7 Tips To Help Small Businesses Gain Visibility With Local SEO
How does a small business compete with big players in the local scene? How do you stand out? How do you show people that your products or services are worth consideration?
A reputable SEO agency focuses on improving visibility through local SEO. This article discusses the following top local SEO tips for small businesses:
- Solving site technical issues
- Producing valuable local content
- Using local backlinking strategies
- Claiming and completing your Google Business Profile
- Managing local reviews
Is your small business site optimized for local SEO?
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1. Solve Website Technical Issues
A website with technical issues is like a shop with a broken door. No one can check your content or get in unless you take care of your site's technical issues. Search engines cannot crawl and index your pages to rank you in search results. Therefore, you need to identify and solve these problems immediately to gain local visibility.
Sometimes technical issues remain undetected until you find your metrics slipping. Problems like poor site speeds, complicated navigations, broken links, duplicate content, and missing alt tags require immediate fixing. Conduct a technical SEO audit and check the following:
- Add an XML sitemap. This lists all the pages on your site to show how these are interrelated. Create a full sitemap using Google Search Console and submit this to Google.
- Identify plugins that prevent search engine crawling. Sometimes, plugins can block Google bots from crawling and indexing your site like the robots.txt plugin. Ask a web developer to check your site for this issue and correct these ASAP.
- Choose a unique domain name. Instead of www.wordpress.socalsurfers.com, buy a domain to configure your site to www.socalsurfers.com. Doing so tells Google that your site has valuable content for your target customers. Also, this simple change makes your business look and feel more professional.
- Look for accidental redirects. These issues can hinder Google’s access to your pages. A web developer can help you find and remove redirects to improve your site’s technical performance.
- Create a mobile-friendly site. Google has adopted mobile-first indexing, which prioritizes pages with mobile versions. With a mobile-friendly site that loads fast and has a responsive layout, you get better chances to rank well.
2. Produce Valuable Local Content
One way to show your customers that you understand what they need and have the solution to their problems is by publishing valuable local content. Embrace the uniqueness of every local community, city, town, etc., and reflect this in your content. Doing so makes you an authority in your market and more likely to rank higher on search engine results.
Let us take, as an example, a small surfboard shop from Southern California with a website that publishes content about riding the waves in Newport Beach and Dana Point. This site can focus on the right equipment for warm ocean waters, including critical surfboard maintenance strictly depending on water temperature.
Here are some strategies worth using to promote local authority through excellent content.
- Use local landmarks and places as references. This shows your expertise and that your content is credible and relevant to their needs. A surfboard shop site would have content about a local beach surfing contest or a legendary surfer in the area.
- Include testimonials and reviews from local customers. One way to promote your small business is to include user-generated content like reviews and testimonials. Use short and direct reviews with specific details about your products or services. You can use text or videos to add to your social proof.
- Add relatable images and videos. Instead of adding generic visuals to your content, use images and videos your local market will appreciate. From our example, a photo or video of surfers slicing the wave using your brand of surfboard, wetsuit, leash, etc., would do.
- Structure your content well. Use headings and subheadings, bulleted points to emphasize your tips or ideas, and place your call-to-action (CTA) buttons on accessible areas of your page. Your company contact details should be on every page so customers can immediately place their orders or inquire.
- Utilize related local keywords. Use Google search results-related search terms to look for relevant local keywords. Using our example, the main keyword of the surfboard shop site is "SoCal surfboard store," and relevant terms could be "San Diego surfboards," "surfboard supplies Huntington Beach," or "surfing supplies in Southern California."
3. Use Local Backlinking Tactics
Google understands that your local business is worth ranking from the links it gets. Backlinks are links from other websites pointing to your site. These links show that you are a credible source of information and that your pages should be on top of search results.
Aim to get backlinks from valuable, high-ranking domains to boost your site’s rank on search engine results pages (SERPs). The quality of links is more valuable than quantity because quantity backlinks can increase your risk of getting links from spammy sites that can negatively impact your SEO. Overall, create a strategy to generate links from mid-level sites. These tips can help you.
- List your business on local directories. Locate general directory sites and listings for specific industries. For example, a surfboard shop should be on Yelp, Yellow Pages, Time Out, and Bing Places. More specific directories include Surf City USA and Noosa Surfing Directory.
- Offer guest posts on relevant blogs. Contact relevant blogs and sites in your industry and tell them you are willing to write content for them for a backlink.
- Be a sponsor for events. Local events bring customers and businesses together; this is your chance to show your expertise and get natural backlinks. Sponsor a surfing competition, for example, and you will have your business name and page link in the event or contest's press releases and other media-generated posts.
4. Claim and Complete Your Google Business Profile (GBP)
Shine on SERPs by claiming and optimizing your GBP. This is your free business listing on Google. Register your business on Google so you can qualify for the Local Pack, a detailed list of companies that appears on top of the search result whenever a user looks for products or services. The Local Pack adds visibility and creates more leads.
It starts with claiming your GBP page by verifying your identity and details about your company. Once verified, you can optimize your profile to attract more customers. Editing your profile is a very straightforward process. Be sure to remember these techniques.
- Create an engaging business description. Prioritize your business details by placing these at the beginning of your description. A GBP description is only 750 characters long, so make the most of it.
- Use the correct business category. The right category on your GBP connects you to the correct customers. Describe your business as a whole. Instead of "surfboards," use "surfboard supplies shop." Once your category is set, and you want to add or edit them, Google may ask you to verify your company again to confirm the information.
- Include more details about your business. Complete your profile by adding more information, including your holiday opening and closing hours, nearby parking areas, and modes of payment.
- Add more pictures and videos. Show Google and your customers that your business is relevant and your profile is updated by adding photos or videos of your business. Showcase your products, your storefront, or your facilities. Use a 360-view of your location because this helps Google Map users find your business.
5. Manage Local Reviews
Part of optimizing your GBP is managing local reviews. Your business profile is open to customer reviews and ratings, so expect a mix of opinions about your business. You need to learn how to handle these professionally, from positive to negative, quality to misleading. Manage your GBP reviews with these suggestions.
- Address a bad review immediately. Do not wait to solve an issue. Show your customers you care about their business and are willing to solve any misunderstanding ASAP.
- Thank people for their reviews. Whether it is a positive or negative review, start your comment with a thank you for having purchased your products or service and for taking the time to write a review. A thank you recognizes customers' efforts and may help quell frustrations.
- Make amends and offer solutions. Apologize for any issue with your products or service and offer compensation if needed.
- Take down nuisance reviews. Remove inappropriate ones by asking Google from your Business Profile. Report the review, and Google validates your request. Google may remove a bad or inappropriate review if it violates its policies.
SEO makes you more visible in the local market. By solving your website’s technical issues, creating valuable local content, and using backlinking strategies, you can optimize your site for local SEO. Also, claim and complete your GBP and manage reviews to boost your visibility in organic search results.
All these strategies give your small business the attention it deserves online and offline. Do you want to know how local SEO supports your digital marketing? Call Digital Authority Partners, and let’s get started.
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