You have a small local business and you’re trying to stand out from your competitors. You search for your business in Google, but can’t find it. You’ve read a thing or two about SEO, but aren’t sure where to start to fix this. Lucky for you, we’ve got some tips on small business SEO that’ll help.
Small Business SEO is Local Search (Local SEO)
Because small businesses typically have fixed, brick & mortar locations, and because searches for them are often relevant to a particular geographic area, we call searches for them “Local Search” or “Local SEO”.
For these kinds of businesses, it’s important to show up in Google Maps and Local Pack searches. In a nutshell, small business SEO is Local Search (or Local SEO). While there are similarities to doing SEO for other kinds of businesses, Local Search has its own quirks – some of which we’ll explore here.
Local Search Ranking Quick-Wins
Here are some quick tips that can satisfy some of the most important Local Search ranking factors. Even though there are lots more ways to optimize your site, we’ve culled our list down to the top few with the most impact, and the easiest implementation for small business owners.
1. Google My Business
To really get started with Local Search, you need to claim, verify, and complete your Google My Business (GMB) profile. GMB is probably the single most powerful tool available to you to help your business rank higher in search.
Much of the info Google uses to show your business in their search results is drawn from your Google My Business (GMB) profile. The profile includes info like your location, hours, contact info, business description, and services.
The business categories you choose can directly affect what kinds of local searches you show up for, so choose wisely. Also be sure to fill out everything in your profile that GMB recommends – it will show your profile completion progress as you fill in more info, which is very helpful for new users.
2. On-Page SEO
Google’s algorithm still values high-quality, relevant On-Page SEO. It’s the foundation for every effort you can make to get your website to show up higher in Google’s search results, so don’t neglect it. Lots of free guides on SEO are available to get you started. Or, you can hire SEO experts like us to help you out.
3. Local Citations
One of the most important factors for Local Search rankings is signals from local business listings. Fill out and complete your business profile on at least some, but ideally all, of the major local business listing websites like Bing, Yelp, Yellow Pages, etc.
In conjunction with your GMB profile, Google uses the info from these other local business listings to vet and populate their local search results. The most important thing to remember here is that your listings need to be accurate and consistent! Incorrect info, especially for your business Name, Address, and Phone number (or NAP, for short) can cause your business to be shown less often in search results.
Also, make sure that the business categories you choose match as closely as possible the categories you picked for your GMB profile. It’s not always possible to choose the exact same business category in each of the online local business listings, as they all have different categories that aren’t perfectly equivalent. But, you should be able to find categories that are similar enough.
4. Local Business Reviews
Because Google wants to show the best, most relevant business results for searchers, they factor reviews into their local search ranking algorithm. More positive reviews means better rankings for your business. In addition, having more positive reviews increases consumer’s trust in your brand. More trust can have a net positive effect for your search rankings over the long haul: positive reviews equate to greater trustworthiness, which in turn increases clicks on your business in search results, and that can add up to higher rankings over time.
Consider asking customers who’ve had a great experience with your product or service to leave a review, and be sure to respond quickly to any negative reviews. Google My Business makes this process incredibly easy by providing a shortlink within your business dashboard that you can simply provide to customers that will take them directly to a review form.
And that should serve as a good head start to get your small business SEO efforts going and get you showing up in Google’s search results.
If you’re a small business owner who’s struggling to get website traffic from Google, drop us a line in the form below!