Optimizing Local SEO for Your Small Business!
Are you struggling to increase your search engine ranking? Is yours a small business that caters to a local clientele? Do you feel like no matter what you do, your website stays buried at the bottom of the Google results? Cheer up, my friends. Today, we’ll give you 8 simple steps for optimizing local SEO. Even better: most of them are FREE!
Goal: Optimizing Local SEO
Add or Claim Your Local Listings
This has to be your first step for optimizing local SEO. Of course you’ll want to add or claim your business listing on Google, but you also can’t neglect the other business listing services. Not sure what they are or how to find them? Moz Local makes it easy. Just type in your business name and zip code and you’ll get more information than you can handle in one sitting.
As you can see from the above Moz Local report, this small business is far from finished with taking advantage of all of the listing opportunities. Once they had completed this step, their business received an immediate and impressive boost to their local ranking.
NAP: Name, Address, Phone Number. This information should be on every social media profile and every business listing, as well as your landing page and contact page. In addition, it must be consistent! Search engines hate inconsistencies and will penalize your business for them.
Your next step for optimizing local SEO will be to go through your website and take a look at the keywords you’ve chosen. Do they indicate that you’re a local business? For instance, are you using the keyword “bakery” instead of “(your city) + bakery”? If you’re not incorporating your location into your keywords, you’re competing with businesses a thousand miles away from you.
Next ask yourself if your keywords accentuate your differentiating factor – that aspect of your business that makes it unique. An example of this would be “environmentally friendly pest control Fort Worth”. Can’t you just see someone typing that phrase into Google?
Finally, make sure you track your keyword usage and their effectiveness on an Excel spreadsheet. Change what isn’t working, and build on what is.
Optimize Your Contact Page
Aside from your landing page, your contact page is the most important page on your website. Make sure your contact details – your NAP – is listed in a way that search engines can easily read. Schema.org markup ensures that search engines will be able to read your contact details and rank your business accordingly. To make this process easier, simply copy, paste, and adapt this code into your website wherever you want your NAP to appear:
<div itemscope itemtype=”http://schema.org/LocalBusiness”>
<p itemprop=”name”>COMPANY NAME</p>
<p itemprop=”address” itemscope itemtype=”http://schema.org/PostalAddress”>
<p itemprop=”streetAddress”>ADDRESS LINE 1</p>
<p itemprop=”telephone”>PHONE NUMBER</p>
<meta itemprop=”latitude” content=”LATITUDE” />
<meta itemprop=”longitude” content=”LONGITUDE” />
Finally, embed a Google map to your business on your contact page.
We’ve discussed the importance of responsive design before so we won’t belabor the point. Simply put, your website must be able to adapt to ALL screen types – mobile, tablet, laptop, & desktop – or your search engine ranking will suffer.
If you own a local small business, you need to grab as many local backlinks as possible. One easy way to earn those local backlinks is by getting in touch with your local, small town newspaper. Of course you can’t just call and say “hi” and expect a backlink. You have to give them a reason to write about you. Opening a new office? Snap a picture, do a little write up, and send it in. Celebrating a business anniversary? Snap a picture, do a little write up, and send it in. Taking the crew out to work on a community service project? Snap a picture, do a little write up, and send it in.
Another easy way to earn backlinks is by creating a scholarship. It doesn’t have to be a large scholarship; even a $500 Freshman Year Kick Off Scholarship will earn you backlinks from scholarship sites once you register it.
Slow pages kill traffic and increase bounce rates. If you’re bouncing site visitors away on a consistent basis, search engines will penalize your ranking. Test your page speed and follow all suggestions for improving your site performance.
Since every search engine wants to be known for returning the best results, they actively search for the best companies. According to Moz, your online reviews account for 9.8% of your rank score. Online reviews are important.
Do not incentivize reviews. Search engines catch on quickly to that trick, and they will penalize you. Instead, simply ask your existing customers to leave a review of your company on a popular review site like your Facebook page, Google, or Yelp. If you’re a service business, you might consider an email campaign thanking past clients and requesting that they review your site. Of course, you’ll want to include the links to the sites you want to be reviewed on in the email to ensure your best response rate.
If your goal this quarter is optimizing local SEO, following these steps is sure to yield results. Don’t forget: if you have any concerns about the responsiveness of your website, we’re here to help! We look forward to hearing from you!