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Local SEO for Small Businesses – A quick guide to getting it right

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Sean

SEO, Web

Local SEO for small businesses – a quick guide to getting it right

Search engines are one of the most powerful tools a small business has for being found by customers in their local area. Searches for products, services and destinations are carried out using search engines, social media and maps, and users are presented with a list of options near to them.

But featuring on the list of results is only half the battle. You need people to click through to your website. Setting your website up for local SEO gives users the information they need to see to know you can help them. It gives you the best chance of getting new enquires from your local area.

Local SEO for small businesses starts with a Google My Business profile

Google My Business is a tool from Google which enables you to provide up to date information for users who find your website from search. When people see your website, they see information like opening times, the distance from their location and Google reviews from other customers.

As the UK comes out of lockdown, it’s especially important that small business owners make sure their Google My Business profile is correctly set up. Outdated information could give the impression you have not reopened yet or are no longer in business.

Make it clear you’re open for business

How to set up local SEO – step by step

1. If you haven’t already, create a Google My Business profile

Your Google My Business profile basically puts you on the map for people searching locally for your products or services, or company name. For instance, a complete profile means that when someone searches ‘forklift hire near me’ your forklift hire business will be one of the results that returns.

2. Make sure you fill in every section of the My Business profile

Creating one just isn’t enough, it needs to be complete with your business’s information, so people can find out exactly what you do and make that all important click to your website. Google makes it easy and guides you through the process of filling out the details.

3. Ask happy customers to leave a review

Get reviews on platforms such as Google, Yelp, Yell, Facebook, and any others that may be specific to your business. The more positive reviews you have on these platforms, the more likely your website is to appear for people searching for businesses like yours.

photo-food

4. Stay active on platforms like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, and YouTube

Choose the platforms appropriate to your business and audience and create up to date profiles. People increasingly use the search engine features on these platforms to find services close to them, so having a presence on them is vital. Make sure you keep your business profiles up to date and post regularly. If your last social posts were back in 2015, it could look like you’ve shut down!

5. Create content for your blog or social channels

Create and publish content related to local issues, stories, promotions, and events. Writing about subjects that local people will recognise is a great way to grab their attention. A good example of this is a local estate agent creating infographics about the housing market in their area. People searching for this type of content will likely find their website (if it’s good!).

mobile-phone

6. Make sure your website is mobile friendly

The shift to mobile has already happened and if you are not catering for mobile devices, you are missing out. Having a mobile friendly website is one of the criteria search engines like Google look for when ranking your website in search results.

There’s more to making a website mobile friendly than resizing the design to suit different screen sizes. One example is making pages ‘tap friendly’ and including plenty of space around buttons. This prevents users having to zoom in and out to click, or accidentally pressing the wrong button.

7. Create a ‘how to find us’ page

If you’re a business where customers come to you, make sure to dedicate a page on your website to information such as opening times, parking availability, phone numbers, address, a map with your business highlighted on it, plus any promotions you might have.

8. Build links with other local businesses

Create links to your website by reaching out to related local businesses. For instance, a restaurant could create a webpage recommending local pubs or a record shop might list upcoming gigs and events. Search engines see links to other related and reputable businesses in the same area and push content to the top of searches related to this subject.

Any last advice?

Local SEO for small businesses is an ongoing process. Once you have everything set up, you need to continue updating your profiles, link building and creating new content to publish on your website and social channels. It requires time and effort each month, but the pay out is well worth it.

Think your business could improve its local SEO strategy? Get in touch for a website and social media audit and we’ll let you know where you could make changes.

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