Local SEO Strategies for Small Businesses

We know, we know… everyone wants to be #1 in the world in their favorite Google search. Out of billions of searches, and billions of web pages, your site is the coveted number 1 result! That’s a great feeling! Of course, for many local business websites, not only is this unreasonable, but it is also unnecessary.

Think about it. The marketing resources available to the “big players” can create an unfair advantage. The amount of content alone that a big corporation can produce is an advantage. 

Their website could rank for hundreds of keywords. That alone would bury the small family-owned business alive in search engine results. 

So, why even go there? Sure, any size business can compete these days. You can expect to get a “some” share of the world market, that’s the beauty of the Web. 

But don’t spend so much of your energy focused on world domination that you miss the local opportunities. It’s these local SEO opportunities that can tip the scales in your business favor.

How important are these local searches and what
could it mean for your small business?

46% of all Google searches are seeking local information. The majority of consumers who do a local search use their smartphone. Most of whom visit or call a store within a day. So consulting a provider for local SEO services should be a top priority. 

Whether you’re a home service business like a painter, electrician, or plumber. Or a professional service business like a dentist, spa, or therapist. Your business needs to compete in your local or regional market. 

Many consumers want to hire or buy from local businesses. A “big player” located in some far off city may be flashy and even well qualified. But do they really understand “your local” market? 

The mystique associated with such a company will hold little or no appeal for a shopper who wants the personal touch. And why would they want to buy local?

Of course, the reasons vary, but included in them are:

  • A sense of security, and product support
  • Someone who knows your name
  • A friendly familiar face
  • And local references.

In other words, the “warm fuzzies”. That feeling is hard to get when you are dealing with a company thousands of miles away.

Now, I’m not saying that everyone in your local area will blindly flock to you simply because you’re… local. The point is, for you the local field is a more LEVEL playing field so make sure your home game is strong.

46% of all Google searches
are seeking local information.

Be Found… Locally!

So how do you get started? There are many things you can do to improve your local search rankings. Let’s keep it simple and just focus on two main things.

  1. Building locally targeted service pages for areas you serve.
  2. Optimizing your local business profile on Google and other search engines.

Targeted service pages are a key to solid Local SEO results

Your small business most likely offers a variety of services to customers. Let’s use a residential painter as an example. 

Most residential painters provide many services. Some of these might be interior and exterior painting. Staining or specialty painting, like garage floors or furniture restoration. 

They may also provide services like pressure washing, wallpaper removal, and even drywall repair. That is a variety of services to market to our customers. Each one of these services should be its own targeted page on your website.

Ideally, when a customer searches online for services you offer, you want them to land on your website. Even better you want them to land on that specific service page. But what if your business services many cities, towns, or neighborhoods in a region? Locally targeted service pages give your website the best opportunity to be found in search. 

Let’s say you’re a residential painting business based out of Framingham, Massachusetts. You may service many of the surrounding cities like Natick or Wellesley. But Natick and Wellesley also have many other residential painters. 

Some local searches people perform include a city name with the services they are looking for. For example Natick Residential Painters or Wall Paper Removal Natick. 

So how do you compete? Building a page targeted at the specific service and area. In this example, the page could be residential painting with the specific target area of Natick. 

These targeted pages on your website can be a great way to extend your visibility in surrounding markets. The bonus is these services plus location search terms can be very easy to rank for.

Optimizing your local business profile

Fortunately, search engines such as Google, Bing, and Yahoo have provided the means for small business to make themselves known. Let’s focus for a moment on Google My Business to see how it works:

This is the introduction to the process. There are a lot of details and best practices available online with regards to your Google My Business Profile. Our intention with this article is to highlight why as a local business Google My Business is so important. Google allows you to include the following information in your Google My Business profile.

  1. Business name/title
  2. Address
  3. Phone number
  4. Website URL
  5. Categories
  6. Description
  7. Tagline
  8. Social profiles
  9. Images
  10. Additional media
  11. Alternate phone numbers
  12. Fax number
  13. Certifications
  14. Brands carried
  15. Payment forms accepted
  16. Attributes

It’s important that this information is up to date and accurate. Especially your business name, address, and phone number. Google uses the location data in your profile to determine if your business should show up in the 3 pack results (see image above). 

Showing up is only the first step. Consumers who click on your small business name in the results will see more information from your Google My Business profile. 

Images, videos, brands you carry, reviews, and more. A strong profile can determine if customers click on your business or not. So it’s vitally important to invest the time to build out our profile. Opportunities await those who do.

By far, having a strong Google My Business profile can immediately have an impact on your local business. But, about one-third of all searches are still done through other search engines. Yes, there are uses that use other search engines like Bing and Yahoo. 

So it’s important as well that your profile in these other search engines is up to date as well. Specialty review websites such as Yelp and Home Advisor should also have an accurate and complete profile.

Now don’t get me wrong; your SEO strategy should include efforts to expand beyond your local market. If your business model supports it. Hopefully, you’re committed to investing in building a strong local SEO presence. It will help you to build your local home services business for years to come.