Are you a small business looking to stand toe-to-toe with your competitors – or perhaps even overshadow them? If so, then local search engine optimization (SEO) is essential for you.
Local SEO is different from standard SEO in that you focus on local search terms. Let’s say you’re a dentist. Instead of focusing on “cavity fillings,” you’d focus on “cavity fillings in (town),” using the name of the city or neighborhood where you are located.
Of course, that’s just the beginning. Here are five powerful local SEO strategies for small businesses in 2019.
1. Master Google My Business
The number one place to begin your local SEO strategy is Google My Business. This is much more than just filling in your information, although that is vital.
You can also share your latest offer or promotion through Google My Business. Post new photos, update your hours (especially for holidays) and make sure your website is linked to your Google profile.
To make sure all the work you’re doing on your Google profile pays off, pay attention to your name, address, and phone number (NAP) on all platforms. It’s crucial that this information be consistent on social media, your website, and all directories where you are listed.
Inconsistency makes it hard for customers to know what to trust, and if Google’s web crawler finds discrepancies, it may move your website lower in search results.
2. Build Your Online Reputation
When someone searches for your business name, what do they find? Hopefully, the first thing they find is your Google listing. But what else?
The best answer to this question is “a lot of reviews!” Reviews make an enormous difference in how both customers and Google view your business. Google is only one place you can get reviews for your business. Don’t forget to encourage customers to talk about you on Yelp, Facebook, Trip Advisor, and any other relevant platform.
You don’t need to worry about negative reviews. Reply to them directly and make an honest effort to make things right for the customer. People will see that you care and it will make a positive impression.
3. Get Great Incoming Links
Another way to rank more highly in search results is to get high-quality links that point to your site. There are two primary ways to do this, and doing a combination of both is a great strategy.
First, you can create high-quality content and post it on your website. Whether you have a blog or create research reports or white papers, high-quality content that you promote online is likely to get links as people refer to it in their writing. You can also guest post on other sites that link back to yours.
Secondly, you can work to get media mentions and interviews. This is much easier than it used to be thanks to Help a Reporter Out (HARO), which makes it easy to connect with journalists and other writers who are looking for interviews and quotes.
4. Use Keywords to Your Advantage
On-site SEO refers to the way you use keywords throughout your site to help Google understand what your website is about. After all, Google wants to give people the highest-quality, most relevant results available. Keywords help prove your site is exactly that!
You want to use keywords strategically in your blog posts or other online content. However, it’s more than that. Use them in titles, meta tags, and more.
If creating a website that’s fully optimized for specific local keywords in your niche sounds overwhelming, it might be helpful to get help from an SEO agency like Local SEO Search. The pros know exactly what to look for and how to get the best results from on-site optimization.
5. Optimize for Mobile
Google announced last year that they will now rank pages higher that are optimized for mobile. What does it mean to be mobile-optimized? It means your website automatically adjusts the layout so that it’s easy to read on smaller screens.
In 2017, mobile devices accounted for 49.7% of web page views worldwide, and that percentage is well over 50% by now. While you might optimize your website for mobile to protect your search ranking, it’s also a great customer service step as well.
Local SEO Helps Your Company Stand Out
It can be challenging for a small business to have an equal footing with larger companies, but online you have a great chance to level the playing field. When you take advantage of these five powerful local SEO strategies, you can stand out in search results and boost your online traffic and results.
Everyone wants to get excellent results from their online efforts, but it only happens if you have a clear strategy. Start with Google My Business, build up your reviews, get great links, use keywords, and optimize for mobile. These five steps will help ensure your local profile is the best it can be.