Local SEO Priorities for Small Business Owners

Search Engine Optimization, Like Politics, is All Local

SEO Priorities for Small Businesses

For a business to succeed in today’s web market, understanding local search engine targeting and how it can best be used to target consumers for your product or service. It all boils down to getting your local SEO priorities right from the very beginning.

The first step is to understand what cities or zip codes your business wants to target for potential customers. This is what is known as geo-targeting. For small business, geo-targeting is probably the most important element that must not be over looked. Right from the beginning, depending on your business geo-targeting can vary greatly but understanding its implication is necessary.

Local Search: Google My Business

When it comes to search engine optimization for your website, probably the most important external ranking factor you should consider is where you show up in the Google “Local Pack.”  This is the listing at the top of the page with a map and three businesses underneath it. With the fact that mobile has overtaken desktop search, Google is placing more emphasis than ever on Local Search.  So therefore it is essential SEO practice for a local business to have a Google My Business page. It is also known as Google+ Local (or formally Google Places). Search engine optimization for any local business should start with this Google My Business page and is key to keep this in mind.

Verified Directory Listings:

Along with having a Google My Business page, it is also just as important too have listings on other trusted directories. Some trusted sites to claim listings on include Bing Local, Yahoo Local, Yellowbook.com, Yelp, MerchantCircle, and Yext can also be very helpful. It is important to have these verified listing for local business consistent throughout them all. What that means is simply your business name, address, and phone number should be listed exactly the same. For example; if your address is Fox Road, you don’t want to abbreviate Road on one listing and not on the others. Being consistent will increase your trust and authority with search engines and strengthen your online presence.

On-Page SEO: Website Content

Local SEO doesn’t just stop at directories. Most B2C businesses serve a local clientele. You need to have local-oriented content on your website as well. Having local content on your website helps search engine crawlers know who you are and where you do business. Having local content makes it more clear to potential customers that visit your site where you are. There are several ways that local content is listed. It may involve taking existing pages on your website and listing cities you are targeting. Another would be having a blog that you post to daily that has topics related to things in the community and your business.

Customer Reviews Strategies:

In the world of B2C, online reviews can literally make or break a local business.  This is particularly true in the areas of food service and personal care industries. If you browse the web you know that today we live in a reviews economy. Reviews help potential clients determine where and on what to spend the money. It would be a good strategy to obtain reviews for your business for this reason. There are several websites that can collect reviews for your small business but it is very crucial to know which of these sites are worth sending past clients to. It is not only necessary but vital to monitor new reviews as they come in and address any negative reviews.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Paul Albee is the digital marketing director of ATS Design Group in Syracuse, New York. Paul and his team specialize in all aspects of online digital marketing including website design, SEO search engine optimization, social media marketing as well as print and advertising design. Paul grew up in Cedar Rapids, attended Washington High School and is Mike Albee’s brother, serving clients across upstate New York, Eastern Iowa and nationwide.