When first conducting my research on local SEO tips for small businesses, I noticed that there were plenty of articles with 50 or even 100 tips just on local SEO. To anyone just learning SEO, it might seem a bit intimidating to look at a daunting list of 100’s of SEO tips. That doesn’t mean that they are all not important, a good amount of them are!
But I wanted to share the most important tips for those who wanted to get started getting their local business ranking on Google. Here are the best local SEO for small business tips in 2022.
Top 7 Local SEO (Search Engine Optimization) Tips For Small Businesses In 2022
1. Creating a Google My Business Account
The most important thing you can do when it comes to local search results in Google is to create a Google My Business account. When you go through this process, you’ll be able to give the NAP (Name, Address, and Phone Number) of your business. Google will then call or send you a letter to verify the account. Once complete, Google will be able to index this information.
Your business will then be placed in Google Maps and the SERP. An extra piece of advice would be to make sure to always keep your information updated if you want to dominate in the local SEO.
To create a Google My Business Account (GMB), follow these simple steps:
- Start by creating a Google Account.
- Next, visit https://business.google.com/create.
- Enter the name of your business.
- Enter your location and delivery information.
- Let Google know what areas you serve.
- Select Business as your category.
- Add your contact details.
- Lastly, finish the registration process and verify your business.
To optimize your Google My Business, you should:
- Verify the ownership of your business.
- Provide only the most up-to-date information about your products/services, location, business hours, and the payment methods you accept.
- Add your business logo and images of your business location.
- Share updates about your business and any new special offers.
- Encourage people to leave a Google review for your business and engage with them.
2. Optimizing Your URLs and Tags
Optimizing your URLs, title tags, and meta descriptions is pretty commonplace for local SEO. However, most local businesses seem to forget its importance. Another big tip for ranking locally is to include the region, city, district, and other target keywords within those fields. When Google indexes this information, you’ll have a stronger chance to show up in the results for those keywords distinct to your area.
3. Stay Modern with Optimized Voice Search and being Mobile Friendly
We all have mobile phones in this modern era, so it’s not surprising when Google announced that they will give ranking priority to mobile as opposed to desktop. Along with that, in order to stay ahead of the curve, we must pay attention to the upcoming Google trend that is voice search and voice assistants. The reason for this is because more people are using the voice function for search and questions are becoming a common type of search query.
If you think about people using voice search, you can start piecing together long tail and short tail keywords that make up the phrases your customers would ask. When Google recognizes your local business, then your store will start showing up locally when a user searches via voice. Oh, the power of technology!
4. Business Directories on Other Platforms
There are a variety of other directory platforms where you can place your business’ name, address, contact information, and website. Facebook, Yelp, Foursquare, MapQuest, TripAdvisor, and Bing are some of those other online directories where you’ll be able to plug in your business details so that users on those platforms will be able to find you easily.
Placing your business’ NAP into these other online platforms will further reaffirm communication between those sites and Google just strengthening your ranking position in local search results (SERP). Google’s algorithm has gotten more complex and it no longer views all links equally. However, web directories are still a small ranking factor for local businesses. They add to your business’s credibility and bring traffic to your business site.
Keeping this in mind, here are a few web directories where you can list your business:
- BOTW - Has monthly traffic of approx 60K visitors
- AboutUs - Has monthly traffic of 200,000
- Spoke.com - Has monthly traffic of 80,000
- Bing Places - Has monthly traffic of 430K
- Foursquare - Has monthly traffic of 20 million
5. Capitalizing on Local Terms such as Districts and Neighborhoods
As a local business owner, it’s likely that you and your customers use common phrases distinct to your city, district, or local area. With this sort of information, you can conduct keyword research, using tools such as Google’s Keyword Planner, Ahrefs, and SEMRush, which will capture more phrases that are specific to your area.
There is plenty of upside to this as you’ll be able to show up better in your customer’s local searches. If you think that you might be drawing a blank on these types of keywords? Try adding in streets, parks, neighborhoods, local events, and other community topics in your copy or blog!
6. Getting Positive Reviews from your Customers
This goes without saying, but asking your customers for feedback can really go a long way for your business. Not only because you can improve on how well you are servicing your customers, but if you do receive positive reviews on Google, Facebook, Yelp, and Foursquare, those will only strengthen your presence on Google My Business.
If you think about it, a potential customer is looking for your local product or service and thus will look upon the search results where Google will have placed higher reviewed results more than others. By asking and receiving positive reviews, your position in the SERP has the potential to be higher and could lead to more sales.
7. Blog about Local Events and Get Coverage
Being an active member of your community in real life has done so much for businesses before the internet happened. Now that we are all connected digitally, local businesses need to take the extra step and bring that local activity online. This is a chance for businesses to have some fun by either creating a blog featuring local events or even being super active on social media with other local businesses and business journalists in the area.
The benefit of cultivating relationships with non-competing local businesses and journalists is that they could help bring high-quality backlinks to your site! Local coverage is as simple as writing about things happening in your community and sharing them online! It’s a great way to stay in touch with your community and vise Versa!
What is SEO for Local Businesses?
SEO for local businesses - haven’t heard of this?
SEO and local business SEO both follow more or less the same search engine optimization techniques. But there is one key difference between the two.
While traditional SEO is used to achieve global search engine rankings, local SEO on the other hand is used to achieve local SEO rankings. Unlike traditional SEO, local search includes one distinct feature and that is the local SEO 3-pack.
What is Local SEO 3-Pack?
Well, think of it as the only distinguishing factor between SEO and local SEO search results.
Local SEO 3-Pack is basically the search result that appears on the top of Google SERPs when people perform local searches. For example, if you search “best restaurants in Chicago”, you’ll see this SEO 3-Pack search result:
For local searches, Google picks the top three local businesses that best match the searcher's search query. It’ll display the best results based on the searcher's location.
Now you must be thinking, how does Google populate the SEO 3-Pack search results?
Well, Google pulls the best information directly from Google My Business (GMB).
Why does search engine optimization for local business matter?
When a potential customer in a particular area searches for businesses that offer products or services that you deal in, local SEO optimization will make sure your website appears at the top of the search results. When your business ranks on the top of SERPs, people will be able to find your business and purchase products and services from you. That being said, ranking on Google is not easy. You need to meet a certain SEO requirement to be able to rank. Keeping that in mind, here are a few local SEO ranking factors you should keep in mind:
- Relevance: Does your business offer the product or service that the searcher is looking for?
- Proximity: Is your business close to your searcher's physical location?
- Prominence: Is your business reputable and well-known?
This is essentially what SEO for local businesses boils down to. We’ll discuss the best local SEO practices as we progress further in this local SEO guide.
Participate In Your Local Events And Communities
When it comes to local SEO solutions, digital PR is key. The more you participate and engage in your local community the better your PR will get. And what better way to build PR than sponsoring an event. When you present yourself as an authority in any domain, you’re bound to receive local media coverage. This will help build your brand awareness.
What else can help you build PR?
Collaborating with a nonprofit organization for a charity drive or hosting a volunteer day for your business. You can also generate inbound backlinks for your business. For example .edu links have high domain authority. Earning high DA backlinks will help you vastly improve your local SEO. Earning good links will give Google signals that your website is legit, hence you’ll get ranked on the Google SERPs.
But how can you earn high DA links?
While not easy, here are two ways through which you can earn good inbound links:
- Through sponsorships
- Through guest blogging
You can consider sponsoring a physical or virtual event and promoting something that is locally available in your area - something that people will love. You can host a webinar or a local meetup to build relationships with local brands, influencers, and potential customers. Reach out to other businesses and prominent people for partnership opportunities. This will help you get your business featured on your partner’s website or other directories.
You can also consider guest blogging to acquire relevant backlinks for your business. Reach out to local publications and see if they accept guest posts. It can be a great opportunity to get relevant backlinks. Another way to earn backlinks is to talk positively about other local businesses in your area. For example, if you own a Chinese restaurant, you can talk about other worthwhile local restaurants offering different cuisines - sort of like a listicle of the best restaurants in your area. This will help you become a helpful resource for people searching for good restaurants. By doing so, you’ll be helping the community. Ultimately, people will talk about your business and you’ll naturally earn inbound links and get engaging social media coverage.
Optimize Your Site With Local Keywords
When performing local SEO, you should conduct in-depth keyword research. Your research should help you find industry-relevant keywords and topics for your business. For example, for local SEO, “Service in location” is an ideal keyword format. The search intent behind such search phrases is BOFU in nature, meaning, searchers already have enough relevant information about the product or service - they’re just looking to make a purchase.
Optimizing content for “Service in location” keywords such as “best restaurants in Dallas”, will let your searchers get acquainted with all the services your business offers in your area.
To figure out what keywords you should be targeting for your local SEO, you can take advantage of Google’s autocomplete feature. Using the “service in location” query and modifying it with your services and local area or city will help you figure out what search terms you should be optimizing your content for. You can also analyze the SERPs to see what keywords your competitors are targeting. This approach is free.
If you want to perform more in-depth keyword research, topic research, and competitor analysis, you can resort to using paid marketing tools like Ahrefs or SEMRush. Every new content that you’ll publish on your site will be an opportunity to rank on local search phrases. Therefore, whenever you write new content for your business, make sure to optimize it for search engines. This means incorporating keywords with high search volumes in your meta title, meta description, URL, title, and body.
Opt For A ccTLD Domain And Use A Geographic Target In The Search Console
What is a ccTLD domain?
ccTLD is an abbreviation for country-code Top-Level Domain. It is essentially a domain that lets you promote your business locally to people residing in a specific country.
ccTLD domain uses two-letter codes to basically make it obvious for search engines and searches which country, territory, or region your website is registered in. The two letters we mentioned appear at the end of ccTLDs domains. For example:
- .us (United States)
- .uk (United Kingdom)
- .ca (Canada)
- .de (Denmark)
- .cn (China)
Using a ccTLD helps search engines understand which country you’re targeting.
Why is this important for local SEO?
Well, words and phrases have different meanings in different countries. For example, Football in America is a completely different sport from Football in the UK. Therefore, if you search for Football in both counties, you’ll get different results. To remove any confusion and to let Google know exactly which country is relevant for your business, you must specific geographic targeting in your website’s search console. You can do this through the International Targeting report option that you can find in the Google search console. Within the International Targeting option, you’ll find two tabs that will help you track any errors in your hreflang and for letting you choose a specific country where you want your business to rank. The tabs we just mentioned are:
- The Language Tab
- The Country Tab
Specifying which country you want your business to rank in the search console is one of the best local SEO best practices. Implementing it will greatly boost your local SEO.
This concludes our local SEO tips for small businesses in 2022! Hopefully, the concept of optimizing for local search is now clear to you. If you apply these tips, we can guarantee that you’ll be hitting some ranking factors and hopefully turning up higher in the SERP else you could always opt for SEO services. Lastly, we have also written two guides on eCommerce SEO and Google Shopping Ads, if you want your business to reach a global audience.