Small businesses are continually finding ways to promote themselves. While a lot of traditional marketing techniques might still work, digital marketing is currently the most popular choice among business owners when it comes to promoting products and services.

And while having social media accounts and a website might be perceived to be sufficient, the reality is that there’s just so much more to digital marketing. Business owners can’t be expected to fully immerse themselves in marketing by themselves, much less keep up with the latest trends.

One such trend that they often ignore is local SEO.

Google has done a lot recently to improve the online visibility of small businesses by placing more importance on local SEO. Sadly, studies show that only 34% of small businesses invest in SEO.

According to some stats, however, local SEO has never been more essential — mobile searches account for 88% of all “near me” searches, and the volume of these searches grows 146% every year.

It seems that a lot of businesses haven’t caught up yet on the growing importance of local SEO. Now’s your chance to get a leg up on your competition, as we have a good number of tips to help you boost your local online visibility.

When Do I Work on My Local SEO?

As soon as you’re finished with housekeeping on your site and put together a few pieces of high-quality content, you can start working on local SEO. But before you start inviting more “guests” into your “house,” you want to make sure that everything is in order.

Make sure that:

  • Your site is sufficiently optimized for speed and security.
  • Your site looks good when used on a mobile phone.
  • You have a good number of photos, videos, descriptions, and other relevant material about your goods, products, and services.
  • You have well-crafted, comprehensive, and useful pieces of content designed to educate your audience.
  • You have clear calls-to-action and a system in place for capturing new leads.

This list ensures that you have the foundation of a good website in place, primed to receive an influx of traffic. It will also make sure visitors stick around long enough to find their much-needed answers and solutions.

What Specific Actions Should I Do to Improve my Local SEO?

Probably the most important step is to claim your Google My Business listing and make sure you complete the business profile all the way through.

1. Claim and complete GMB listing

Enter your NAP information (business name, address, and phone number), service areas, business hours, as well as a short description of your business.

Google will need to verify the legitimacy of your data by sending out a postcard to you. This process might take a while, but even as you’re waiting for the verification to go through, you still have other things to work on.

2. Populate it with enough photos and videos

People want to see photos and videos not just of your products and services, but also a sneak peek behind the scenes, and maybe a bit about the team behind the brand.

You probably have a good amount of photos and video clips already available, so upload a few good ones and share new material from time to time.

3. Choose the proper category

Categories help users find the right business online, and you want to make sure you pick out the one that best describes your company.

Pay particular attention here because category mismatch easily turns people off. This might ultimately hurt your Google rank as well.

4. Use Google My Business Posts Feature

There is a cool feature that you can access from the GMB dashboard — posts. You should use them to make an announcement that will show up when someone googles your business.

For example, you could announce a change of business hours, special promotions or discounts, new products and features on your site, etc.

Experts agree that using Google My Business Post feature could greatly <a href=”https://serpwatch.io/blog/how-seo-works/”>improve your SEO</a>.

5. Fill in GMB’s FAQ section

GMB has a Q&A section where anyone could post and answer a question. Since Google indexes these entries, you want to start seeding this section with your own FAQs.

6. Pay attention to your NAP

Not only should your business name, address, and phone number be prominent throughout your site, but this info should also be consistent across all listings and online directories where your business is mentioned.

7. Post About Local Business

Not all your posts should be promotional in nature. Another way of attracting local customers is by posting about major local events, such as festivals, concerts, fundraisers, etc. These posts will not try to sell anything but rather attract new visitors to your website, who might convert into customers at some point.

8. Ask for reviews

Encourage your happy, satisfied customers to leave you reviews and testimonials on Google. Reviews are a particularly important ranking signal for local SEO, but these have to be freely given by your clients (as opposed to being purchased).

9. Respond to reviews

Acknowledge all reviews coming in, whether they’re good or bad. Remember that transparency builds trust. So thank clients who have taken the effort to give you feedback, and note areas of improvement you need to work on.

10. Have your business listed (and listed a lot!)

Get your business listed in as many legitimate online yellow pages and aggregator sites as possible. The volume and quality of citations are another important ranking signal for local search.

Just remember to make sure your NAP info is consistent throughout all these locations.

11. Do some link-building

When you’ve already settled comfortably into a steady rhythm of producing great content and all other action items we’ve just gone through, make an effort to promote your material so you can get valuable, high-quality backlinks.

Conclusion

A lot of businesses don’t pay attention to local SEO, even though its importance continues to grow with more users searching for nearby establishments on their mobile devices.

Mos

t of the action items outlined above will help establish your business on the local market, as well as your expertise and authority in your chosen niche.

7 Trends You Must Know For a Successful Digital Marketing Campaign

Sources:

  1. Factors That Determine Small Business SEO Investment:  https://themanifest.com/digital-marketing/factors-that-determine-small-business-seo-investment
  2. How to Build Your Mobile-Centric Search Strategy: https://www.thinkwithgoogle.com/consumer-insights/build-your-mobile-centric-search-strategy/
  3. 2018 Local Search Ranking Factors: https://moz.com/local-search-ranking-factors
  4. Announcing the 2018 Local Search Ranking Factors Survey: https://moz.com/blog/2018-local-search-ranking-factors-survey
  5. 8 Local SEO Ranking Factors: https://medium.com/@the_manifest/8-local-seo-ranking-factors-e9f97e77e634
  6. 4 of the Most Important Local SEO Ranking Factors: https://www.webfx.com/internet-marketing/local-seo-ranking-factors.html
  7. Google’s Top Ranking Factors For Local SEO: https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbesagencycouncil/2018/07/16/googles-top-ranking-factors-for-local-seo/#7db0f94347c1
  8. Which IYP Listings are Most Important for my Business?  https://www.sunant.com/which-iyp-listings-are-most-important-for-my-business/
  9. Do Businesses Really Use Google My Business Posts? https://moz.com/blog/google-my-business-posts-case-study