SEO isn’t just for large companies. As a small business or local business, there is actually a lot you can do to achieve local goals yourself. Many of these things relate to focus. In this ultimate guide for local and small business SEO, we’ll tell you about finding your niche, optimizing pages, and social media efforts.

Considering that local SEO is basically the optimization process for the local results in search engines, we can say that local SEO is often closely related to small business SEO. This is why we decided to discuss what you need to know about SEO in this article.

  • Finding your shop’s niche

Find Your Shop's Niche

Especially for local or small businesses, determining your niche is very important. When you know your niche, you can emphasize what makes your products or brand unique, therefore improving your odds to rank well for them. If you have a clear niche, you can locally compete with large national brands in spite of their multi-million advertisement budgets.

Find out who your customers are, and what words they use to describe your product, because people will use the same terms to find your website. Using these terms, often made into long-tail keywords, can really help you optimize your local business SEO. Make your keywords as specific as possible. Once you’ve done all this, don’t forget to monitor your niche as it evolves with the growth of your company.

  • Low budget branding

Low Budget Branding

We have mentioned this over and over: branding is very important for SEO. Branding deals with things like your logo and your tagline. How do they represent your company without further context? What do your logo and tagline reveal about your values and your field of expertise? It’s all about recognition.

A tip for branding: share your expertise! You can do that in blog posts and on social media. We’ll talk about this some more, further down this guide.

  • Start writing great content

Your small business SEO will get a significant boost from the right content. Many small business owners put products and contact details on their website and that’s basically it. But there is so much more to tell and share! This infographic from our friends at Kissmetrics is a great visual!

Focus on making an awesome first impression on your potential customer. Write about your business, your business goals, how great your products are and things like that. You can also discuss market developments or local events that relate to your business. These are just a few tips for your local SEO content strategy.

When writing your content, be realistic about the chances of that content to rank. If you are in a highly competitive market, content works very well as a marketing tool and/or as input for social media. But it will probably not get you that number one spot in Google, and that’s fine. Manage your expectations.

Picking the right keywords to optimize for is very important. Usually, it’s a good idea to pick mid-tail keywords, including the local area you are focusing on. It really doesn’t matter if you add this content to your site as a page or blog post. Just make sure that you write about things that people want to talk about or that make people talk about your business in a positive way.

  • Share your content on social media

Did you know you can actually sell your products on social media itself? While that’s very cool, in most cases social media are used for brand awareness or to lead potential customers to a sale. Using social media as a small business is all about promoting your brand, your company, and your products to establish a certain image and to get the right traffic to your company website. Social media, used in the right way, can contribute to small business SEO.

Always answer questions that come from your social media platforms, and be sure to post your thoughts, products, and culture of your store, product, etc. People want to trust you, so show them who you really are.

  • Local ranking factors that help your small business SEO

There are many things that influence your local rankings, but there is one very obvious one: your address details (NAP). Make sure to add these in the right formatting (in code), using schema.org details. You can also use a Local SEO plugin, like Yoast, for that. Furthermore, ask your web developer to dig into AMP. Besides that, it may help to add your city, and perhaps your state, in the title of your pages for easier recognition as well.

Google My Business

Make sure you use the exact same NAP details on both your website and your Google My Business listing. This is the only way for Google to understand the relationship between them. Add these details for instance in your footer and of course, on your contact page. Google My Business really is your friend if you want to rank in your specific geographical area, so get your details right!

  • Adding ratings and reviews
  • Links from related small businesses
  • Near me searches

Adding ratings and reviews

Google My Business, like Facebook, allows others to leave a review of your company. If your company has a good rating, people will be more inclined to click to your website from any of these two websites. Be sure to monitor and maintain these reviews.

If you get a negative review for some reason, react by solving your customer’s problem. Ask them to change their review afterwards. In other words, turn that dissatisfied customer into a brand ambassador!

It’s not that hard to get involved in these reviews and ratings. Find more information on that in the article below.

Adding ratings and reviews

 

Links from related small businesses

Social ‘proof’, like the ratings and reviews mentioned above, should be backed by a sufficient amount of links from local directories like:

Yelp
SuperPages
YP.com
ReferLocal.com
Yahoo
Bestoftheweb
etc.

You should be mentioned on these pages, for the obvious reason that this means your website is linked. If you manage to get some links from the related local websites in that directory, that will also help your site’s “findability”. Note that the last category of links has to be from websites that are in a related profession. It’s of no use to have your bakery website linked from an accountant’s website.

Near me searches

Near Me Searches

When speaking about local rankings, we also have to mention near me searches. These are searches and search suggestions that include words like “near me”, “closest”, “open” and “nearby”. Optimizing for these searches is similar to optimizing for local, but applies for global brands as well (“buy legos near me”). So you’ll have to think a bit outside of your usual box – there’s probably more to optimize for.

In conclusion

Make sure your customers find you and your products! Optimize your site with our SEO plans, and show your opening hours, locations, map and much more!