Search Engine Optimization, or SEO, has become synonymous with online marketing. After all, landing the sweet spot on the top of the SERPs lends credibility to your business, fetches more customers, and generates awareness.
But when you’re are a small, local business competing against a global conglomerate, you might find yourself on the back foot. It’s hard to match up to their budgets, resources, brand position, and expertise.
Good news! Some amount of planning and strategy can help you win the proverbial David versus Goliath fight. And in this case, local SEO could be a secret weapon that rescues you from the big fish.
What is Local SEO
Before delving into this topic deeper, it’s worth mentioning that SEO isn’t as straightforward as you may think.
Local SEO is the local component of SEO. The online marketing tactics and strategies you employ for local SEO help you rise to the top of local searches. Essentially, you’re geo-targeting your audience.
Allow me to demonstrate it through online marketing examples.
After a long day at work, cooking seems to be the last thing on your customer’s mind. So, they whip out their phone and do a quick search on “best takeaway restaurants near me” or “best eateries in Alice Springs.”
And hey, that’s your area of interest!
So, if you have taken care of your local SEO, you could be in a neck-to-neck competition on a level playing field against a renowned chain restaurant! And who knows? You can even beat them to it!
Why Optimise Your Site for Local SEO
90% of consumers use the internet to search for a local business. That alone tells us that local SEO is a strategy worth investing in. In fact, it benefits your small business in more ways than one.
Boosts your online visibility
Local SEO offers you a fair shot at grabbing a coveted spot in the top organic results of the SERPs, which will enhance your online visibility.
It helps you attract more relevant traffic by organic means, positively affecting your general SEO performance. Plus, you no longer have to bid or compete for expensive ads as local SEO will earn you organic traffic.
It also supports your objective of nurturing trust and establishing authority as consumers tend to rely on top search engine results.
Helps you market to the right audience
Your services may be limited to a specific geographical region. Hence, you would want to focus on these areas rather than appealing to a wider yet irrelevant audience.
As a local business, you have the opportunity to develop a sense of community to connect with the audiences on an emotional level.
Since you appeal to the local audiences, you can be sure that there are greater chances of converting them into regular customers.
Widens your marketing and sales channels
It serves as a digital connect for brick-and-mortar stores that aim to gain recognition in the digital spaces.
By gaining traction online, you get to market to a wider audience and increase your chances of acing sales.
5 Local SEO Best Practices Your Small Business Shouldn’t Miss
Now that we have your attention through the many advantages of local SEO, here are a few best practices and online marketing examples that can make your strategy successful:
1. Search for local keywords
Since you’re marketing on a local scale, using locally relevant keywords should be a no-brainer. So rather than targeting generic keywords like “best surfing boards”, optimise your website content and business listings with contextual keywords, like “best surfing boards near Bondi beach.”
2. List your business on directories
Create a profile on popular online directories, such as Google My Business and Bing Places, and optimise your business listing for greater visibility.
Optimisation includes sharing NAP (Name, Address, Phone) information, hours of operation, etc. Make sure to maintain consistency across your listings and online channels.
3. Leverage local knowledge
You can anchor your content around local news, events, and stories to make it more relevant, relatable, and authentic. It allows you to establish direct contact with the readers.
4. Prioritise user experience
Small considerations, such as making your website compatible across devices, speeding up the load time, making the content scannable, can all go a long way in improving the user experience.
5. Optimise for voice search
Voice search is set to overtake text-based searches. So, the sooner you hop aboard this train, the greater your chances of gaining visibility. Optimising for voice search would require incorporating long-tail keywords and posting conversational content, amongst other things.
Quick Local SEO Checklist for Small Businesses
In a nutshell, here’s a comprehensive local SEO checklist you can apply to your small business website:
- Set up analytics tools like Google Analytics and Google Webmasters.
- Incorporate keywords that rank high for local searches.
- Optimise your website for page performance. Don’t forget to optimise for mobile screens!
- Create a dedicated contact page on your website.
- Ensure that all call-to-action buttons are clickable and functional. Here’s a great article to help you craft compelling CTAs!
- Include local images and optimise them for quicker load times.
- Get listed on online directories and claim your profiles.
- Integrate your contact details, social media profiles, and other relevant information within your listing.
- Analyse competitors and submit citations to top-ranking websites.
- Collect customer reviews and testimonials. Respond to the reviews and monitor the overall trend.
- Build high-quality backlinks.
Ready to go local?
Local SEO is an online marketing strategy that can put your small business on the map and gain you the recognition you deserve.
Follow the best practices listed above and tick off every item in the local SEO checklist as a starting point. From there on, it’s all about testing, experimentation, and strategy re-alignment to find what works in your favour!
If you want to learn how exactly to optimise your website, take our FREE Simple SEO Online Academy course and learn how to use our convenient SEO tool to your advantage.