Three things small business owners can do today to improve their local SEO on Google
Local search marketing is anything you do on the web to promote a physical business that makes face-to-face contact with its customers. As the term suggests, Local SEO is the optimisation of a website for local search results. It is all about offering search engine results based on the searcher’s current location.
Here’s a simple (and very condensed) example of how local SEO works in when it comes to gaining customers:
You are a business owner and you offer homemade burgers at a restaurant in Ballarat. A hungry Ballarat local named Jessica is on the lookout for the best burger in town so she Googles ‘best burgers in ballarat’ – your burger business comes up in the top search results and also the map results thanks to local SEO (and a good SEO team!).
See the screenshot below: with a well-implemented SEO Local Strategy your burger business could be ranking organically in position one and also in the map listing (double whammy – boom!).
Our top five reasons why small business owners should include local SEO in their marketing efforts:
- Local SEO helps you target locals in your area
- Local SEO offers a high return on investment—no other form of online marketing offers ROI like local SEO
- It adds authenticity to your business. When your business appears on Google Maps or in a local search, your prospective customers are more likely to consider your business to be authentic
- Local SEO is crucial for mobile searches, and it helps you build local partners and connections
Below we have listed three things small business owners can do to help improve Local SEO:
1. Improve your Google Business information and claim your Google My Business listing
To get your listing to appear in the local search pack on Google Maps and Google Search, you need to create a Google My Business listing with up-to-date information.
What is a Google My Business listing?
Google My Business is a free tool that lets you manage how your business appears on Google Search and Maps. The listings look like this (the box on the right hand side of search results):
What makes a Google My Business listing special is that it helps push your retail shop/cafe/restaurant to the top of Google when locals search for your products or services. A box shows up in the search engine results page listing the verified businesses in the area. Customers can also leave reviews on your listing, which may help get you more business!
If your business has been running for some time now then chances are you will already have a Google business listing and all you need to do is to claim it. If your business is new then you will need to go through the simple process of adding your listing online. Your Google My Business listing will allow your businesses details to be displayed whenever someone searches for your product or service within your area.
How to add a new Google My Business listing:
- Login to your google account that you would like to have associated with your business.
- Go to Google My Business to get started.
- Enter your full business name, address, and the category that your business falls under.
When it comes to your Google My Business verification you have a few options to verify. You can verify your business using a postcard, phone, or email. You can also do a bulk verification if you own more than 10 businesses and an instant business listing verification if you qualify.
Ensure that you verify your local listings and include:
- Open hours
- Description of your business
- Link to your website
- Also be sure to manage and respond to all reviews
If you are looking for a complete step by step guide on Google My Business, we recommend checking out this really helpful guide by Hub Spot. If you need help setting this up and optimising your listing, Bravo Digital Marketing can help.
2. Create localised website content
Another way to get some local SEO help for retail shops/cafes/restaurants or any small business is to write and publish website content that will attract locals in your area. Well-written, relevant content is a powerful tool for boosting rankings and achieving better website conversion rates.
Let’s put ourselves back in the example above where you own a Ballarat burger restaurant. You can be writing articles and websites pages that will capture people searching for burgers in Ballarat. If you have a blog – utilise it! Here are some post examples:
- Where to find the best burgers in Ballarat
- Check out our new Ballarat Burger menu
- Ballarat’s tastiest burgers can be found here!
- Why locals love coming to The Ballarat Burger Co restaurant!
- How to construct the greatest burger of all time
- Got Beef? This is where we source our local Ballarat Beef…
- This new ingredient is so crazy everyone will love it!
When people are searching for things like “best burgers in ballarat” or “restaurants in Ballarat” you will have a higher chance of showing up in search engine results because you have targeted pages with relevant and regular content (Google loves this!).
3. Ask for reviews
A recent survey found that 25% of consumers only leave reviews if their experience was really good, and another 33% only leave reviews if an experience was really good or really bad. In other words, extremely positive and extremely negative experiences appear to drive most reviews.
Business reviews matter a lot when it comes to local search engine rankings. Google confirmed this for us:
What’s more, good reviews can help your business stand out to potential customers looking for help making a decision.
You can encourage customers to leave positive reviews by:
- Creating links to reviews sites on your website
- Include links to review sites in your email signature
- Have a business card with review site information
- Ask your happy clients to write reviews
There is always the possibility of getting negative reviews however you need to ensure you have s strategy in place to respond to these. We recommend never leaving any negative review unaddressed. Instead, address them in a courteous, yet honest manner, here’s a really good article from MOZ that outlines how to respond to reviews well.
Well what are you waiting for, get optimising your business for local customers today!
There’s quite a bit to consider when it comes to Local SEO and beating out your competitors on Google. We tried to make this post actionable for business owners to go away and make some of these changes themselves. Hopefully you can go away and implement just one of these recommendations to get your business ahead.
To recap, we recommend:
- Claiming your Google My Business listing
- Optimising your Google My Business listing – include open hours, address, phone numbers, links to your website and photos
- Create localised website content and blog posts
- Ask for customers to review your services
- Respond to all reviews – positive and negative!
If you have any questions about Local SEO, Google My Business or you would like to have a chat about developing a website for your business the team at Bravo are always happy to have a chat. We can also put together a plan of attack for Local SEO and help you with copy-writing on localised web content. Contact us over here for a chat.