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Why Small Businesses Need Local SEO

When it comes to excelling at SEO, it can seem like a full-time job to keep up with the changing algorithms of online platforms and the latest trends in digital marketing campaigns.  This is especially true when you are a small business, targeting a smaller market and with an inevitably smaller online presence.  And while it may be easy to assume that you don’t have much chance online amidst the bigger players, in reality, your chances of success online come from elevating your business in another area of SEO: local SEO.

Understanding SEO

Let’s start with the basics: SEO is search engine optimization, and is a construct that defines how well your business and your website are found online, and where you rank in a search protocol.  Every time someone enters a search into Google, the search engine returns with a list of websites that meet the criteria of an individuals’ search.  The websites that are the most relevant and well-matched to what the user searched are the ones that appear first – and rank highest – in the search engine.  Optimizing your content and your site following certain techniques and strategies allows you to rank higher and be found more easily and more often.

Many things impact a brand’s place in Google’s rankings, and many components of your content make up what categorizes it as having strong SEO. From the online content that you create, Google has certain flags that it looks for which tell it how it should rate in the ranking and where it should appear in a search.  Keywords are an important part of this, as is organization of your content, but Google also cares about whether your content talks about what you say it talks about.  In other words, if you are a business selling handmade jewellery and you are writing all your content about recipes and cooking, Google doesn’t like that and will penalize you in the rankings. Many of these factors are equally as true when you are considering local SEO.

Defining Local SEO

The concept of local SEO is a reductionist application of the broad SEO as we typically know it in the marketplace.  When you aim to achieve local SEO success for your business, you are trying to make your business more visible online to the communities within your proximity that you can serve face to face.  In other words, you are not looking to gain clients online, you are looking to find an audience and gain a market of people who are close enough to come visit, and that you can interact with in person.

Why Local Matters

if you are a small business, you can see where things get tricky when it comes to SEO: at the top of the search rankings are going to be the bigger businesses, not your smaller community café that sells homemade desserts and incredible coffee.  But in reality, many people are looking for local businesses, and the café that is nearby them, and they are very much interested in locations within a close vicinity. Because we can’t always rely on users to search a local business by name or to ask for “café’s nearby,” fostering the right formation of content to drive local SEO is a critical step to your business’s success online and in search engines.  Local SEO is about helping your business get noticed online amidst local ranking factors like address and phone number, but also is crucial to help turn your online audience into face-to-face interactions with in-store customers.  In other words, find you online and then be compelled to come in and visit!

How to Create Local SEO

To achieve local SEO, start by making sure your name, address, and phone number are all accurate and up to date on every part of your website and all your social media accounts. Accurate mismatched contact information is a significant factor in determining your ranking position.  If you want these to rank even better for you, opt to use emails that are on your domain account (i.e. not Gmail), and use phone numbers that have your local area code. With this accurate contact information, make sure you claim your business on Google Business so that Google knows it belongs to you and is a legitimate business. 

Next up, start getting testimonials and reviews.  Get your customers and clients to leave a review on Google, your Facebook account, or other relevant databases like Yelp.  When you have more stars and more people are talking about you, Google recognizes that you must be a good business, and as a result they will put you higher on the list in a search.

While these are just a few of the things you can do to increase your local SEO, there are many more important steps, as well as a lot more to understand about this complex and often changing world of google rankings, online algorithms, and search engine optimization. Let us take care of putting your business at the top of the list. Give us a call today to get started. 

 
Monday, June 04, 2018