For many small businesses, particularly those offering a trade or service, the local market is one of the most important. Local SEO can help you to appear higher up on search engine result pages that are related to your area and potentially increase sales. In this post we take a look at some of the ways you can improve local SEO for small businesses.
Verify Your Google My Business Listing
As Google is the most widely used search engine on the internet, it’s a great idea to make sure you have an accurate and up to date listing with them. For this reason, when it comes to local SEO for small businesses it’s important to verify your Google My Business listing. You may already have an automatically generated listing, in which case you will need to verify it. To do this you will need to find your page and claim it by entering a verification code Google sends you – the process can take up to a couple of weeks to complete. If you don’t have a listing, you can create one here.
Whether creating a listing or claiming one, wherever possible it’s vital to ensure that the information you provide matches that on your website, this includes your opening hours and contact details. Just to make sure you cover all bases, it’s also a good idea to create and fill out the equivalent page on Bing.
Link to Local Directories
Just as with less geographically specific SEO, link building is a major factor for local SEO for small businesses – the difference is that you should be chasing local directories. Again, you should take care to ensure that all contact information is kept as consistent as possible. It’s also a good idea to direct the links to the most important page of your website, which is likely to be the homepage. Lastly, make sure that all the directories are relevant – for instance, if you own a building company, listing yourself on local trade or construction directories would be pertinent. Requesting irrelevant links can look to search engines as though you are trying to cheat the system so it always pays to be careful.
Optimise Content with Local Keywords
Keywords are of vital importance when it comes to local SEO. As well as implementing all the usual keyword best practices, you should aim to include your location where you can. Put your location in the meta title and description tag for each relevant page. You should also try to include your location in the content you create for your site too. This combination of information will help search engines to understand your location and can help to get you ranked higher in local searches.
Customer reviews from credible sources can have a big bearing on where you show up on search engine results pages. These sources include Facebook, Yelp and the aforementioned Google My Business, as well as TripAdvisor if you’re in the hospitality or catering industry. It’s not advisable to generate fake reviews or offer prize or cash incentives to customers who leave reviews, however, it is a good idea to make it easy for people who would like to review your business by putting a button on your website to prompt them.
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