If you are like many small businesses, your initial audience is pretty small. In fact, it is likely that your audience doesn't expand beyond your local area and that's perfectly fine. Why? Because there are many things you can do to boost your local presence and drive more local customers to your store.
Why You Should Start Local
Local search is a powerful way for small business owners to reach new customers and generate leads. When a customer uses the internet to research products or services, they’re not just looking for any business—they’re looking for a business in their neighborhood or city. And you want to make sure your business is at the top of those local search results.
Fortunately, you can boost your local search ranking with these top tips from digital marketing experts.
Fill Out Your Google My Business Page
One of the simplest yet most effective ways to boost your local search ranking is to register with Google My Business. To get the most out of the listing, fill out all the fields, including your address, phone number and business hours. (You get bonus points for adding photos of your location and staff to personalize your profile even further.)
Build Consistent NAP (Name, Address, Phone)
When Google crawls the web for search results, it looks for mentions of your business’ name, address and phone number (NAP). Even slight variations, like an abbreviated street address or alternate phone number, can confuse Google, so it’s important to make sure that your NAP is consistent in every citation, on or off your website. You can see how your business listing appears everywhere on the internet with a free Local Search Report from Manta.
Claim Online Listings
Online business listings are an important part of local search engine optimization. Creating links that lead back your website, in conjunction with consistent NAP citations, raises your business’ online visibility and signals to Google that your website is relevant and trustworthy.
Get Off-Site Backlinks
Online business listings aren’t the only way to get links. Encourage other websites, including local media and bloggers, to link to your website by getting out into the community. Sponsoring and attending events can help cultivate offline connections that lead to online exposure.
Localize Landing Pages
Don’t just list your business’ name in the title and content of your homepage; include the city you operate in as well. You will rank higher if you are very specific regarding the city and neighborhood where you operate.
Use Long-Tail Keywords
Use phrases rather than single terms to target niche markets. This helps customers find your specific service. It also improves your search rankings because your website includes less-competitive search terms. For example, you can use the phrase “daycare center in hollywood fl” instead of simply “daycare” or “prekindergarten providers” to narrow your focus to a specific area and niche.
Build a Mobile-Friendly Website
Thanks to the ever-increasing number of searches on mobile devices, Google changed its algorithm to privilege mobile-friendly websites in its results. If you want to boost your local search ranking, your website needs to look good on smartphones and tablets as well as desktop computers. Start by running your website through Google’s mobile-friendly test.
Respond to Reviews
When customers leave reviews on Google or any other website, it helps boost your search ranking. You can encourage customers to leave reviews online. If they do, it’s important to respond gracefully to both positive and negative comments. This will help improve your reputation with searchers as well.
Post Local Content
Including a blog, FAQ page, and other local content adds value and makes your site more attractive to search engines. If you’re aiming to rank in local search results, remember to give your content a local spin by writing about topics relevant to your area.
Keep the User Experience in Mind
When it comes to implementing good local SEO, the most important thing is to think like a customer. Google wants to deliver the best experience for each searcher, and so should you—that’s why it’s important to have an easy-to-use, informative website.