In the world of SEO, it can be hard for small businesses to keep up with the competition of larger, more influential brands. Even if you don’t have endless resources to throw at a comprehensive local SEO campaign, learning to optimize your local search strategy will give your small business a fighting chance.
One thing to remember about local search is that it is particularly effective for drawing in customers using a mobile device. If you can optimize your site using keywords that mobile users tend to search, your business is likely to get some new customers!
Tackling Local Search
Your first step in developing a local SEO strategy should be to diversify your online presence. Although Google+ Local is clearly the heavyweight of local search engines, a marketing campaign that relies solely on Google+ is in danger. If anything goes wrong with your Google+ listing, your entire campaign is instantly gone!
So where else should you post listings? No matter what your business does, SEO experts agree that you must have a presence on Yahoo Local and Bing Local. But what’s next for local businesses?
All in the Neighborhood
There is a plethora of smaller, more specialized search sites that reward a more organic style of promotion. Consider what kinds of link neighborhoods will work best with your business, and then optimize your presence in those neighborhoods in any way you can. The social media neighborhood is a great way for small businesses to interact with their customers, whether on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, or LinkedIn.
Facebook just announced a beta version of its Graph Search. This could be good news for small businesses, since simple engagement on Facebook is the key to leverage with Graph Search. Facebook recommends strategies such as:
- Creating separate pages for different locations if your business has multiple establishments. This allows you to reach different areas more effectively since Graph Search focuses on localized search.
- Giving users incentives to “Like” your page since more “Likes” equals higher visibility in Graph Search. For example, you could consider offering coupons as a reward for check-ins.
Another network to emphasize in your local search strategy is the review neighborhood, which includes Yelp, Angie’s List, OpenTable, and many others. Or perhaps niche local sites are your greatest asset. You might get the most responses from optimization on the local government site or a site focused on local events or jobs.
As you build a presence in these various neighborhoods, don’t forget to be consistent. Every listing should include the exact same name, address, and phone number in order to avoid Google penalties.
What strategies have worked for your small business? What local SEO tips do you recommend?