Not every business is looking to become the next multi-national conglomerate. There are plenty of small business owners out there who are just tickled pink to serve their local area and they can be quite successful in the process. But just because you’re competing in a smaller region doesn’t mean that you can’t take advantage of the web and become the bigger fish in a small pond.
For a small business with a limited marketing budget, your SEO strategy is likely going to be the most important tool for acquiring prospects. By taking advantage of these 5 SEO tips, you’ll be able to establish yourself in the ranks and plant a solid foot amongst your local competitors online.
1. Take a NAP
Wakey, wakey! NAP stands for Name, Address and Phone Number. These 3 items MUST be included in your website. The most traditional spots for your NAP are in the header or footer. Keep in mind that your NAP should be displayed as indexable text. That means avoid placing this information inside an image. Search engines can’t read text within an image.
2. Location, Location, Location (Pages)
If your business only has one location, you can use a well crafted About Us page to create locally descriptive information about your location. But even if you have more than one physical location, it’s a good idea to create individual pages for each spot on your website. Populate these with unique NAPs, store descriptions, hours of operation, promotions and other localized content. Treat each location as its own micro-site within your website. Duplicate content isn’t good either, so avoid just pasting the same writeup into every location page. Each location should be unique.
3. Be the Local Expert
If your target personas are all within your local area then create and share content that is relative to them. Publish content that is industry specific but relates to your local area. Create a helpful resource by providing content for the attract phase of your inbound strategy that is more useful than just pushing product. This could mean sharing a community calendar, posting local industry news or even coordinating local events.
4. Get on the Google
Further to creating individual pages for each location on your website, create individual location pages on Google+ Local and link to them. Choose multiple categories that are related to your business, both broad and specific. Sometimes employees may create duplicate listings by accident without knowing that they already exist. You can eliminate duplicates by using Google Mapmaker.
5. Build and Verify Inbound links
It’s great to have people linking to you and all, but search engines really don’t care if your 3rd cousin twice removed is linking to your website from her blog about cross stitching celebrity pets.
What counts are quality inbound links. You want to earn your spot from local reputable sources that have identified you as an industry expert. You can help this process along by establishing working relationships with targeted local organizations. Also keep an eye on local directories to make sure that your contact info is correct. If for whatever reason you change locations or a phone number, make sure that you take the time to get those listings updated.
These quick and easy tips are intended to help local startup businesses (and even established ones) earn a little more Google street cred by taking a bigger piece of the search engine pie. Some of these activities are dirt simple while others will take a little bit of time and resources to manage consistently. Whatever you do, keep in mind that providing locally relevant content is something your business will need to do on a regular ongoing basis to achieve long term SEO success.