Everyone loves a good underdog story. Something about victory over impossible odds inspires us to keep facing challenges head on. And one of the oldest and most well-known underdogs, David in the Old Testament, not only faced a figurative but a literal giant in his opponent, Goliath.
These days, small businesses often feel like David facing off against the big brand Goliaths that dominate many industries. Luckily, local companies don’t have to rely on some rocks, a slingshot, and extraordinary aim. With the right knowledge and taking some key actions, local SEO can be your greatest weapon against large competitors.
The “I Don’t Need SEO” Myth
Let’s just tackle this one right at the start. It’s typical for small or local businesses to assume that they don’t need SEO because they don’t sell anything online, or they have an established location, or they don’t think they have the time or resources to compete against major franchises.
This type of thinking just isn’t true.
With 97% of search engine users looking for local products and services online, any business who wants to remain relevant needs an SEO strategy. Fortunately for small businesses such as yourself, there are loads of fantastic local SEO tools you can use to simplify the work and speed up the process.
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What Is Local SEO?
Local search engine optimization (sometimes referred to as local search engine marketing) is a powerful tool for local businesses to promote their products and services to customers in the area.
No matter what product or service you’re searching for online, Google will almost always provide you with a local map pack suggestion box — just beneath the Google ads at the very top of the page. Within this map pack, there are a few suggestions for providers in your area. Local SEO is all about putting your business in that featured map pack — ideally at the very top.
Local searches are extremely popular, with four out of five consumers looking online for products or services in their own backyard. Google recognizes this, and has made changes over the years to encourage local businesses to get in on the game.
As a result, Google gives its users more of what they want, and local businesses have a way to get in front of their target audience despite big-name competition.
How Local SEO Can Beat the Big Guys
You may have noticed that when you use Google Maps, you have options to explore nearby restaurants, coffee, hotels, etc. before you even start your search. And when you do enter an address or the name of an establishment, Maps still shows you results close to wherever you currently are. The businesses that appear in this prime online real estate didn’t earn their position through standard SEO; That placement comes from local SEO.
SEO for local companies gives you the chance to cash in on a competitive advantage, no matter the size of your business.
Benefits of Local SEO
Some of the specific benefits of local SEO include:
- Helping your business stand out in local searches, which can drive more foot traffic
- Helping potential customers, both local and non-locals in the area, discover your company
- Giving potential customers valuable information about your business, products, or services
- Providing an easy way for people to call your business or access your website directly from search results
- Building brand familiarity
6 Tips for Improving Your Local SEO
By creating a reliable local SEO strategy, you can finally fight the big guys on even ground and gain a fair advantage in a competitive industry. Use these 6 expert tips to lay a solid foundation and strengthen your local SEO.
Tip 1: Claim Your Google My Business Account
Google My Business is the gateway to managing your online presence in Google’s local search results, and it’s completely free. If you haven’t already, claim or create your My Business listing. Then optimize it by filling out your business profile completely, linking up your website, and adding professional images.
Tip 2: Gather Customer Reviews
Customer reviews are so powerful — not just for your SEO, but for your audience as well. Don’t neglect this part of local SEO. There are so many different ways you can ask your customers for a good review, so find out what works and start raking in those gold stars!
Tip 3: Use Local Keywords
Use any keyword tool to compile a list of high-volume keywords relevant to your location and sprinkle those keywords in your My Business listing, your website content, and your current SEO strategy. Don’t forget popular local destinations or region-specific landmarks (i.e. restaurants near SLC airport).
Tip 4: Optimize Your Social Media Profiles
Even social media can have an effect on local SEO for small companies. Consistency is key in your SEO strategy, so make sure you fill out your social media profiles with the same information in your My Business listing. If your information doesn’t match up across the web, Google is less likely to recommend you in location-specific search results.
Tip 5: Use Location Pages
If your business has multiple locations, it’s important that you create different pages—with unique content—for each location. Then use these specific multi-location tactics to further augment local SEO.
Tip 6: Maximize Local Citations
Every time your business name, address, and phone number (NAP) is referenced online, that is called a local citation and it also helps to boost your local SEO. Look for ways to increase mentions of your business across the internet. Then make sure that your NAP info is accurate, and identical across the board. Use this list of the Top 50 Citation Sites for Local SEO to get started.
Trust Us with Your Local SEO
Don’t underestimate the power of local SEO. This small tactic is exactly what you need to stand a chance in competing against those massive brand names. And if it feels like too much to tackle on your own, Big Leap can help. Contact our SEO experts to design a solid local SEO action plan for your business.
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