By completing this guide you will have a thorough understanding of Local SEO for small businesses. However, Local SEO is complex and there are many factors to take into consideration when creating a Local SEO strategy. The Local SEO strategies in this guide should be utilised as good foundations to build on, rather than rigid rules that are set in stone. Each local business is different, with a different goal!
Local SEO for small businesses does not require a huge budget but requires time and effort to get results – as results still aren’t by any means cheap. Several fundamentals must be met before you can expect to rank well within Local SERPs ( Search Engine Results Pages ). There are numerous resources available to help you rank online but this guide will briefly discuss the main points as to not overwhelm you.
Add your spin to the Local SEO strategies outlined below to help achieve your Local SEO goals quickly and efficiently.
Understanding Local SEO SERPs from Google
The local Google algorithm looks at three things to display relevant search results to the user. They are proximity, prominence and relevance.
As Local SEO is a factor of your Local SERPs, Local SEO ranking factors can be broken down into 2 main concepts:
- Localised organic results – these are the usual SERP results for a search phrase near them.
- Local 3 Pack results – essentially google maps results for searches that may have “near me” in the phrase for example.
Local listings are required to be present within Local SERPs – these include Google My Business pages, Apple Maps and Bing Places pages. A Local listing such as a Google My Business page allows you to add photos, opening hours and other information which when combined with your website provides customers with information about your business such as services, pricing and reviews.
On-page SEO for local businesses
Performing on-page SEO for local businesses is somewhat similar to normal businesses. The fundamentals are all the same. You will also want to provide specific landing pages for each location that performs a service. For example, a bakery with a shop in JHB and CPT will have separate Bakery landing pages for each area. This could also be helpful if the company offers different products at each location.
Title tags and meta descriptions should be keyword-rich, but also make sure to include the city and province/ state the business is located in. You can also use Schema markup on your website to help Google better understand where your company operates.
Anchor text links are still important for Local SEO, especially when linking from a Local listing to your website. The anchor text should include the name of the business and the city it is located in.
Managing your online reputation and review management
Your online reputation management is important because people usually research companies online before making a buying decision. The types of reviews your company has will determine the trustworthiness of your business. If you have negative reviews, potential customers might not consider doing business with you. However, if you have a positive online reputation, it can help to increase trust and conversions.
Review acquisition is the process of getting reviews for your Local listing. The best way to do this is by providing excellent customer service and asking customers to leave a review after they’ve had a positive experience. You can also offer incentives such as discounts or free items in exchange for a review.
Link building strategy for local businesses
Link building strategies for local companies are similar to those for normal businesses, but there are a few additional things to keep in mind. When building links for Local SEO, you will want to make sure to include your city and state/ province in the anchor text. Local directories are a great way to acquire links and can be very beneficial for Local SEO.
Another important factor is citations. Citations are mentions of your business name, address and phone number (NAP) on other websites. The more citations you have, the greater the trust Google will place in your Local listing.
Always ensure your link building strategy builds contextually relevant links.
Local Keyword research
Local keyword research usually requires searches that include a specific town or city as well as “near me” searches. For example, “restaurants near me” or “plumbers in JHB”. When performing local keyword research, be sure to use a variety of different keyword tools such as the Google AdWords Keyword Planner, SEMrush and UberSuggest.
Once you have determined which keywords to target, you will want to include them in your website content, Local listing, and on-page SEO. For website content, writing a blog post about specific keywords and it’s relevance to the area also increases topical relevancy of the website being served by Google. You can also track Local rankings to see how you’re doing with your targeted keywords.
It is important to keep in mind that Local SEO requires ongoing effort and regular monitoring. The best way to ensure your Local SEO efforts are successful is by working with an experienced Local SEO agency.
Local SEO ranking factors
Local SEO ranking factors include name, address and phone number (NAP) posted online as well as reviews. You also want to ensure you have all your GMB details correctly done. Local SEO listing guidelines also include citation flow factors, Local keywords and Local pack results. Local Keyword rankings are important to ensure your Local listings rank above any others that might be targeting the same keywords.
The Local SEO ranking signals Google uses can change and evolve. With Local SEO it is recommended to work with an SEO agency that is constantly monitoring and updating local SEO techniques for their clients. These techniques might include:
1) Local directory submissions
2) Local blogs/news submissions
3) Social media mentions (Twitter, Facebook etc.)
4) On-page optimisation (including schema markup)
5) Off-Page optimisation (links from other relevant websites or blog comments on authoritative
The Google Maps 3 pack
The Google maps 3 pack is the search results at the top of Google. it is your Google my business profile. The Local SEO Local ranking and Local SEO rankings are determined by your online presence, your google my business profile and citations. The 3 pack fits in with everything else.
Building a robust local SEO strategy
Building a robust local SEO strategy is no easy task. Local SEO requires consistency and ongoing effort to be successful. Local SEO for small businesses is no different to Local SEO for large companies in this regard. Local business owners and marketing managers need to ensure they have a plan and work with a local SEO company that can help drive their Local SEO goals.
The best way to build a strong Local strategy is by working with an experienced Local SEO agency that has the necessary expertise, tools and resources to deliver the desired results your business needs. With all of these factors combined, you can achieve Local search engine marketing success!
Always look to your SEO strategy as holistically as possible to get the most out of it.
You’ve now got a good understanding of Local SEO and the Local search engine algorithm. It’s time to start implementing Local SEO into your business plan. If you don’t have an established Local listing already, Google My Business is a good place to start.
If you require help with your SEO, consider using BIAS SEO for your Local SEO needs.