Harnessing the power of SEO for small-business owners

Knowing the lay of the local land is vital for small businesses. Operating regionally rather than on a national level means search engine optimisation (SEO) can make a big difference.

Local SEO is all about appearing front and centre in search engine results. So, how can small businesses harness local SEO?

  1. Create a Google My Business account
    Optimising your business profile is a must to improve your ranking and help gain strong visibility. To access your company profile, create a Google My Business Account. Google will add the information to your Business Profile – showing up in Google Search local results, Maps, and Search Knowledge.
  2. Local search simulation
    This is one of the most powerful Google local ranking factors that will help your business top search results. Research keywords someone may use to find your business – and others like it – to know what people are looking for. This is important to expand your reach as Google abolished its local search filter, making it difficult to simulate Google local search results from locations other than the one being searched for.
  3. Seek reviews from happy clients
    Sources suggest at least 88 per cent of online buyers treat reviews like personal recommendations, making a good review worth its weight in SEO. Asking happy clients for reviews will optimise your Google My Business presence, and lure potential customers. Make sure you respond to reviews and show your appreciation for the feedback.
  4. Have a responsive design
    Make your website mobile-friendly to maximise SEO as most people use their mobile device. Your business should make it easy for potential customers to see everything you have to offer, ensuring customers remain interested in your page, and return when they need products or services.
  5. On-page signals
    On-page factors should be considered when tailoring your site to compete for crucial local rankings. Exclusively use keywords relevant to the information shared on your website – search engines are designed to ensure websites only use keywords that are relevant and strategically placed.
    Relevancy is crucial for local SEO and can help your website rank in your industry. Include important details like an address, phone number and business name as they assist on-page rankings. Google can showcase this information when someone searches for it.
  6. Optimise for Voice Search
    In the coming years, voice search will grow rapidly, so optimise your website to fit a conversational tone.
    When using voice searches, customers use long-tail keywords as opposed to short, typed queries.
  7. Backlink profile
    Businesses need effective backlinks to thrive in local SEO so you should attract links from relevant, local and authoritative websites to improve your website.
    Getting an SEO agency in your corner to work on acquiring the highest quality backlinks is a great option for businesses lacking the resources to do it themselves and can ensure priority placement in search results.
  8. Get online citations
    Online citations and directories are the modern Yellow Pages. Through citations, you can access accurate information about businesses in each locality and source local backlinks from credible sites. Most customers prefer using citations and directories to get products and services, and contact details. Search engines use citations to ascertain information about businesses, so it’s another great way to up your ranking.

The bottom line

Learning the elements which affect local SEO rankings is a sure-fire way to make your business stand out. A competitive online edge is very important and can open exciting opportunities for local businesses who are looking to make a splash in their community. The above steps are the ideal place to start your SEO journey, but if you get lost along the way, directions are never too far away.

Joe McCord, General Manager, Digital8

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