While many business owners may think that an SEO strategy is the same for any business small or large, this is only partly true. Yes, many of the tips and techniques of SEO remain the same no matter the business size. But did you know that you can optimize your small business’s SEO strategy for the area that your business serves?
Before we begin, many business owners might be wondering: what exactly is SEO?
SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. It is the process of naturally “ranking” higher than your competitors on popular search engines such as Google, Bing, and Yahoo, without having to pay to do so.
Here are the 10 tips for ranking your small local business higher on Google in 2019:
Keywords, keywords, keywords.
You’ve probably heard this before, but keywords are one of the most important SEO factors for ranking higher on search engines. Choosing keywords carefully is especially important for small local businesses! Why? Say you own a coffee shop or speciality hair salon. Choosing “hair salon” as a keyword won’t get you ranking higher on Google no matter how much you use it. You need to be particular: if you live in Vero Beach, your keyword should instead be “Vero Beach hair salon”. It seems easy enough, but many small business owners overlook this step.
On-page link building.
On-page link building is the act of linking to one page of your website from another page of your website. And it plays an important part in helping you to rank certain pages of your business’s website higher on Google. By using your keywords (mentioned above!) as the anchor text (this is the text part of your link) to a page of your choice, you’re automatically helping that page of your website rank higher for your chosen keyword on Google. And if you were sure to use a local keyword (like Port St. Lucie real estate), then you’re sure to be targeting customers near you, rather than customers that might be searching for real estate agents in other places throughout the country.
Off-page link building.
Securing off-page links from other websites is paramount in rising your small local business through the ranks on Google. That said, this is an important SEO strategy that is often easier said than done. But that doesn’t mean it’s impossible. As long as you are writing clear, precise, and interesting content, and you’re positioning your website to other credible websites in your industry, getting others to link to your page will be easy. However, remember to never buy links in order to improve SEO, as this will only lower your website’s ranks on Google (trust me, they’ll know).
While this is considered a small part of local SEO to some, its importance cannot be overstated. Adding your small business to local directories such as Google Maps and Yelp will do wonders for your website’s SEO. It’s easy enough to do, but it takes some time to set-up for your business correctly. Have your customers review you on these channels and add pictures appropriate for your business. Don’t forget to include the hours your business is open and add any specials your business is running. Giving your customers the information they need will make them more likely to choose you over your competitor.
In the same vein as adding your business to local directories, make sure that your customers leave honest reviews on them. Think about it this way: you search for a local bookstore to visit. You find two bookstores in your area that both offer the book you’re looking for. One has no reviews, and the other has several 5 star reviews that describe the great atmosphere and friendly employees. Which one would you choose? And remember: you should never buy reviews or create fake accounts to pad your review rating.
Many small business owners don’t want to take the time to write up a good blog post, but you’re missing out on a lot of good web traffic if you do. Blogging about topics in your industry is time well invested, especially when it comes to your local SEO. And having well written articles with a wealth of information will not only attract more customers, but it will also help you with the off-page link building we mentioned earlier.
Yes, managing your small business’s social media accounts can take a lot of time. But it’s extremely important not to neglect these avenues for obtaining new customers and for keeping your current customers engaged. Many potential customers won’t even visit a business that isn’t active on social media. And keeping active on these platforms helps to build trust and credibility in your small business’s industry. Posting on social media also gives you ample opportunities to build off-page links and potentially earn an additional ranking on Google.
There used to be a time when simply having good content was enough to get you on the front page of Google. While those times have come and gone, the saying “content is King” still stands. Your content should thoroughly explain everything you want a potential customer to know. And your content needs to be convincing enough to keep that potential customer engaged. Here’s a tip: did you know that Google likes longer content?
There’s a reason why we always ask whether or not your website just looks good or if it actually works for you – and it’s not just because you’re missing out on a lot of growth opportunities if the former is true. The truth is, a beautifully designed website can often do a number on your website’s loading speed if not done correctly. Neglecting to optimize images, adding too many unnecessary widgets, and overuse of animations can all clog down your website’s loading times. And sadly, websites that take too long to load will rank poorly with Google.
Although a small and often overlooked detail, meta descriptions are still important for SEO. Meta descriptions are the snippets of info that appear under your website’s name in the search results. They should be optimized for your local keyword and draw the customer in to read more. For example, a lawyer in Stuart should include the city name and convince the customer why they need a lawyer.
By taking these steps, you can be certain that your SEO strategy is completely optimized for local search results. Once implemented, you’ll be attracting more local customers with less effort. But it’s also important to keep in mind that SEO is a long-term strategy for bringing in more customers. This means that it can take time before your business “climbs the ranks” to the first page of Google or Yahoo. Just remember that in this case, your patience will bear fruit to the tune of increased sales and more customer traffic.