Whatever the size of your business, you want to show up in search engines. Nearly half of all searches on Google are for local businesses. Creating a local search engine optimization strategy (SEO) for your small business can help you take your digital presence to the next level while bringing customers into your brick and mortar.

Do these three things to help your small business rank in local search.

What is local SEO?

Local SEO is a strategy that helps consumers find your specific business depending on their location. Often, this type of search includes the phrase “near me” or a certain neighborhood, city name, or zip code.

Here’s a stat that may surprise you: 72% of consumers that did a local search visited a store within five miles according to HubSpot.

People search for restaurants, barbershops, massage studios, photographers, landscapers, and much more in their area, and with local SEO, your business can show up in the results. In turn, that drives traffic to your door.

How does local SEO work?

To optimize your website for local search, it’s important to let Google and other search engines know key information about your business, including location, products and services offered, hours, and even photos and images to support your company’s mission. SEO tactics range from accurate and consistent name, address, and phone number across various online listing services (Google, Yahoo, Facebook, Yelp, Bing, etc.) to the more technical aspects, like making sure your site loads quickly and ensuring your schema is up to date.

While local SEO relies on several factors to be the most effective, there are three key strategies you need to implement now to help your business show up in search results.

Local SEO helps consumers find your small business.

1. Optimize your website

Since 60% of searches for local businesses happen on smartphones and tablets, you need to make sure that your website is responsive or mobile-friendly. How your website looks and functions on a smaller device also impacts your rankings. Search engines like Google use mobile-first indexing, which means they use the mobile version of your website to evaluate and rank it.

Optimizing your website includes both technical and content elements. It means making sure your website is structured so search engine crawlers (the pieces of software that reads through your site and decides what it’s about, where it’s located, and where to place it in the search engine results) can easily understand it.

It also means using keywords on your website that your customers would use to search for a business like yours. You should use a mixture of implicit (Google does the thinking for your customers and assumes they want a result near them) and explicit (customers search for something near them) keywords. For example, if you own a small bakery in Denver, Colorado, you may want to use the following keywords to help your business show up in online searches:

  • bakery (implicit)
  • bakery denver (explicit)
  • best bakery denver (explicit)
  • croissant (implicit)
  • wedding cake (implicit)
  • wedding cake bakery near me (explicit)

Once you have a targeted list of keywords, you can create content on your website that contains these keywords. Content can include product pages, descriptions of services, a blog, an FAQ page, YouTube videos, and much more.

2. Manage your online listings

Your business may be listed online in multiple places, including Google, Facebook, and Yelp. Since these sites help consumers find your business and direct traffic to your website, it’s important to claim your business listing and make sure your business name, address, and phone number are current. You should also include your business hours, photos, and promotions.

Your industry or local area may have other unique opportunities for online listings. For example, you might have a listing on a Chamber of Commerce website or local restaurant directory. This provides relevant and healthy backlinks to let search engines know your business site is high-quality and valuable.

Many local searches happen on mobile devices, so be sure to optimize your website for mobile.

3. Get some positive reviews

Online reviews can be more powerful than your digital or traditional marketing efforts. Not only do they help your business appear higher in search rankings, but customers also trust reviews. 79% of consumers said they trust online reviews as much as a recommendation from a friend or family member.

To get positive reviews, focus on providing excellent customer service first and make people feel special when they choose your business. Consumers tend to leave reviews for exceedingly positive or negative experiences, so it’s worth educating your staff exactly how their customer service can impact many areas of your business. Many customers are willing to give reviews when asked, so train your staff to request reviews from their customers.

As a small business owner, you not only have to get a steady stream of (positive) reviews, you also need to manage them. Customers expect businesses to publicly respond to their reviews, whether negative or positive. Create a template to use so you have consistent language (and to prevent any heated reactions to a negative review). You can then provide incentives or solutions if necessary.

Local SEO solutions

By now, we hope you understand how important local SEO is for small businesses. We know that many small business owners have a lot on their plate and optimizing your online presence for local SEO might feel like a tall order.

We recommend partnering with a company, like Vivial, for local SEO solutions. Vivial can help you create a beautiful, functional, and responsive website that looks as good on a mobile phone as it does on a desktop computer. They can also help you manage your online listings and online reviews. Vivial is your one stop shop for local SEO and other digital marketing tools for your small business.

CenturyLink and Vivial

With a CenturyLink internet connection and Vivial digital marketing solutions, your business will be ready to broaden your reach and engage with customers in new and innovative ways. Use Vivial’s expert website design, content development, video, and social media options to take your small business’s digital presence to the next level.

To get started with Vivial, call 866-476-9909 today.