With over a billion websites online at this very moment, there has never been a more crucial time to get noticed by your competitors. After all, we’re in business to make more business. It’s a dog-eat-dog world and as a local business, it’s crucial to be the biggest dog in town. Going up against companies that have auto-generated local listings or businesses that have been in the local SEO game for years will be tough to beat. But don’t despair, these top 10 local SEO tips for small business will help you get more exposure, improve your ranking, drive more traffic and most importantly, attract more customers.
1. Google My Business
I want you to do this right now. If you don’t have a Google My Business account you must set one up before reading the number 2 tip on this list. If you want people to find you in your local area you have to have a business listing! This is why: Imagine you own a cafe. Your shop front is stunning and modern and people walking by can’t help themselves by walking in. But Sam works in a large office building in Carlton just a few short blocks away and has never walked past your shop. He’s just been told he has an hour to organise a lunch for their V.I.P clients. Sam does a Google search for “cafes” and up pops three of your competitors. Their sandwiches aren’t nearly as good as yours and their shops are further away. Sam will just have to settle for less-than-satisfactory sandwiches and you’ve just missed out on an order for enough sandwiches, snacks and drinks for 50 people.
Why didn’t your business pop up in the map-pack? It’s because you either don’t have a Google My Business listing or it’s so old, with outdated pictures and old reviews.
If your business isn’t listed, go to Google My Business and sign up. Fill out all the information as completely as possible. You should also include a brief but informative business description, a link to your website and your hours of operation. Make your listing appealing; your logo should be the avatar/profile picture and you can also update your interior photos, exterior photos and product photos. These should be high-quality images because pixilated, blurry images look sloppy and unprofessional.
To check if you already have a GMB listing, go to Google Maps and put in your business name. If your listing appears, that’s great! Make sure your name, address and phone number are correct. Make sure your web address and contact details are up-to-date and start uploading some new pictures.
2. Get Google Reviews from Happy Customers
Reviews are paramount. They are a local pack ranking factor, and they also allow your listing to stand out. If you can entice your satisfied customers to leave a Google a review for you as a thank you for a positive experience, it can go much further than almost any other local SEO tactic.
Reviews don’t just optimize your Google My Business presence; it also encourages more local customers to buy from you. BrightLocal’s 2017 Local Consumer Review Survey reveals that85% of customers believe online reviews as much as personal recommendations.
Social proof is another huge benefit to gaining reviews. Searchers see five stars and they immediately know your business is highly recommended by their peers. So, by getting reviews, you’re actually tackling three major components of conversion: ranking, clickthough rate (CTR) and conversion rate optimization (CRO).
3. Improve NAP Consistency
In order for search engines to serve your business as a result for the searcher, your business name, address and phone number (NAP) need to be consistent everywhere.
You’ll need to be pickier than normal here; it’s not just a matter of writing your name and address. Also pay attention to suite numbers, and how street, avenue and road are written. Be consistent. This should be based off the location information displayed on your website.
4. Check Your Google My Business Category
This is a local SEO tip that is rather important. Make sure that the primary category you’re using for your business is the best possible choice based on your business’ products, services. It can make a big difference as you try to improve visibility for terms related to that category.
Google updates its list of categories so it’s good to check that your business is listed under the correct one. Check which category your competitors are listed under.
So, log into your Google My Business listing (google.com/mybusiness). Under your business name, you can edit the category if necessary.
5. Utilize Social Media Platforms
Social media platforms are free, so it’s not breaking news that they can be a great way to stay in front of your audience. Google will crawl and pull search results from your social platforms, such as Facebook profiles and reviews, your business’ LinkedIn or YouTube and even your Twitter account and your recent tweets. So what are you waiting for, Get Social with us today!
6. Acquire Backlinks from Partners and Sponsorships
Go after the low hanging fruit. Make a list of the businesses and organizations that you are partners with or that you sponsor. This can also include charitable or fundraising events your business has been a part of. Reach out to these points of contact and let them know how you’ve been involved with them in the past and ask them to include a link to back to your website.
7. Title Tags
This is such an easy one to get wrong so we’re simplifying it here for you:
A title tag is the text that appears in the search engine results page as the title of a listing – i.e the writing in blue. It’s also the text that appears at the top of your browser when you visit a web page.
Top tips for writing great title tags:
– Keep the title under 55 characters, otherwise the text will disappear
– Put your business name in the title
– Add your best primary keyword that has a high search volume and defines what your business is and does
– Put your keyword as close to the front of the title as possible.
Look at the titles of your competitors. Check to see how you can improve your title tag.
8. Meta Descriptions
Following on from Meta Titles, it’s also important to check your meta descriptions – that’s the bit of text in black on a search engine listing. Why should you care about meta descriptions? Because it’s a mini advert to help readers click on your listing and not your competitor.
Here’s what to ask yourself when reviewing your meta descriptions:
1. Does it contain important keywords that are relevant for your business and have a high search volume?
2. Are all of your meta descriptions unique? Are you using the same description on another web page? If so, then change it, because each page of your website should be optimised for a different keyword.
3. Would the description encourage a visitor to click on the listing?
4. Is the description running off the page?
If you’ve got Yeost or another SEO plugin, it will indicate if you’ve written too much or too little. Taking the time to review your descriptions and compare them to those of your competitors could make a lot of difference. This because a high click-through rate in search engine results may lead to improved search engine rankings.
9. Create great content to become an authority in your industry
This is another local SEO tip that can easily translate into traditional optimization techniques, too. We’ve already touched upon the importance of localizing your website or location-specific landing page with street names, zip codes, and city information, but you can also take your local content efforts much further.
Committing to creating strong, locally-focused content can help to build your Domain Authority online and prominence in your local area. This content page then carries more weight when being linked to or from your Google My Business page, sending strong trust and credibility signals to Google.
Of course, you’ll need to invest time and effort in creating local content, but the good news is that you shouldn’t ever be short of subject matter or inspiration. From writing about local events and sharing area guides to posting interviews with local customers and developing FAQs, you should find that there are plenty of ways to add local content to your site.
10. Make sure your website is mobile-friendly and fast-loading
It’s well-known that the majority of searches now take place on mobile devices, so you can safely assume that a good chunk of your traffic will be visitors to your website coming from their tablet or cell phone – even if they do come back later from a desktop device. That means you’ll want your site to be easy to use on a mobile device and quick to load.
Google announced that page speed would become a ranking factor for mobile in July 2018. To check your page speed, Google suggests three tools;
If those tools show that your page is loading slowly, you’re not just missing a chance to improve your local pack rankings. Research shows that around half of your visitors will bounce from your site if they are made to wait just three seconds. Another study found that the average bounce rate for pages loading within two seconds is 9%, and at 10 seconds it’s 65%!
Have more questions about tips for local SEO? Call Diamond SEO now on 0434 962 614 us or 03 7015 2268.