For many business owners, Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is a necessary evil. It is something many business owners do not want to spend time on, but they have to if they want their target market to be able to find them. If you are a local business, it is essential that you can be easily found on Google. It is said that 85% of consumers use the internet to find local businesses. If you do not rank on Google, it is almost certain that you are missing out on quite a bit of business.
To many, SEO can be overwhelming. Experts use words such as backlinks, citations, meta tags, etc. which can cause your average business owner to get confused.
It is important to note that there are many things you can do that only take a few minutes and can have a huge impact on your local search engine optimization. Here are five quick and easy things you can do to help boost your business’s local SEO.
1. Claim Your Google Profile
If you are a new local business, you need to claim your Google Business Profile. You can do this by searching for your business on Google Maps. If you do not come up, go to google.com/business and click “Start Now”. You can follow the steps and create your business listing. Make sure you categorize your business properly and add all of the services you offer so that you can rank for relevant keywords. When you are done, Google will typically send you a postcard to your address which can take up to 7 business days. When you receive it, go back to the website and type in the verification code, then you are all set!
2. Directory Submissions / Citations
A Local Citation is basically a reference to your business Name, Address, and Phone Number (NAP). One of the most common citations comes in the form of directory submissions from websites like Yelp, Yellow Pages, etc. You can research the main directory websites and submit your business to each of them manually. If you do not want to do it manually, you can contact an SEO Company to help you with Citation Building / Directory Submissions. When submitting your company to directories, it is very important that all of the information be identical across all platforms. This means if your number is formatted (XXX) XXX-XXX on your Google Profile, it must be formatted the same way across all other websites. The same goes for your address! If you use a # before your suite number, use it everywhere. You want to avoid any confusion of search engines.
3. Get More Reviews
This is another one that is often overlooked. Not only can more Google reviews help your SEO, it will also drastically improve your conversion rates. Most people look at reviews before making a decision to purchase a product or contact a business, so this is a very important one. Start off by trying to get at least 5 good reviews and make sure you respond to them. Also, don’t forget about other platforms, such as Yelp!
4. Try Your Luck at Blogging!
This is an underrated tool that many small businesses miss out on. The best way to get your site noticed is to produce quality content. If you have a WordPress website, you have a blog capability already built in. In fact, most website content management systems have blogs, so you can ask your web developer about setting up a blog. You can also check out this guide on how to make SEO blogging manageable.
5. Research New Keywords
All of the tips above are great for improving exposure and search engine optimization, but another thing you want to do is research additional keywords to make sure people are searching for the keywords you want to target. First, you want to put yourself in your customers’ shoes and think about what you would search for if you were them. Make a list of keywords as well as any synonyms or variations you can think of. There are many free tools out there such as SERPs that will allow you to type in a particular keyword and see how many searches it gets per month. This can be a good guide so you can optimize your website content to use these keywords.
Your website’s SEO is not something that is going to be done overnight. True, quality Search Engine Optimization takes time and patience to develop. However, when you take the time to build up quality SEO, the results are limitless. For low competition keywords in local markets, these tools should help you get started on your SEO journey without having to break the bank.