As a small business, there are a number of places you can go to source new customers, but there’s no place more powerful than your own backyard. By utilising local SEO for small business, you can grow your business by targeting your own community.
Read on to learn more about local SEO and how to get it to work in your favour.
What is Local SEO?
Before diving into the best practices for local SEO for small business, it’s important to know what local SEO really is. Local SEO(or Search engine Optimization) is utilising a number of strategies to improve your search ranking and appeal to local customers.
This means using keyword phrases that target a specific area. This is better than using broader keywords that have higher competition rates and may not attract the right clientele.
How Local SEO for Small Business Improves Visibility
If you’ve ever Googled a type of business in your area and found a map with suggested businesses, then you are already familiar with a Google SERP. This is a listing that appears at the very top of the results page and usually gives just enough information to drive traffic.
These results dramatically increase visibility and hold a higher ranking that pages that have not been optimised to a specific location.
SEO and Targeted Audiences
When it comes to SEO it’s better to find a smaller number of stronger leads than a larger number of people that will never stop by your business, which is why it’s important that you utilise local SEO in order to get a more targeted conversion rate.
By targeting a specific region you will be finding potential clients that are searching for a more detailed service, thus increasing the likelihood that they will hire your business.
Local SEO and Mobile Traffic
Mobile traffic often uses the location of the individual through various apps and reports this information to pages like Google and Facebook. For this reason, local SEO and mobile users go hand in hand.
Mobile users are more likely to have geolocation switched on, making it even easier to show the businesses in their area and increasing the likelihood that they’ll stop by. In fact, since mobile users can call a business or pull up directions in a single click, they are one of the strongest types of leads for your business.
Local SEO and Credibility
Even when an individual is recommended a business by a friend or colleague, the first place they’ll turn to confirm the recommendation is Google. Local SEO helps build confidence and credibility by allowing a potential customer to easily find your website.
In many cases, potential customers can even find reviews that correspond with your listing, helping you earn their trust.
Strategies and Benefits of Local SEO vs. Traditional Marketing Methods
In an era where digital presence is paramount, understanding and implementing local SEO strategies is crucial for small businesses. This section will explore these strategies and their benefits, drawing a clear contrast with traditional marketing methods.
Key Strategies of Local SEO
Local SEO involves a range of tactics designed to improve your visibility in local search results. These include:
- Optimizing for ‘Near Me’ Searches: Ensuring your business appears in ‘near me’ search queries by including local keywords in your website’s content and metadata.
- Google Business Profile (formerly Google My Business or GMB) Optimization: Creating and maintaining a detailed Google My Business profile to enhance visibility in local search results and Google Maps.
- Local Link Building: Acquiring backlinks from local businesses and organizations to boost local search rankings.
- Managing Online Reviews: Encouraging satisfied customers to leave positive reviews and responding professionally to all reviews.
- Mobile Optimization: Ensuring your website is mobile-friendly, considering the high volume of local searches performed on mobile devices.
Leveraging Google Business Profile for Enhanced Local Search Results
In the realm of local SEO, one of the most powerful tools at your disposal is the Google Business Profile. This free tool offered by Google is essential for any local business looking to improve its visibility in local search results. Here’s how you can leverage it effectively:
Setting Up Your Google Business Profile
- Claim and Verify Your Listing: Start by claiming your business on Google. Verification is usually done via a postal code sent to your business address.
- Complete and Accurate Information: Ensure that your profile is comprehensive and up-to-date, including your business name, address, phone number, and operating hours. Consistency across all online platforms is key.
Optimizing Your Profile
- Categories and Attributes: Choose categories that best describe your business and add relevant attributes to give potential customers more context about what you offer.
- High-Quality Photos and Videos: Regularly update your profile with high-quality images of your business, products, or services. Visuals play a crucial role in attracting and engaging customers.
- Post Updates and Offers: Use the post feature to share updates, promotions, events, or new products/services. This keeps your profile active and engaging.
Encouraging and Responding to Reviews
- Solicit Reviews: Encourage your satisfied customers to leave reviews. Positive reviews can significantly boost your local search ranking.
- Respond to Reviews: Engage with all reviews, both positive and negative, in a professional manner. This demonstrates that you value customer feedback and are committed to customer satisfaction.
- Track Engagement: Google Business Profile provides insights into how customers are interacting with your profile. Use this data to understand customer behavior and adjust your strategy accordingly.
The Impact on Local Search Results
A well-optimized Google Business Profile can dramatically improve your visibility in local search results. It enhances your chances of appearing in the coveted ‘Local Pack’ – the block of three business listings that appear at the top of Google search results for local queries. Additionally, it provides a direct way for potential customers to find your business, see your offerings, and even get directions or call you with just a click.
In conclusion, Google Business Profile is not just a listing; it’s a dynamic tool that, when used effectively, can significantly boost your local SEO efforts. By maintaining an active and optimized profile, you can increase your business’s online visibility, attract more local customers, and ultimately, drive more sales.
Benefits of Local SEO Over Traditional Marketing
Local SEO offers several advantages compared to traditional marketing methods:
- Targeted Audience Reach: Local SEO allows you to target your marketing efforts specifically to your local community, unlike traditional methods that often have a broader, less focused reach.
- Increased Online Visibility: With local SEO, your business becomes more visible to people actively searching for your products or services online, leading to higher quality leads.
- Cost-Effectiveness: As discussed in the following section, local SEO is generally more cost-effective than traditional marketing, offering a higher return on investment.
- Measurable Results: Digital marketing tools provide analytics that allow you to measure the effectiveness of your SEO efforts, a feature often lacking in traditional marketing.
- Building Trust and Credibility: A strong local online presence helps build trust and credibility with your audience, as modern consumers often research businesses online before visiting in person.
Contrasting with Traditional Marketing Methods
Traditional marketing methods, such as print ads, billboards, radio, and TV commercials, have their strengths, such as broad reach and physical presence. However, they often lack the targeted approach of local SEO. They can be less effective in reaching the tech-savvy consumer and are typically more challenging to measure in terms of effectiveness and ROI.
In summary, while traditional marketing methods still hold value, the integration of local SEO strategies offers a more targeted, cost-effective, and measurable approach to reaching and engaging with your local customer base. As consumer behavior continues to evolve with digital trends, the importance of local SEO only grows stronger.
Cost-Effectiveness of Local SEO vs. Traditional Advertising
In today’s digital age, small businesses must make every marketing dollar count. This is where the cost-effectiveness of local SEO becomes particularly compelling, especially when compared to traditional advertising methods.
Understanding the High Costs of Traditional Advertising
Traditional advertising channels like print, radio, and television require significant financial investment. For a small business, this can mean a substantial portion of their marketing budget being allocated to just a few ads, which may or may not reach their intended audience effectively.
The Affordable Nature of Local SEO
In contrast, local SEO offers a more budget-friendly approach with potentially higher returns on investment. Here are key reasons why local SEO is a cost-effective strategy for small businesses:
Low Entry Costs: Getting started with local SEO often involves minimal upfront costs. Basic actions like claiming your Google My Business listing, optimizing your website for local keywords, and encouraging customer reviews are either free or require very little investment.
Targeted Reach: Unlike traditional advertising, which casts a wide net, local SEO allows you to target your marketing efforts directly at your local audience. This means you’re not spending money to reach people who are unlikely to become your customers.
Long-Term Benefits: While traditional ads stop generating value as soon as the campaign ends, the efforts you put into local SEO continue to pay dividends over time. A well-optimized site and a strong collection of online reviews keep attracting new customers, long after the initial work is done.
Measurable Results: Digital marketing tools provide detailed analytics, allowing you to see exactly what’s working and what isn’t. This means you can optimize your spending over time, focusing on the most effective strategies.
Organic Growth: By ranking higher in local search results, you naturally attract more website visits and potential customers without the need for continuous spending, as is often the case with paid advertising.
Balancing SEO and Traditional Advertising
While local SEO can be more cost-effective, it doesn’t mean that traditional advertising should be completely disregarded. A balanced approach, where traditional methods are used strategically alongside digital efforts, can often yield the best results for small businesses.
In conclusion, for small businesses looking to maximize their marketing impact with a limited budget, local SEO offers an affordable and effective solution. By focusing on local SEO, you can ensure that your marketing efforts are not only cost-effective but also targeted and sustainable in the long run.
Local SEO Success Stories and Case Studies
Understanding the theory and strategies behind local SEO is crucial, but seeing these principles in action can truly illuminate their potential. Let’s dive into some real-world success stories where small businesses harnessed the power of local SEO to achieve remarkable results.
At the end of 2019, Snap SEO began working with a well-known personal injury law firm. The firm sought to enhance its online presence and search engine ranking by increasing its number of backlinks. Law firm SEO is highly competitive, with many firms vying for the same keywords, making this a challenging task.
Snap SEO conducted an initial SEO audit to identify the firm’s strengths and areas for improvement. They focused on ‘easy win’ keywords, which the firm was already ranking for but not in the top positions. These included terms like “grapevine conditions” and “car accidents near me.” The strategy involved a long-term link-building and blogger outreach plan, utilizing Snap Syndication to distribute content across high-authority news sites and Snap Diversified Link Building (now discontinued) for in-content, contextual links from high-authority blogs. They also employed a competitive gap analysis to identify and target keywords shared with competitors but not yet capitalized on by the firm.
The law firm experienced a significant increase in its online metrics. The number of referring domains grew by 800%, from under 50 to 450. The firm’s organic keywords increased to 20,177, with a substantial rise in keywords ranking in the top three positions. By the end of 2020, their monthly organic traffic surged from 300 to over 5,000 visits, a level of traffic that would have cost approximately $30,000 in paid advertising.
This case study demonstrates the effectiveness of a well-planned and executed SEO strategy, particularly in the competitive field of law firm SEO. It highlights the importance of targeted keyword optimization, comprehensive link-building, and strategic content distribution in enhancing online visibility and search engine rankings.
Getting the Most Out of Local SEO
Using local SEO for small business can be a powerful tool if you know how to utilise it. The more research you do, the better results will come from your efforts.
Remember, search engines are like a living animal that changes all the time. The more you can stay on top of algorithm patterns and trends the more leads you’ll be able to pull. Contact us today to get your SEO ranking off to the right start.