As a small business owner, you’ve likely embraced social media marketing by now. You’ve created a website for your business, profiles on Facebook and LinkedIn, and you’ve started Tweeting. Your blog is up and running and you’re on your way to establishing yourself as a thought leader in your field.
But something seems to be missing. Traffic to your site has been steady, but still low. Your Facebook profile has been viewed and liked by your existing customers and friends, but you aren’t seeing many new likes or friends. If this sounds familiar, it’s time to learn a little bit about local business SEO.
SEO is an acronym that stands for “Search Engine Optimization.” SEO is a technique that can help your business to be “found” online by utilizing strategic placement of words and phrases relating to your business (called “keywords”) in your content. The online search engines use robots to catalog all of the sites on the web by searching for keywords. When a search is started using these keywords, on Google for example, the engine will scan its directory and the web for the terms and then rank the site based on how the words are used among other criteria.
Local business SEO uses keywords and phrases that can be targeted for finding businesses in a particular region. When optimizing your site or content for local search, mention nearby cities, zip codes and phrases that a local resident would use to narrow their search results.
How to Increase Your SEO Visibility
Understanding local business SEO is the beginning. The next step is to understand how you can optimize your site and create content that will get your business noticed by the search engines. Here are a few tips to get you started.
1. Think locally
While it’s great to achieve placement in the top listings on Google, many of the top search engines have separate “local” listing directories. Get your site listed on Google+ Local, Bing Local, Yahoo Local, Yelp and Yellowpages.com to start. Getting your placement on these sites will work to jumpstart your online visibility.
2. Make sure your website is worth repeat visits
When writing content, make sure it is relevant to your business and original. Search engines are looking for unique content not “retread” or linked content that can be found elsewhere. Write content that informs, educates or entertains your readers and keep it fresh. Update regularly.
3. Build relationships with other local businesses and trade groups
Reciprocal link building with other local businesses will go a long way towards establishing local authority. This will help you to get exposure with local audiences. Also make sure you are maximizing your memberships with local groups like the Chamber of Commerce. Many local Chambers offer online directories for their members.
4. Be consistent with your information
Make sure that your business name, contact names, address and phone numbers are consistent where ever they appear. Double check when creating your listings on the search engines and make sure the wording is exactly the same.
Understanding how local business SEO works is a strong first step. Remember to keep your content fresh, interesting and relevant. Be consistent with your efforts.
While these tips can help drive traffic, there are many other components that need to be addressed when working to increase your online visibility and local SEO placement. If your effort don’t seem to be working, it may be time to consult a professional trained in local SEO. Consider working with a professional SEO service provider to refine your approach and achieve the maximum results.