There are currently over 30 million small businesses in the U.S. alone. Many of them are local shops, trying to gain followers, build trust, and grow within their own communities.
Unfortunately, not enough local businesses utilize SEO in their marketing efforts. Just because you’re a small business within a local community doesn’t mean you can’t reach out to that community (and beyond) to get noticed.
With that in mind, let’s look at a few local SEO tips small businesses can use to outrank their competitors and get noticed by more locals and tourists alike.
1. Make Sure Your Title Shares Who You Are
Have you ever clicked onto a website and the title at the top of the browser just says “Home”?
Does your website say that?
If so, it’s time to go through and change all of the titles to accurately reflect what the pages are. The search engines pick up on those titles, and if they aren’t explaining what the website is about, you’re going to rank lower.
2. Be Consistent With Your Information
It’s important to have your business listed in as many places as possible on the web, including Google Places and Yahoo. But, it’s equally important to make sure your information is listed the same way wherever you’re publishing it.
For example, if you list your address as ‘123 Elm Street’ on Google, you shouldn’t put ‘123 Elm St.’ somewhere else. Consistency is important and will help to boost your digital presence.
3. Make a Google My Business Account
It should be expected that Google will give preference to businesses that utilize their services. So, create a Google My Business account. It only takes a few minutes, it will boost your search ranking, and it will make your business seem more credible when people are looking for it online. Think of it as a digital directory.
4. Encourage Reviews
SEO isn’t just about having a great website. It focuses on your entire online presence. If people come into your place of business, encourage them to leave reviews online. Review sites like Yelp!, Google, and even Facebook can help to get your business noticed faster online and can help people make decisions about you before they ever set foot in the door.
Word-of-mouth advertising is hugely important for any small business. Online reviews are a unique way to get that advertising without having to pay for it.
5. Be a Local Newsmaker
If you live in a small town, getting local coverage from area news outlets can really help you to stand out online. Most newspapers, radio stations, and television stations have large followings on social media and they tend to rank well on Google. If they do a story about your business, it will get you noticed quickly and build your SEO credibility.
6. Utilize Backlinks
Don’t be afraid to link to other businesses in your area on your website. Using backlinks from local non-competitors is a great way to pat the backs of other businesses in hopes that they do the same for you. Using backlinks helps your website to look more credible and shows that you are an active part of your community.
Talk to other local business owners about using backlinks and how you might help each other out by featuring each other on your websites. If you’re not direct competitors, working together can help you both to boost SEO and grow your local audience.
7. Pull Back the Curtain
Images and videos are a great way to not only boost SEO but get people more interested in your business. Post-behind-the-scenes videos to your website and social media, host livestream events, and answer questions through video, as well. Search engines love video content, even more than images, and people love seeing the faces behind a business to make them feel like they can form a relationship with your company.
8. Post Intriguing Content
Did you know that Google keeps track of how long people spend on your website? The longer someone stays on a page, the better. It will help to improve your ranking. In order to make sure visitors to your site stay intrigued on a page for several minutes, it’s important to post engaging, intriguing, and relevant content.
Make sure you’re updating your content frequently so people will keep returning and staying on your site longer.
9. Do Some Internal Linking
Search engines do something called ‘crawling’ across websites that practice internal linking. This is simply a practice that allows the search engines to index more pages of your site so they show up when people are searching for relevant content. By using internal linking throughout your site, you are optimizing it not only for the search engines but to make it easier for those who are looking for what you have to offer to find it quickly.
10. Provide Superior Customer Service
Customer service needs to happen both in-person and online. A user experience is incredibly important to boost your SEO. So, make sure your website is as user-friendly as possible. When it comes to social media, treat people the same way you would treat them as a customer in your business. Answer questions, reply to comments and give relevant information they can use.
SEO is just as important for small businesses as it is for large corporations. Keep these tips in mind to boost your business, beat your competitors, and become a local business leader in your community.