If your business relies on local audiences for your turnover, search engine optimization is of the utmost importance. Many small, local businesses also don’t generally have large amounts of marketing budget available to them, making local SEO one of the best tactics to use.
When done correctly, local SEO can send highly targeted traffic straight to your website or even to your physical store.
Important SEO factors for small business to focus on
If you want to ramp up your search engine optimization efforts in 2017, focus your efforts on the following:
Thoroughly research your keywords
If you’re creating an SEO strategy for the first time or you’re looking to make some long overdue improvements, start with some keyword research. Using a keyword research tool such as Google Keyword Planner, identify the keywords that you would like your website to rank for. Now optimize your website’s copy using these keywords. Be careful not to overdo it though as that won’t do your website any favors. Your copy should still sound natural and be written for your visitors, not search bots.
Update your meta data
Now that you’ve identified your keywords, update your meta titles and descriptions for each page. Try and include relevant keywords in your header tags and copy, and don’t forget to give each of your images relevant alt-tags to improve your website’s optimization.
Register on Google My Business
If you want to improve how your business is displayed in local search results, it’s essential that you sign up for Google My Business. Be sure to fill out as much information as possible and add photos to ensure that you are making the best possible impression online.
Make use of structured data
Structured data, also referred to as SCHEMA, makes it easier for search engines to classify the most information on your website and what that information means. Your NAP (Name, address, phone number) is just one area where you can make use of SCHEMA. Just make sure that your details are in the same format across your entire website as well as on other websites. Articles, reviews and events are just some of the other elements that can be used in conjunction with SCHEMA to boost your local rankings. Google offers a structured data markup helper to get you started.
According to Search Engine Land, 88% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations, which is why it helps to have reviews of your own. Focus on Google reviews first and then you can move onto platforms such as Yelp. Get in touch with your existing customers to find out whether they would mind leaving you a review, just to get the ball rolling.
Make your website responsive
A third of all mobile searches are local. If your website isn’t responsive, now would be the time to correct that. If local search is important to your business, make sure that mobile users can easily find and browse your website on the go.
Identify the social media platforms that your target audience frequents the most and setup a page for your brand. You can even use your keywords to optimize your social media pages too. Fill in as many profile details as possible to ensure that your social media pages compliment your website and Google My Business profile.