Five Local SEO Tips for Small Business Owners

Written by: Jason Bayless | November 25, 2016
One of the most common challenges that small businesses face is getting the word out about their products and services. Their marketing budgets are often dwarfed by larger businesses, and it appears as if they are ill-equipped to compete effectively in their respective industries. However, search engines offer a great opportunity for smaller businesses as today’s search engine results make an effort to list or feature local businesses. In connection to this, therefore, here is an overview of the top five local SEO tips that small business owners should keep in mind when it comes to local SEO.

Rank your business for local search terms

For people to find you whenever they are looking for your business, it is important to rank for local search terms. You can rank your business high in search results through the following ways:

  • Listing your website or business on “Google my Business”. It connects you with your potential clients when they search for your business on Google+, maps, and other search engines. To benefit from this great feature, ensure that your business profile is filed appropriately.
  • Integrate local keywords in your post URLs, title tags, heading tags, and content. To make your work easier and for this to work successfully, you will need a content management system (or CMS) like WordPress that will give you an opportunity to incorporate all these elements in your website pages.

Claim/verify your Local Business page in major search engines

Major search engines such Google, Yahoo, and Bing offer small business owners a chance to create, verify, or claim their businesses online. These are commonly referred to as local business pages though each search engine has different names for them. Nonetheless, they offer local businesses an opportunity to show up in the local search results. By verifying, creating, or claiming your business in major search engines, you are increasing your chances of showing up and being found in search results for local queries.

Maintain a Consistent NAP

The name, address, and phone numbers (NAP) of your business are the major “fingerprints” that your clients use to identify your business and the geographical location where you provider your products and services. It is important that your NAP is consistent and identical wherever your business’ name is mentioned across the internet so that the major search engines can find and present your listing to potential clients and other categories of searchers. One of the best ways to build consistent NAP is to create and save one “Master “profile of your business information which you can copy and paste whenever you are adding a directory listing of the business.

Besides your basic NAP information, major search engines will require details of your operation hours, photos of your business, and geographical areas that you serve. Ensure that you furnish them with as much information as possible to help them determine how relevant and useful your business is to the local searchers.

Build local Citations

By definition, citations refer to the mention of your NAP information on online directories and high traffic websites that are related to your industry niche and the geographical locations that you serve. More citations translate to higher rankings in the local search results. A good way to build local citations is get your citations from your local and regional trade associations, review sites, chamber of commerce, and to rank in local search results, especially for your targeted keywords.

Obtain reviews

One of the best elements that Google and other common search engines like most is user-generated content. Search engines want to see what people are saying about your business. Therefore, ensure that you send people to your LinkedIn profile, Yelp page, and Google+page to write great reviews about your business. Also look for popular review sites and get real and positive reviews, ensuring that the reviews have links and the time that you’ve been in business.

Bottom Line

Understanding the methodologies that search engines use to prioritize local search results is crucial to the success of small businesses. Accordingly, small business owners should strive to optimize their business for local SEO and work extra hard to facilitate positive reviews, which will in turn work to drive increased business.