Ranking well in local searches has become more competitive. So there are fundamentals that need to be implemented and it’s important to get them dialed in correctly.
Search engine optimization for local search CAN give your small business a serious boost if you know how to take advantage of it.
97% of consumers look online for local businesses.
Many turn to the internet to perform a search as often as once a day.
Claim Your Listing on Google!
Want your business to show up on a Google map when folks perform a search related to the products or services you offer? Then claiming your business listing on Google My Business is a must!! It should be the first thing on your agenda for local SEO.
Keep in mind, your business WILL need to be verified by Google. More details on that below…
Fill Out Your Google My Business Profile Thoroughly!
Take the time to fill out your business profile thoroughly! From a local Search Engine Optimization perspective, it will be worth your time to do so. Even if you don’t have a website yet, you can begin to gain some traction within local searches with a claimed listing.
Be sure to include:
- Business description (follow Google’s guidelines and parameters!)
- Select categories that describe what your business is
- Business Address
- Contact info – phone, email
- Hours of operation
- Photos of you shop, products, food you serve etc.
- Link to your website (can be added later if you don’t currently have a website)
“70% of all Google Business Pages are unclaimed
(un-managed) which means the business does not realize the business page exists, or manages it.”
Not sure hot to get started?
Learn more by reading about: How To Claim Your Business On Google.
Getting Your Business Verified
Even if you’re a home-based business, it still needs to be verified to show an actual location. This way Google, Yelp, Bing etc. can verify that your business is legit.
Just remember, your business needs to be licensed/registered within your city/town/state as it WILL be verified by Google etc.
Each city/town/ state may have different protocols for registering and or licensing your business. If you are unsure as to what is required, contacting your local Small Business Administration is likely a good place to start.
There are countless other free business listings that you may want to take advantage of too. Find and Claim your Yelp Business Page is one. Otherwise, you are likely missing out on local exposure and perhaps not reaching your entire audience. If you don’t want to do it yourself, you can use a paid service such as yext to manage your local listings.
FYI: Some listings will allow you to claim your business and set up an account. Others such as Yelp may need you to request to be submitted. Regardless your business WILL need to be verified.
Your N.A P. (name, address, phone) and Showing Up on a Local Search Results Map
Listings can allow people to easily know where you are located, the services you offer and your hours of operation. Throw is some good reviews, and that can potentially boost your local SEO rankings even more.
So it’s incredibly important to have your N.A.P – business name, address and telephone number consistent across ALL of your business listings.
Bottom line, done correctly, these free business listings can be a powerful tool in your online marketing arsenal!
Know Your Keywords and Have Great Website Content
Know the keywords you wish to target on your website…
Yes, you need to know these! Keywords are key to your local search ranking. You have to consider the terms your customers use to look for a business like yours. Try diversifying with long-tail keywords. These are keywords on your website used to target niche markets where you have a greater opportunity of ranking higher.
“Emergency 24-hour Plumber Santa Fe, NM”
“Plumber Santa Fe”
Notice how much more targeted and dialed-in with keywords the first example is?
Have great content…
Your website NEEDS relevant content! Helpful content encourages engagement, shares and traffic. These factors can help improve your local search ranking. If there’s no content on your website then there’s not much for visitors to interact with.
Be sure to have a thorough business description along with specific pages that describe your products or services, contact and location info. An FAQ page and a blog (where you discuss topics on a local level) can also work for your local SEO.
Mobile Devices Stats on Local SEO
Folks performing local searches are likely on mobile devices. Recent reports state that 40% of users’ internet time is spent on mobile devices. Approximately 1 in 3 mobile searches have local intent which usually means they are “ready to buy” – so you want to be sure your info is relevant to their needs.
Users often use mobile devices to complement their immediate interactions such as looking for the closest gas station or restaurant etc. This is yet another reason your local business listings are so important.
With the rise in smartphone usage, search engines like Google have adapted to provide results relevant to the searcher’s geographic location – down to a specific neighborhood. And this continues to get fine-tuned!
It’s Still About SEO – Just on a Local Level
Your business listings are part of good practices to best serve your customers. Keep in mind it’s still about SEO (Search Engine Optimization) – just on a local level. Be sure to include your location/city for geo-targeting purposes. But you also want to infuse your local business listings with keywords and content that best describes the products or services you offer 🙂
Written by Barbara Rogers of Future Primitive Graphics. Graphic Designer and Nature Inspired Art photographer visually enhancing client’s print and digital media. Creatively collaborating with those who genuinely want to make the world a better place.