Most small business owners today understand the importance of Search Engine Optimization or SEO. However, many local businesses have not kept pace with the changes that Google has made to its algorithm in recent years to promote local search. Here are a few reasons why local search is so important, along with tips to help small business owners incorporate local search into their overall SEO strategy.
1. Local Keywords Engage Local People
At the heart of any effective SEO strategy is a list of highly competitive keywords. For a local small business, local keywords should feature prominently in this list. For instance, by including the region, city, or town in which their business is located in their keywords, local small business owners can attract people who live in that area and are searching for businesses like theirs.
To find suitable local keywords, small business owners can rely on a marketing agency to develop a list of keywords and evaluate how they compare in terms of monthly search volume and competition from other brands. Agencies have software tools that not only help generate keywords, but that can track your results and optimize your efforts.
2. Local Listing Sites Can Boost Traffic
One good way to give a business a local SEO boost is to add it to location-based listing websites. As well as well-known sites like Google Places and TripAdvisor, business owners should also check out listings for their local area. Listing a business website on these sites provides a high-quality backlink, which can improve the business site’s search ranking, as well as providing an additional source of traffic.
Some small business owners get concerned about negative reviews of their business that might appear on listing sites. In general, these are nothing to worry about. An occasional less than stellar review makes the information provided seem honest and transparent. And, if you reply quickly to bad reviews offering a resolution to the unhappy customer, it can even make your business appear caring and committed to customer service. Many businesses have turned a dissatisfied customer around into a loyal voice for their brand.
Tools are available to help you with this. HAVEN Local, powered by Yext, is a powerful tool that integrates with more than 100 listing services including Apple, Bing, Google, Facebook, Yahoo, and Yelp. You can use HAVEN Local to effectively manage listing data and online reviews and improve your local search engine visibility.
3. Social Media is So Important
Unlike other backlinks, links from social media sites like Twitter and Facebook do not directly improve a webpage’s search rank. However, it is still important for local businesses to be active on social media. Businesses that post regularly and interact with their followers quickly build a base of customers who are keen to engage both online and off.
Please contact Haven Media & Marketing if you need help developing a local search strategy for your business.