For most websites and business that operate largely on the Internet, getting yourself known on the web is the top priority. But for local, brick-and-mortar businesses, the benefits of good SEO content aren’t always apparent. The fact of the matter is that not only can local businesses benefit tremendously from effective use of SEO techniques, but it’s also becoming more and more necessary; furthermore, small companies actually have options available to them that online-only businesses don’t.
By utilising specific keywords, taking advantage of local listings on the Internet, encouraging reviews and maintaining a consistent social media presence, local businesses can take advantage of current SEO trends to gain a strong competitive edge.
Why Local SEO Matters
Being identifiable on the Internet has always been important to a certain degree—even for the smallest of businesses. But over the years, several trends have been consistent:
- Greater amounts of people not only shop online, but search for local places to find products they’re interested in.
- Chain retailers, with larger budgets, have been able to invest in better web design and advertising tactics that have allowed them to be more noticeable.
- Internet users, over the past year in particular, have shifted to using mobile devices and smartphones to browse the web more often.
Given these facts, there are a few important points to pay attention to. Firstly, maintaining a strong web presence of any kind is clearly important; businesses simply seem more legitimate the stronger their presence is on the Internet.
Mobile users tend to be on the go and are likely to search for local places that are easy to get to—all the more reason why a small business needs to make sure they rank high on a search result for someone looking for anything from a local restaurant to a local hardware store.
Think Locally With Keywords
Choosing keywords that connect your business to specific locations is essential. This is a wonderful opportunity for businesses to key their content into the culture of a local area. Research popular ways that an area is phrased in search engines and use these keywords in your site’s content. Keep an eye out for particular use of street names, boroughs and titles of general areas.
Take Advantage of Quality Listings
Bing Locations, Yahoo Locations and Google+ Locations all are extremely influential and important for a small business that wants to be found easily. Every little detail is important; the more active and attentive a company seems on these listings the better. Give potential customers the most information possible.
This is where local businesses start to have an interesting advantage. While a review can exist for any type of company, brick and mortar stores have the asset of seeing their customers face-to-face. Simple gestures like asking customers to review the business online at the end of receipts of purchase, business cards or simply asking in person are always a good idea and likely to result in some good coverage from actual customers. Reviews, especially ones found on Yelp.com and others similar factor heavily into search engine results.
Staying Active Through Social Media and Blogs
It’s 2014; every single business should have, at least, a Facebook page and a Twitter account regardless of how small or what type of business they run. Active content comes off as more professional and tends to rank higher in search engines. Social media is also another way to bring in more potential reviews from customers.
Blogs are another idea worth considering for a local business. These will quite possibly require some brainstorming to come up with good ideas and content schedules; quality written blogs that take advantage of current SEO trends and include the proper keywords to point to the location of a business will result in favourable search engine listings.
Content can be made for any type of company—and the more creative the better. For example, restaurants could run blogs talking about the history of food, especially if they offer a particular style of cuisine. Hardware stores could create weekly content that explores how-to tips and hints for home improvement. The possibilities are really endless and can really generate good material that will rank high in search engines and be popular with a customer base.
Now, more than ever due to the significant rise of mobile browsing, local businesses need to take advantage of SEO tactics to let potential customers know more about them. What’s wonderful is that as a smaller company, you can take advantage of both the rewards of Internet success with search engine rankings, social media and great local customer service at the same time.