The next step is to understand how it will favor various businesses types, especially the smaller ones.
Boosting Business Visibility
Small businesses require online visibility to reach mobile users searching for a piece of quick information that is location-specific. Therefore, more visibility leads to more profits, sales, and relevance.
Being Competitive with Nearby Business
Optimizing the business listing and providing quality products/services are two main features for an organization to have a sustainable competitive advantage that positions the same product or service way ahead of others in the field.
Building Links with Other Local Businesses
An added advantage of local SEO is that it lets you collaborate with other traders to cross-promote your products and services within the same locality. Even a specification of you in their social media posts or referrals from their customers might lead to more prospects to your business and establish mutually beneficial business relationships.
While finding and buying a product, the majority of users search shops nearby their area. If your shop is ranked high, it is easy to reduce advertising costs sponsored through social campaigns or paper ads in the newspaper. In turn, one can yield higher returns on investment in the long run.
Quality Rating and Reviews
Providing exemplary services to a customer gets your shop/website a quality rating and reviews, which in return stores trust in your audience. Also, it will show you as an expert for your niche and uplift your appeal level.
A simple formula for a boost in sales is an increase in traffic leads. If your firm is ahead of competitors, proximity and optimal availability will get customers ready to seal the deal.
Who can Benefit?
Any business establishment that has geolocation gains maximum benefits from local SEO. Yet, some industries require this strategy more than others to draw in people in and around the specific area.
- Hotels, cafes, and bars
- Medical services- doctors, clinics, hospitals
- Law firms
- Local services like plumbers, hair salons, accounting and finance, fitness studios, pet services
- Real estates
Tips to up Your A-Game
In recent times, customers expect more relevant online experiences that are specifically curated products or services with a high degree of accuracy, depending on the real-time data.
Therefore, a small business owner must have a solid foundation of local SEO to meet the expectations of their potential prospects. Here is the step-by-step list on how to promote your business using a local search engine strategy.
1. Right Choice of Keywords
The first step to having a successful strategy starts with keyword research. It mainly depends on finding the most commonly and relevantly searched terms related to your industry or brand.
In this way, businesses will also have a better understanding of the client’s perspective. For achieving effective keywords, it is necessary to know the anatomy of the local keyword, which is the core term, modifier, and location.
The core term is what your business or service is about or what you are selling or providing. For instance, if your business is about a local bakery, the core terms are cakes, bread, or pastries.
Keyword modifiers are words when connected to the core keyword, producing a specific long-tail keyword. These modifiers include adjectives, adverbs, general, niche-related, location-specific, or any other shopping terms that bring the user more defined results. For instance, “Best cakes near me.”
It includes the names of the city, state, or country in which your business is operating. With that in mind, let us see how to conduct local keywords research.
- Determine your target users and their goals
- Determine the keywords searched by the users
- Determine the keyword difficulty and search volume
- Examine target keyword SERPs
It is important to remember that the secret to achieving prospective keywords in the local marketplace is to choose key phrases that contain a mix of broad and long-tail keywords and have lower competition, high search volume, and high relevance.
2. Maintain All Business Directories
The next step to having a strategy in the right place starts with a Google My Business (GMB) account. Accurate, complete, and engaging information in GMB ensures that both an established business and brand have a maximum online presence across the search engines.
List of Things to Include in Your Local Business Listing:
- Business title/name
- Provide Address, Phone Number, and Alternate Phone Number
- Website URL
- Categories that define what your business is
- Description of your business elements
- Tagline/ Slogan
- Social media platform/profiles
- Additional Media
- Fax Number
- Payment forms
- Attributes about your business
3. Google Maps Listing
Google Maps are a part of GMB, primarily used for managing and tracking your established/ new business online presence across different platforms like Google+, Analytics, and Adwords. Therefore, this leads to more traffic to your store and website. Sometimes an established business may already exist in the GMB directory. Hence, the owner needs to claim it.
4. Analyzing The Competitors
This strategy works for a local to an international business that operates in multiple locations. It is necessary to conduct competitive research for the following reasons:
- To understand the promotional and sales tactics used by the competitors.
- To know the strength and weaknesses of competitors to stay ahead of them.
Analyzing the competition is not regarding copying or stealing ideas but comparing them to your strategy and adjusting your SEO strategy to the current competitive trend.
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There are a Few Steps to Consider for Competitor Research:
- Identify your SEO competitors and their sites.
- Conduct competitor keyword research
- Check and Compare the details on GMB.
- Know the backlinks of the competitors.
- Check the domain authority of their website on various search engines.
- Evaluate Competitors Social Networks and PPC campaigns.
- Understand the SERP metrics
5. Local Citations
Local citations play a fundamental part in small or medium-sized businesses. It is an online mention of your company like name, address, and phone number (NAP) on other websites. It verifies your business existence, legitimacy, and trustworthiness.
Citations are of two different sorts: Structured and Unstructured. The former lists the NAP in the directory listing and social media profiles, while the latter is a contextual mention in blog posts or forum posts. Here are the two reasons why local citations matter:
- It helps in ranking higher for local search queries.
- It helps potential customers discover your business online.
6. Link Building
Link building is a way of getting other websites to navigate back to your website. It is focused mainly on links from businesses in a particular local area. Link building is an off-page tactic that aims to get your articles and guest posts approved by external authoritative sites.
It Benefits in the Following Ways:
- Acquiring relevant referral traffic to your website.
- Boosts your domain authority that makes your website a valuable resource in terms of local searches.
7. Reviews and Feedbacks
Reviews and feedback have become incredibly vital factors for small businesses. It is a way to know what your customers are expecting and keep providing it. It is also a way to display all aspects of your organization from service quality, product selection, and range to commitment to sustainability and being environmentally friendly.
As a new user, a review is a platform to determine what the business offers and whether it is better than other businesses rendering the same products or services within their area.
Below are Some Proven Ways to Gain Customers:
- Create a link to review sites on your website
- Design a business card that includes review site information
- Ask your existing clients to write reviews and provide feedback
8. Web Design
Website designing decides the visual look of the website. It contains a logo, color palette, and layout of page elements. The website for local small businesses should have the following:
- Address and Phone number
- List of service areas
- Link or embed of google maps
- Blog posts that are educational and relevant to your product and the services you offer
- Contact form with clear instructions on what happens after filling it out
- Pricing information of product or service
9. Content Marketing
It presents a significant opportunity for small-medium size businesses to compete with big brand competitors. Here are some content marketing strategies:
- A blog post about local news stories or events.
- Creating videos about local causes that your organization supports.
- Creating a location intent web page on your website with high-quality local content.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. What is the difference between traditional SEO vs Local SEO?
The main difference is that traditional SEO focuses on enhancing your webpage visibility on a national or global level. Whereas the latter lets you work within local search territory to connect better with your vicinity.
2. What are the typical tasks related to local search engines?
There are Basic Tasks Associated :
- Research and Identifying Local Keywords
- Ranking in 3 pack
- Optimizing Google My Business profile listing
- Name Phone Address Citations.
3. Name the top tools of the local search engine optimization?
The tools used in this strategy can assist any business to improve its presence and engage the targeted demographics. There are several benefits of using the tools like aid in track rankings, displaying competitor insight, developing keywords, evaluating the performance, and customer engagement.
Below are a Few Tools Mentioned:
- Semrush Listing Management Tool
- Growth bar
- Text Review Monitoring tool
- Bi Q
- Google my business
- Google Ads Keyword Planner
4. What are the tips that benefit small businesses
Here are a Few Ways to Get Your Business Successful :
- Set up Google My Business Account – The information provided should be accurate and updated, mention your logo, operation duration, mode of payment, product or service you offer, and images.
- Receiving Reviews and Feedbacks from Customers – Personally ask for a review, provide a post-purchase text or email to write feedback.
- Optimize Voice Search
- Unique Content Based on Local News Stories and Events – Work on blog posts considering the local news stories and activities. Create local charity videos.
- Master in Relevant Keywords
- Mention about About us Page
- Online Business Directories
- High-Quality Backlinks
- Dedicated Web page for every product or service you give
5. How to opt for a potential local SEO agency?
Choosing a holistic agency is not an easy task, but it is not impossible. However, there are top local search metrics for businesses to select the quality marketing partner that knows their goals and produce desired outcomes:
- Enquire the past clients or look at the testimonials and online reviews.
- Get a report sample of their successful SERPs.
- Know the years of experience they have been in business.
- Ask for a quotation for the pages to be optimized.
- Ask about their online social media strategy.
- Have an insight regarding their traffic generation and conversion rate.
6. Who requires local SEO?
If your business matches any of the specifications below. It is time to use a local search engine optimization strategy :
- Local or small business owner
- Your firm has got particular service area territory
- Franchisee or Franchise Owner
- Requires more traffic, leads, and sales
- You want your business to show up in the local pack, maps, and navigation apps
Local searches constantly grow and change, due to which it has reached a point where ranking alone doesn’t get your business results but also qualified traffic, leads and sales are involved. It is essential to stay on top of local search engines and have a solid foundation when Google introduces new features on local SERPs.