5 easy tactics small to medium sized businesses can use for strong local SEO
It’s no secret that running a small business requires skill in several different areas. You don’t need to fight every battle to win the small business and marketing war, but it’s important to show up to the big ones. Like being visible online. Usually, local SEO is the job of someone who got dumped “everything marketing” on their desk. Or it’s up to the owner themselves to get the business found online. Sometimes a local business hires an SEO company and pays thousands every month because they don’t know how to get the ball rolling.
But there is good news.
Local SEO is actually pretty easy to do on your own. Getting found online doesn’t have to break the bank or be a full-time job. Here are 5 must do’s for local SEO to be competitive online.
- Make sure you have a compelling value statement, in other words, “why buy here.” Your value statement is the foundation for everything you do online. You need unified messaging on every site. Without it, search engines may be wary of inconsistencies in the descriptions of your brand. You also aren’t likely to convert as many customers. Research competitors in your market and neighboring markets. Find out who has the most compelling value statement and come up with an angle that makes your brand more appealing. The odds are that someone else is claiming to be the cheapest, most experienced, or provide the best service. So try to come up with something new that addresses your customers’ key concerns. (Hint – it’s usually not price.)
- Add consistent business information to as many listing directories as you can find. Find listing sites and fill out profiles on all of the maps and directories with the same information. Try to use attractive photos and even videos wherever possible. It can be time-consuming, but aim to add a handful of directories a week. Local SEO Guide has a great list of directories here. There are also some good, inexpensive local marketing software solutions that can push your business listing data to 300+ sites automatically.
- Post on social media sites every week. You need to find out which social media sites your target audience is using first. It doesn’t make sense to spend a lot of time posting on Facebook if most of your customers are other businesses, for example.No matter what your audience YouTube is critical for search success. Even if you’re making small videos with your phone, a YouTube channel can make a huge difference in local SEO.
Create a schedule for posting and stick to it, no matter what. “The best content comes in the form of you being an expert in what you do to gain the public’s trust that you are an authority,” says Gavin Arner, Marketing Director for Unvendor. “That can be how-to videos and tutorials, documenting fun stuff at the office, events that you attend as a company or of course customer testimonials.”
- Ge reviews often. Reviews are important because search engines look for businesses that are regularly getting reviews. They also want to see businesses responding to reviews. If you have multiple locations, reviews in each location can also help with local SEO. Be sure to check review sites on a regular basis paying close attention to the ones that are most popular for your audience.
- Gain links from other organizations and businesses in the community. Asking other neighborhood sites like the Chamber of Commerce can be very powerful for local SEO, and better than just any old backlink. Search engines love these mentions from other local places because it’s a great indication that you are relevant and real. Local directories, job postings, content for local blogs like Patch.com, or memberships in local associations can all generate valuable links for your business.