Are you still in doubt about the value local SEO can bring to your business?
Below are local SEO stats to address your doubts.
- Approximately 46% of all searches include location.
- Roughly 97% of people who use online search, look for local businesses.
- 40% of small businesses outsource all or some of their local SEO operations.
- Reviews signals account for 15% of the local SEO pack rank.
- Some 76% of consumers use voice search to look for local businesses at least once weekly.
- 28% of local searches result in a purchase.
- Approximately 78% of mobile local searches prompt an offline purchase.
But then you may think that these stats are only peculiar to international markets. Well, think otherwise, except if you can’t access Google from your mobile phone. If you can access Google from your house in Badagry, or shop in Lekki, then you’re included in the discourse.
What is Local SEO for Small Businesses?
Local SEO is a search engine optimization (SEO) strategy that helps your business appear more prominently in Google’s local search results. It benefits businesses that have a physical location or serves a geographic area. The goal is to drive local traffic to your website, whether online or offline.
Below are the 11 local SEO tips to drive local and ready-to-buy prospects to your business.
The time and effort required to implement any of these SEO tips depend on the one you choose to achieve, however, it’s best to first focus on those low-hanging tips that bring the most impact to your business.
11 Local SEO Tips for Small Businesses
1. Optimize your Business on Google My Business Platform
Google My Business is a business directory that Google owns and operates. The platform’s goal is to provide searchers with the most accurate business information for local businesses.
If your business has a functioning website, then your business could be listed on Google My Business without a year. This is possible as Google learns about your business through its website crawl bots.
However, this automated listing information may be incomplete or inaccurate.
Since you can’t be certain that the Google bots will crawl your website, or get the information accurately, it’s best to claim your Google My Business listing manually.
This way, you ensure that you are getting the most out of the platform.
It’s also essential that you create your listing because businesses with four or more stars on Google My Business outrank those with fewer than four stars by about 11%. You can’t afford to lose that competitive advantage as a small business.
That said, here are the steps to optimize your Google My Business listing:
- Claim your Google My Business listing or create one.
- Complete your profile information and publish your listing.
- Fill out your profile with photos and videos of your company and its offerings.
- Respond to ratings and reviews professionally and promptly.
In addition, make sure that your company’s information is correct and up to date. You should update your listing at least once a month, but weekly monitoring is essential for success.
2. Be On All Other Country-Relevant Business Directories
Aside from Google My Business, make sure that your business is listed on other business directories in Nigeria.
This is important as being present on other platforms improves your chances of being on the top 5 Google results?
Business directories make it simple to claim your listings. Many business directories in Nigeria make it easy to verify your business information.
3. Perform a Local SEO Audit for your Website
Now that your company is present in the relevant business directories, it’s time to learn about your competition. This allows you to see what your competitors are doing, identify opportunity gaps and make improvements to your website.
The first page of SERP results provides the most insight and inspiration.
As you begin your audit, you can use tools such as Semrush to conduct a comprehensive overview of your website’s current state and what you can do to improve it.
Then, take this analysis further by comparing your website to the top five results on each SERP. Consider the different types of content, the website structure, the page elements, and the keyword density.
Also, make sure that you create a spreadsheet to track and implement any changes.
4. Target Local Keywords
There is a strategy for keyword targeting for a small business. Targeting high-volume keywords will only get your business lost in the crowd, but lower-volume keywords usually yield a significant return.
As a local business, you have an advantage with keyword targeting. You can explore keywords prefixes like “near me”, “near me now”, and “near me today.
This means that targeting a mix of high volume and local keywords can benefit you. So, instead of using high-volume keywords like mechanic or auto-mechanic workshop, you should adopt keywords like “mechanic in Yaba,” and “mechanic workshop in Lekki.”
The goal is to optimize your website for local keywords.
5. Reward Customer Reviews
Customer reviews are the lifeblood of your company. This is especially true for start-ups and small businesses.
How do you get online customer feedback?
To begin, make sure there is a place for customers to leave feedback on your website and social media accounts. And if you’ve claimed your Google My Business profile, then you’re good to go.
Then create a reward system for customers who leave reviews on your business. Inform customers, whether through word of mouth or on in-store receipts, that they will receive a discount or a complimentary item in exchange for their rating and review.
However, the work does not end there. You must respond to all reviews, negative and positive. This allows you to interact with your customers while also instilling trust in your brand in those who have yet to purchase.
6. Create Local Content
The best way to accomplish local keyword targeting is to create local content for your website or blog. Local content can take the form of a blog post, a press release, or a static web page.
You can use these different types of content to highlight past and upcoming local events, local offerings, local business roundups (e.g., local businesses that complement but do not compete with your business), or even to educate the public on your product or service.
The more natural the content on your website, the easier it is to target local keywords. It can also help you establish yourself as a subject matter expert, which is important for small business owners competing against larger corporations.
For example, if you’re a mechanic shop in Lekki, you can try out these content ideas that will naturally target both the audience and the keywords:
- Blog post: 5 places to get genuine Volkswagen spare parts in Ajah.
- Blog post: Lagos Automobile Events for this Easter
7. Implement a Local Backlink Strategy
A backlink is a link from another website to your website. Depending on the quality of the third-party websites and the number of links to your website, this can have a significant impact on the authority of your website.
As a small business website, here’s how you can start building a backlink profile to website:
- writing guest posts for industry-relevant, high-quality websites
- participating in influencer outreach and link outreach
- listening” for brand mentions
- creating shareable content
Also, shareable content, quality, and reasonably long content are the key to any successful backlink strategy. You don’t want long content for the sake of having long content, so keep the post relevant, valuable, and free of fluff.
8. Make your Website Mobile-Friendly
Forget that you’re in business if your website is not mobile-friendly. According to the Search Engine Journal, 82 percent of smartphone shoppers conduct “near me” searches.
The difficult part is not bringing traffic to your site, but rather keeping traffic on your website once it arrives. If your site isn’t mobile-friendly, local searchers will quickly abandon it in favor of a competitor.
You must create mobile-friendly content in addition to a mobile-friendly website. The good news is that mobile-friendly content is also viewable by desktop readers.
Look for the word “responsive” in website platforms themes and overlays, as those are the indicators of mobile-friendliness.
9. Optimize your Website Page Structure
Local SEO for business is more than just business listings and content. Page structure is an important aspect that is frequently overlooked.
Title tags, headers, meta descriptions, and URLs are all part of the page structure. When used correctly, these can enhance your content and improve your SERP rankings.
You can get ahead of your competitors by utilizing page structure elements that your competitors are not using.
Also, elements like title tag, meta description, H1, robots.txt, sitemap.xml, and schema.org have a place on a well-structured website.
10. Be Active on Social Media
Social media can benefit your local business.
When you have a local business page, you can keep up with your customers and share the latest sales, events, and information about your business. A social media profile is like your company’s “living” version.
Social media also allows you to build relationships with customers, and track business trends and analyses. Social commerce is also advantageous for businesses that maintain social media profiles.
Here are some ideas for how small businesses can use social media:
- Determine which platforms are best for your company based on their features and target audience.
- Regularly publish high-quality content.
- To test and improve engagement, use scheduling, and automation tools.
- Participate in local gatherings and events.
- Make it effortless for customers to buy your goods and services online.
- Depending on your company and target audience, social media may or may not account for a significant portion of your sales and traffic.
11. Participate in Local Business Events
Participating in local business events, particularly those with a strong social media presence, can help your company grow in a variety of ways.
They provide an opportunity to market your company while also providing an easy way to get to know your target audience and the community you serve.
Such events are also likely to generate a return.
As a small business, you have the freedom to host your event or to sponsor and participate in larger community events. A self-hosted event would almost certainly yield a higher return, but a community event may be ideal for smaller budgets.
Conclusion: Local SEO for Small Business
As a small business owner, you understand that increasing sales requires hard work and dedication. The same can be said about local SEO. While SEO takes time and patience, it can be rewarding in the long run.
Even the smallest businesses can benefit from the 11 local SEO tips outlined above. From keyword research to social media marketing to paid advertising, you can start making changes today to reap future benefits. And if following these steps seem daunting to you, you can as well hire an SEO to do it for you.