Get Your Local SEO Strategy as Solid as a Brick (and Mortar)
Your small business is your passion, your brainchild, maybe even your everything. And your growth plan likely touches several industry areas you might not be 100% familiar with, including finance, sales, HR/operations, and marketing. You know where I’m going with this — we’ve got you on that last one.
For example, you open a brewery because you enjoy the science behind the brewing process, the creativity in making various ales and lagers, and delighting your taste buds every step of the way. You’ve loved beer as long as you can remember and decided to dedicate your career to it. But unfortunately, your passion is not enough to run a successful business.
We’ll leave the finance and other recommendations to those industry professionals, but when it comes to marketing your brick and mortar business, we’re the industry professionals you’re looking for. Because if a small business doesn’t have a solid marketing strategy, does it even exist? Kidding (kinda).
And more specifically, we’re here to talk about local SEO — a subset of SEO on a general level.
What is Local SEO and Why is it Important?
Local SEO is a search engine optimization strategy that helps small businesses become more visible in their local communities. It puts the emphasis on your business’ physical location in Google search. Think about it: the last time you were looking to get your car washed, for example, you probably searched “car wash near me” or “car wash [town] [state].” You (probably) don’t care about a car wash two states over or even two towns over. Unless maybe you’re Walter White. 🤔
Implementing local SEO is a must for service-based and brick-and-mortar businesses — restaurants, shops, salons, roofing companies, landscaping companies, etc. — if you want to drive brand awareness and traffic to your site. This strategy involves optimizing your website as well as off-site venues like Google My Business (GMB). And when done right, you can rank for your area’s local pack in Google search.
Local pack example for “marketing agency in Southington ct.”
And why should you shoot for the local pack? Advanced Web Ranking did a click-through-rate (CTR) study: the first, second, and third results held 25%, 14%, and 9.5% of clicks, respectively. That’s almost half of all clicks that happen on the search engine results page (SERP)!
So, how should you start building your local SEO? Leave it to me.
10 Local SEO Tips for Small Businesses
- Do your research. Start at the beginning — type a keyword you might want to rank for in Google search and analyze the SERP. Does it look like a page where you’d want to be? Does it make sense to rank for that keyword? If the page is filled with results that make no sense for your business, leave that keyword in the dust and try another one. Once you find your ideal SERP, check out the competition. What headlines are they using on their website? What are they doing to rank locally?
- Update your headlines with local-based keywords. For example, if you own a roofing company in Southington, CT, the headline on your homepage should read something like, “Quality Roofers in Southington, CT.” And the headlines of your service pages: “Roofing Services in Southington, CT” or “Siding Installation in Southington, CT.” Avoid location keywords speaking towards the county you serve as users don’t typically search that way (lower monthly keyword search volume).
- Craft location-specific title tags and meta descriptions. Your metadata (how your site appears in search) should include similar terms to your headlines and include location-specific keywords.
- Include a service area page on your website. If your business services areas outside your town (going back to the roofing example) you’ll want to include a website page that lists towns you serve.
- Create/optimize your GMB profile. Having a well-built Google My Business profile helps your customers/clients and Google realize the validity of your small business. Make sure to include as much information as possible (include photos!) and optimize your services and info sections with keywords related to your business.
- Ensure other local listings are live and accurate. Are you accredited by the Better Business Bureau? Or maybe you own a practice that’s featured in online healthcare directories. Review your profiles and make sure your business name, hours, contact, and website is EXACTLY the same across platforms.
- Increase your listings. Having a strong backlink profile (list of sites linking back to your site) is important for any website’s ability to rank. But for small businesses specifically, it’s crucial to get authoritative links from your local chamber of commerce, directories, and more. This strategy involves some proactive outreach.
- Have a solid, consistent presence on social media. Social media is a living, breathing representation of your business. Oftentimes, potential or existing customers/clients will go to Facebook messenger, Instagram DMs, or your comments sections to contact and review your small business. If your social page doesn’t exist or has grown stagnant/outdated, people might have a hard time trusting your ability to communicate and industry authority.
- Monitor and build reviews. When was the last time you engaged with a business with poor or no reviews? Like me, you probably can’t remember. Reply to reviews in a professional manner (thank those who leave positive ones and address those who leave negative ones). To build your reputation, encourage customers/clients to leave reviews via automated email or with incentives.
- Implement LocalBusiness schema markup. Not to get all technical on y’all, but schema markup is a great way to help Google understand what your website or a webpage is all about. There are all sorts of schema (for example, this page will be marked up with Article schema) that encourage rich results in Google. Implementing LocalBusiness schema markup tells Google that you’re a — you guessed it — local business and what areas you serve. This helps your small business rank in your local pack.
Alright, that was a whirlwind of information — I hope you were taking notes. If you’ve been following along, you know local SEO can make your small business. And a lack can break it; in this day and digital age, you have to be where your audience is. And we know it’s a lot, but don’t fret. We’re happy to partner with you and put your brand on the Google map. Check out our GMB to contact us.