Though SEO as a whole can become a rather complicated technique, there are several steps that just about any small business owner can take to optimize his website and increase the chances of it appearing in organic search results. Most small businesses are locally-focused – that is, they cater to or offer their services to their local community. However, many small business website owners think “internationally” when it comes to search engine optimization.
If you’re a pizza restaurant in Poughkeepsie New York, does it really matter if web surfers in Los Angeles find you on page one of Google? By concentrating your search engine optimization on local efforts, you have a better chance of driving more targeted traffic.
You may discover that you are already doing many of these things on your website, although with a little concentrated emphasis, you can probably improve your tactics. Regardless of where you are in your current search engine optimization, all of these tips are simple enough for any entrepreneur to undertake, and the results can be phenomenal. So be sure to add these following steps to improve your own local SEO:
** Check out the Competition to Improve Local SEO
A good marketer knows what is going on in the world around him. You should be regularly and routinely checking up on your local competition to see what they are doing, offering, or providing. This doesn’t mean that you should be a copy-cat or a plagiarist, but you can learn a lot from what the competition is doing.
One way that you can use this practice to improve your search engine optimization is by regularly checking to see where your competitors are getting their incoming links. There may be search engines, directories, and web rings that you never knew of. If your competitors are getting attention on a site, then it might be helpful for you to do so as well. Not only does this get back links to your own website, but it also ensures that you are getting as much representation on the internet as possible and exposing yourself to the local community by all means available.
** Consider Local Website URLs
If your small business has very specific service areas, you might want to consider separate web addresses to take advantage of local searches. In the very least, you could create individual landing pages for each specific region. Each of those URLs or pages should be SEO-focused on the specific area, with locally-based headlines, page titles, and body copy. This will help to ensure that when someone is searching for a particular area they are able to find your business.
Many searches will include a specific city or region for example, “babysitters in New York City” while someone else may search for “Babysitters Brooklyn NY”. You may serve both areas but if you are only targeting your content for New York, you can lose out on the Brooklyn searches. Correct this by creating specifically tailored pages for each city, region, or even neighborhood that you
** Double Up On Your Address
Provide your business address at least two times on your website. Preferably it should be included in a primary location as well as the footer. Be sure to spell out your full state name in one instance of your address and abbreviate your state in another. This will help to draw in visitors who are searching for CA as well as California.
** Promote Your Community to Improve Your Local SEO
Getting and providing links to area businesses and organizations can greatly improve the number of people who find your website through area-based searches. Many communities have city websites, chamber of commerce websites, visitors bureau websites, etc. These are often great linking partners. Contact the webmasters and enquire about getting a link from their site, and also offer to link to various local businesses and organizations from your page as well. While this technique might be a wash as far as “link juice” goes, it does show Google which “neighborhood” you’re associated with, which can help increase your local search engine results.
** Getting Reviews Can Improve Local SEO
Encourage your customers to leave reviews for you and your services on some of the many review sites. Most of these sites, even those run by larger organizations, are organized according to communities. This can help your local SEO in a big way as well as provide some free marketing in the form of testimonials.
** Check Directories
Check the various internet directories, including local 411 pages, to ensure that your business and website listing is correct. Make sure that numbers and mailing addresses are up to date and that your company’s description is well-written and accurate. Do a Google search on your business name. There’s a good chance that your business is listed on directories that you’re not even aware of. While you’re at it, do a search on your competitors’ business names; if you find them listed on other directories, do whatever you need to do to get yourself listed on those directories also.
Many small businesses spend too much time and money on search engine optimization efforts that don’t necessarily bring relevant traffic. By improving your local SEO, you’ll have a better chance of driving targeted traffic and prospects who are most likely to purchase from you.