If you run a local business and get most of your customers from the same 15 or 20-mile radius, you might think that ramping up your Google search rankings—or having an online presence at all—just isn’t that important. So many small local businesses have no real websites and just rely on sites like Yelp (or, at most, on rarely-updated social media profiles) to direct online customers their way.
However, even if you think most of your business is going to come from local advertising and positive word of mouth, there are still huge advantages to be gained from working on your web presence. Specifically, you should try to improve your local SEO (search engine optimization) with the goal of landing in Google’s rankings for your area. Sure, you probably aren’t going to land on the top of a generic search for “auto mechanic” or plumber.” With a little local SEO work, though, you could top those searches for your city, town, or county. Here are a few tips to get you started:
1. Brainstorm your keywords
To start, we’re going to assume your business already has a website and a few social media accounts. If you don’t, in other words, start there. Once you have a web presence, though, the first and most important thing for you to do is to figure out what keywords or key phrases will drive people to your site, Facebook, Yelp page, or Google Places profile. For instance, if you run an auto repair shop, there are probably dozens of different keywords that could lead people to your business: terms or phrases like auto repair, car repair service, or mechanic are all obvious, but terms pertaining to the services you offer (brake jobs, transmission work, oil change, etc.) could also drive traffic. Come up with a list of 30 to 50 relevant terms.
2. Implement your keywords on your website
Now that you have your keywords, start placing them on your website (as well as on other pages and profiles you have around the web) to boost your Google rankings. Having pages on your site for each service you offer (with descriptions, prices, etc.) is a good way to start, but you can also fit keywords in to “About Us” pages, homepage descriptions, and even “Contact Us” pages. The key is to fit your location into the keyword phrases when possible (e.g. “We offer brake repair services in Dallas, TX”) to start hitting that local audience.
3. Learn the art of content marketing
Having quality keyword-focused copy on your website and social profiles is a start to local SEO. However, the best way to boost your local rankings might be to adopt an active content marketing strategy. For most businesses, “content marketing” is basically just blogging. Creating interesting articles with good writing will allow you more opportunities to use keywords and keyword strings tied to your local area. At the same time, you can use content marketing to answer frequent customer questions, describe your services in greater detail, tell stories about your business, or discuss topics relevant to your industry. Lastly, having a steady stream of content will give you more stuff to post on social media, which can grow your local rankings and online presence even further.
With these three practices up and running, you should start to see a gradual increase in local interest and overall web traffic. If you want to continue learning more about local SEO and online branding, though, don’t hesitate to get in touch with a branding and SEO company near you. These companies will know the latest trends in search engine optimization and will be able to help you take your online marketing strategy to the next level.