Local SEO “Must Haves” For Small Businesses
If you’re a small business owner and haven’t optimized your website for local SEO, then now is the time to start because you can bet your competitors already have.
Local SEO can help you get more visibility in search engine results, which in turn can lead to increased foot traffic and sales by bringing the exact people who are looking for what you do to your digital front door.
Here, we’ll take a look at some of the most important local SEO must-haves for small businesses.
What Is Local SEO?
So, what is local SEO? It’s a simple concept really.
For many types of businesses, people simply don’t want to drive too far for the service for their own convenience. Businesses like auto repair shops, cell phone repair, medical practices, and others. While most of us don’t like going to the dentist, we surely don’t want to drive more than 15-20 miles for a cleaning. This is the root of localized search engine optimization.
Have you ever searched for a nearby business on Google and noticed that businesses within your region appeared at the top of the results? This is because Google is already trying to give you local results. It’s also thanks to local SEO because you know that there are more dentists around you, but the ones you see in the search results are the ones that have focused on local SEO.
Essentially, this type of SEO is the practice of optimizing a website’s online presence in order to increase traffic and visibility from local searches. This includes targeting geographical keywords and phrases and creating specific landing pages targeting the cities around wherever that business is located.
By prioritizing local SEO, businesses can better attract and connect with consumers within their community.
The Basics of SEO
In today’s digital age, having a strong online presence is essential for any business or brand. And one key component of a successful online strategy is SEO or search engine optimization. It’s a strong way to bring customers to your business.
SEO involves optimizing your website and its content to improve its chances of ranking higher in search engine results pages (SERPs). By incorporating relevant keywords, creating valuable content, and other Google-approved tactics, you can help your website climb the ranks and attract more organic traffic.
Of course, SEO is a complex and ever-evolving field, but mastering the basics is a critical first step on your journey to online success.
Let’s take a look at some of the “must haves” to make that happen.
A Well Designed Website
In the world of online business, having a well-designed website is crucial for success. Not only does a visually appealing website catch and keep the eye of customers, but it also makes it easier for search engines to understand and crawl your site.
Make Google happy with your website and you’ll have a much better chance of landing on page one. Google doesn’t want to put poorly designed websites or outdated ones on the first page (but sometimes there’s no other choice depending upon what’s out there!).
A well-designed website that follows these practices can also lead to a better user experience, resulting in increased time spent on your website and higher conversion rates. In short, investing time and effort into your website’s design and SEO can pay off in the form of increased traffic, higher engagement, and more sales.
Not only does the website need to be well designed on the front end, but the back end needs to be sound as well. Not to get too nerdy, but websites built with bad code, broken links, slow page load times, and other technical issues can help tank how Google sees the site. We call this technical SEO, and this is an important part of helping your site get to page one in the search results.
At our digital marketing agency, we won’t accept clients for SEO that have poorly designed websites. We’ll offer to redesign their site, but we simply don’t accept projects that we have no chance of winning. Doing so. is just bad business.
The Importance of Google Business Profile
Creating a strong online presence is crucial to the success of any business, and Google Business Profile is a simple but essential tool that can help achieve just that.
By completing your Google Business Profile with as much information as possible, you’ll be able to provide potential customers with all the information they need to make informed decisions about your business. Your Google Business Profile literally puts your business on the Google map.
Plus, by encouraging satisfied customers to leave positive reviews, you’ll not only increase your credibility but also improve your visibility in local search results. For example: when a customer searches for “plumbers near me,” your business will be more likely to appear at the top of the results if you have good reviews and a fully optimized profile.
Don’t underestimate the power of a complete Google Business Profile and positive reviews for local searches. When it comes to online businesses, trust is a major component. With Google reviews, you’ll be able to build a great online reputation.
It’s unfortunate, but we see a lot of businesses ignore their Google Business Profile which is a serious mistake for their local visibility. To show you how important it is, we include optimizing this profile for every client we provide SEO services for.
Besides having a great website and a well-optimized Google Business Profile, your website needs to have a solid keyword strategy. A keyword is a word or phrase that people use to search for specific information online.
By doing keyword research and incorporating relevant keywords in your website’s content, you can attract more traffic, increase conversion rates, and ultimately achieve your business goals.
A robust keyword strategy requires identifying the most relevant keywords for your business, using them appropriately, and ensuring they align with your website’s content and user intent. So, think carefully about the keyword strategy that you adopt as a business.
We have three criteria for good keywords. First, the search volume has to be there. It makes no sense to target keywords that few people are actually typing into Google, so in this case, the more search volume, the better. Next, we want keywords that are relevant to what the business does. Lastly, we need keywords that help convert visitors to actual customers.
SEO-Friendly Page Titles, Meta Descriptions
When it comes to SEO, it’s not enough to simply have a website. You need to ensure your website is easily found by the right audience.
SEO-friendly page titles and meta descriptions are a good starting place. A page title shows up in the search results right under the URL of the page and the meta description is the brief description under that to describe what that page is all about.
These two components can play a crucial role in how Google (and customers) view and rank your website. Your page title should have a primary keyword in it for that specific page and accurately reflect what your page is about.
Going back to the dentist example, if they do root canals, you’d want to have a page title like, “Painless Root Canals In Buford”. The page description may be something like, “No one wants a root canal, but if you need one, you definitely want it to be painless. Contact our Buford office to schedule yours today”. The page’s meta description is more to attract the click than for SEO purposes, but it should include a keyword, the location, and a call to action if possible.
By prioritizing these elements, you can improve your website’s visibility and attract more potential customers.
Optimizing images on your website is an essential aspect of search engine optimization (SEO), and it can have a significant impact on your website’s ranking.
Not only do optimized images improve the load time of the page, but they also make the photos easier to find and more accessible to users with disabilities. By compressing images, including relevant alt tags, and utilizing descriptive file names, you can give a boost to your website’s overall SEO performance.
Alt tags are just a nerdy way to describe the name of the file on your images along with an actual place to label what that picture actually contains. Google is nothing more than a very complex mathematical set of algorithms and can’t understand your site’s images. Putting keywords in the name of the image and in the alt tag helps the search engines understand what the images are all about.
In addition, using unique and high-quality images will not only enhance the user experience but also increase the likelihood of visitors sharing your content on social media platforms. As search engines continue to prioritize user experience, as a small business you have to take the time to optimize your website’s images. It’s an important strategy for any successful SEO plan.
In today’s digital age, having social media profiles is almost a requirement for any business hoping to establish an online presence. However, you don’t need to be active on every single platform out there.
Instead, it’s important to focus on the ones where your target market is the most active. For example, if you’re targeting millennials, platforms like Instagram or TikTok might be the most effective, while LinkedIn would be more suitable for targeting professionals or B2B clients. Think carefully about the content that you push out on these social platforms.
By having a presence on social media, you can engage with your customers in real-time and help to build trust and loyalty. It’s also an effective way to promote content that may not be as successful organically. So, get creative and use this opportunity to build relationships with potential customers.
While trying to improve your website’s SEO can seem like a daunting task, there is one easy and effective way to boost your search engine ranking: blogging.
By consistently posting high-quality, keyword-rich, relevant content on your website, you can attract more visitors and keep them engaged, which will ultimately improve your SEO. Through blogging, you can showcase your expertise, provide valuable information to your audience, and establish yourself as an authority in your field.
When it comes to blogging, this is where your keyword strategy really kicks in. Use the right keywords and phrases so search engines can easily match what you’re offering to user searches.
Many companies simply blog and hope for the best. It’s important to amplify your blog posts by putting them on social media. Join local Chamber Of Commerce groups on LinkedIn and post to those groups as well.
Quality content is paramount to any successful SEO strategy. When it comes to SEO, content is more than just words on a screen; it’s an opportunity to engage with your audience and establish yourself as a trustworthy source of information.
Your content should be informative, engaging, and relevant to your target audience. High-quality content not only attracts viewers but also encourages them to stay on your website longer, reducing your bounce rate and increasing your overall SEO score.
Google emphasizes that your content has “EEAT” which stands for expertise, experience, authority, and trust. Doing things like posting a bio at the end of every blog post is just one way to help establish yourself as an authority in your industry.
Also, creating quality content puts you in a better position to attract backlinks, which are crucial for your website’s ranking on search engines. By continuously producing great content, you not only establish yourself as an authority in your niche but also improve your chances of climbing to the top of search engine results pages.
Landing pages play a crucial role in any SEO strategy. Basically, these are the pages that users land on when they click on a search result or an online ad.
A well-designed landing page can be the difference between a user bouncing right off your site and one converting into a customer. There are a few key factors to consider when creating a landing page, such as having clear and compelling content, a strong call-to-action, and a user-friendly design.
Again, for local SEO, we suggest you create landing pages for neighboring cities where you want more visibility and where you want customers. Since a dentist’s office has a brick-and-mortar location, you’d naturally want to target all the cities within a 20-mile radius of that location.
By keeping a close eye on these basics, you can create landing pages that not only improve your website’s SEO but also boost your conversion rates and ultimately drive more business to your site.
Google Analytics and Google Search Console
If you’re starting a website, you’re probably aware of how much goes into creating a polished design and publishing quality content. But once your site is live, how can you monitor its performance and optimize its reach?
That’s where Google Analytics and Google Search Console come in. These two tools can provide invaluable insights into your website’s traffic, user behavior, and SEO performance. With Google Analytics, you can track visits, page views, and conversion rates to see how well each page is performing.
Meanwhile, Google Search Console can help you identify a list of specific keywords that are drawing visitors to your site and fix technical issues affecting your site’s search engine ranking. By using both of these platforms together, you can monitor and improve your website’s performance and ultimately drive more traffic to your site.
In addition to the tips mentioned above, there are also a few things you should avoid if you want your website to rank well. First, never try to manipulate search engine rankings by relying on keyword stuffing or buying links.
Also, be wary of link farms and other shady SEO practices that can get your website penalized or removed from search engine results pages. Finally, avoid content duplication and make sure you post unique, relevant content that adds value to your website.
Something else to consider is that although it’s important to make your content easily readable and enjoyable, don’t go overboard with formatting elements like bold font and italics. This can distract readers from the main message of your content and ultimately reduce its effectiveness.
Local SEO should be a must-have tool for any small business looking to reach its target market and increase its presence online. It involves optimizing your website for searches related to your geographical region as well as appearing in all local listings such as Google Business Profiles, social media profiles, directories, etc.
Also, developing a keyword strategy, having quality content, including optimized images and page titles & meta descriptions as well as considering blogging and utilizing landing pages can all contribute to improved local search engine visibility.
Lastly, leveraging Google Analytics and Google Search Console will give you valuable insights into how customers are reaching your business so that you can make the most appropriate improvements. All of these elements combined help to create an effective and comprehensive approach to local SEO that any small business can implement with relative ease.
Ready to ramp up your SEO? Contact Make It Loud
If you are looking to enhance your website with effective SEO, then we have the team and expertise to make a significant impact. For nearly 15 years, we’ve been doing the SEO work necessary to accomplish one thing- to make you more money.
Give us a call at 678-325-4007 to see how we can help your business today.
Cliff Tillery, MBA is the Chief Operating Officer and SEO Director at Make It Loud which is a digital marketing agency located outside of Atlanta Georgia. More than 14 years ago, he started search engine optimization at this award-winning agency and has taught digital marketing skills to business owners at the Gwinnett Chamber of Commerce, the Gwinnett Entrepreneur Center, and other groups.