Local SEO may have many benefits for small businesses such as local visibility within Google, after all, more than 40 percent of Google searches have local intent, local searches convince about half of all mobile consumers to visit a store within a day, and more than 60 percent of consumers use local info in ads.
Clearly, there are many compelling reasons for businesses to target local consumers, no matter how big or small they may be. So is there a proven local visibility systems for ranking in Google? Fortunately, there are some high-impact, best in class, budget-friendly ways businesses can take advantage of the many perks of embracing local SEO strategies and gaining local visibility.
Embrace A Niche For Your Business
While you may offer many different products and services as a local business, narrow your focus down to something you do exceptionally well. Your niche can also be a particular need you fill that your competitors may not be focusing on.
For instance, if you own a local construction company and you happen to have a staff that includes experienced heating and cooling contractors, you may want to shift your focus to local HVAC services.
There are also plenty of niche directories where you can list your business to further embrace your specialty.
Encourage Local Reviews
Nearly 90 percent of consumers trust online reviews as much as they do personal recommendations and 70 percent of consumers consider such reviews when making a purchase decision. People also have a tendency to trust local reviews more than carefully crafted marketing content.
To encourage your customers to leave local reviews on your website, ask for their help in your follow-up emails after purchase.
Go Long-Tail With Your Keywords
Single keywords like “hardware” and “groceries” tend to be more competitive. Boost the power of your keywords by using long-tail keywords instead. These are a group of three or four keywords or phrases that are specific to what you have to offer. They should also be the words someone looking for what you have to offer would type in their search box.
Long-tail keywords are cost-effective for small businesses for the following reasons:
- Long-tail keywords have a higher conversion rate since you can get more specific than with short, generic terms
- They’re less competitive, which may mean less traffic, but you can still see beneficial results if you target the right local consumers
- Ranking is easier since you’re not competing against as many businesses using the same exact words as everyone else is using to target the same audience
Use Geo-Specific Keywords With Local Flavor
Get the most out of your local visibility efforts with content on your webpages and within your social media and blog posts that includes local keywords. Oftentimes, this means using geo-specific keywords such as “Miami bakery” or “air conditioning in Cleveland and surrounding areas” naturally within your content.
Referencing local landmarks in your content can also be beneficial (e.g., “located across the stress from the Greenfield Municipal Building by the town clock”). You can also make geo-targeting work for your small business by referencing areas in cities where your audience is likely to be.
Offer Relevant, Useful Content
A great way to gain a competitive edge over the big brands online is with well-written content that local searchers will likely find relevant and useful. Go beyond simply selling and establish your brand as a trusted source of information. For example, instead of only mentioning your heating and cooling services, include preventative maintenance tips or have a frequently asked questions page.
Further connect with local searchers by offering content that includes:
- Longer, in-depth articles (Google, in particular, tends to appreciate longer, relevant content that goes beyond selling points)
- Quality inbound and outbound links since Google considers links as a ranking factor (plus links can attract more attention to your content and increase its local visibility online)
- Relevant images and videos (visual content has more of an impact than text alone)
Build And Maintain Local Relationships
Another smart way to gain local visibility within Google is putting some time and effort into building and maintaining local relationships. There are several ways to achieve this goal. For example, you can become involved within your local community by sponsoring events. The free publicity will get your name out there in front of your target audience.
Another option worth considering is a partnership with your local chamber of commerce. Many local chambers of commerce have established websites.
Establish Social Media Relationships
Google considers social proof to some extent when ranking content. It’s essentially a psychological phenomenon where potential consumers consider the actions of others.
So, if you have a lot of followers who are engaged with your business on your various social media pages, local searchers are more likely to gravitate towards your business. Establish social relationships and get more from your local SEO visibility efforts by:
- Actively responding to comments and responding to reviews.
- Re-posting relevant content or comments from local followers
- Making references to topical local happenings or events (e.g., “Get ready for the big game this weekend with our special on pizza and wings!”)
- Naturally using local keywords in your posts while also keeping the content relevant to your audience
- Reaching out to social media influencers (people with large groups of followers who view them as a trusted source) within your niche to boost your brand’s visibility
The good news is that anything that’s done online is highly trackable. There are many free tools available to help you with things like keyword analysis, so it’s not as difficult to compete in the local search results as you might think.