We’ve talked about the importance of creating and managing your Google My Business page here before, but now we want to get more into the importance of local SEO for small businesses. Recent studies show at least 80 percent of local consumers seek products and services online. Likewise, nearly half of all high street shoppers prefer to minimize legwork by letting their fingers walk online first.
Below are a few pointers to get your brick-and-mortar business from non-existent to easily found online with local SEO strategies.
Keyword Research Works
Just as buyers can’t patronize invisible suppliers, vendors can’t be paid merchandise senders without knowing how or where to make their presence known. Thus, you must discern what words appear most often in virtual search queries by those valued customers-to-be very near your business establishment. If you own a women’s clothing boutique in Boston, MA, “women’s clothes Boston” and “Boston ladies’ boutique” are good bets. Note that both terms are critical. While the latter is more specific ‘long-tail’ local SEO, the former is a bit trickier ‘head term’ that depends on market competition level. An Excel spreadsheet is ideal to track keyword research by order of relative hierarchical priority.
Optimize On-Site SEO Content
The single most valuable asset to add virtual business presence is high-quality content featured on your site in the right proportion. Forget keyword stuffing; that no longer fools search engine algorithms and insults human viewers’ intelligence. Instead, two to three keywords per page with two percent frequency is best practice. Also write META descriptions that typically display on search engine results pages (SERPs) for user-friendliness with interesting but concise depictions to invite viewers into see what your site can offer them. Then, be sure to deliver precisely as promised with helpful FAQs, recent news and other creative and informative content. Remember, if your content isn’t answering a query, it’s not helping you or the user.
Get on Google’s Local Business Sites
You might have heard of a Google My Business (hopefully here!) and it is vital to have and take advantage of for a local business. Google My Business helps developers control content displayed in search and maps interfaces, which in turn helps buyers find your concern by looking up hours of operation, address and contact information.
Google My Business pages are also designed for direct customer relations management by each business establishment featured on various profiles. This can enhance market exposure by actively engaging current or prospective buyers via personal communication, responding to customer reviews and frequently updating posts with valuable information directly relevant to brand-specific offerings.
Claim Every Local Business Domain
Amid hard work to create a localized business presence, visit GetListed.org for a quick business name and zip code search and claim any missing directories in short order. Don’t forget Bingo, Yahoo Local and similar venues and insert direct inbound hyperlinks on each external third-party domain.
Go Mobile = Must-Do
At present, approximately 1 million extra mobile devices are activated than babies delivered throughout the world every day. Besides that, nearly half of all search engine queries are initiated via mobile devices. Thus, making your business site mobile responsible is an absolute must.
While doing so, pay close attention to how your site’s most vital areas like ‘Contact US,’ ‘Service Offerings’ or ‘Product Inventory’ pages look on a mobile device. It’s also advisable to avoid apps like PDF and Flash that are unstable on the most popular types of mobile devices.
If your Web Design & Development team aren’t on top of your mobile-friendliness…we know some people who can help. (Pssst…it’s us.)
Do Diligent Analytics Review
Give your local SEO small business campaign every chance to succeed before it even begins to proceed in earnest by setting up all tools you’ll need to track progress. An excellent suggestion for starting reference point is monitoring keyword selection performance with an app like AWR Cloud that lets you add words in seconds and adjust auto-update frequency to weekly, daily or on-demand.
Moz Analytics is a good resource to glean SEO ranking insights with one glance. Google Webmaster Tools are great for weekly reviews of impressions and clicks that targeted keywords generate. Google Analytics helps analyze organic search engine traffic to chart historical trends that suggest improvements. While you can’t control analytics data, it provides vital stats for baseline comparison and efficient tweaking efforts.
Be Consistent & Persistent
Neither computerized search engines nor live human visitors like inconsistent virtual content. Self-contradiction defeats all efforts by confusing automated SPYDERS search engines dispatch to index content for display in search query results and losing credibility in targeted markets. So stick to verbatim company name, contact data and physical location vs. PO box in every virtual domain. Beyond these basics, some experimentation is okay, such as slight variation by general site theme or online community environment and culture. For instance, Facebook and LinkedIn profile contents might be quite different.
Whatever your general plan of attack may be, the most vital task at immediate hand is to get into the game right away. While an ideal timeframe to launch an SEO campaign at least three months before your first day in business might have long past three decades ago, there’s never a better time for new beginnings than the present. So take it slow if you must, but invest just one or two hours of time each day or week to grow your online small business presence for guaranteed high yield. Even if it takes a year to realize, you’ll be glad you put in the work when your listing is atop your competitors.