Local SEO for Small Business
Why are small businesses struggling to compete against larger, more popular competitors? It’s not always because they lack resources. Small companies can still come out on top if they leverage Local SEO for better search engine results.
Equally, if you have many competitors in your town or area a solid Local SEO campaign makes you stand out from the crowd and capture the lion’s share of new business.
However, Local SEO for small business is a complex process with many factors to address and many details to get right. Our professionals at RKS Marketing will help you develop a Local SEO strategy to make a significant difference.
What are Local SEO Services?
When you create a website, you want people to find it. We all know that most people start a search online. “Online” means Google to most people. That’s where search engine optimization (SEO) comes in.
SEO services are designed to make certain that your website is more visible to search engines, specifically Google, helping your website rank higher in search results. As a result, more people in your area will find your business when they search for a product or service you offer.
Local SEO is somewhat unique, as Google prioritizes search results differently for local companies vs. other types of searches. There are actually some very specialized local seo tools that we use to achieve optimal results for our clients.
Local SEO increases search engine rankings by improving on page SEO features (including technical optimization, content and website speed) and off-page activities (business reviews, Google Business Profile optimization, link building, business citations, and a few other things).
Local SEO can boost brand awareness, conversion rates (getting people to contact you once they visit your site), search engine rankings, and much more.
How Does Local SEO Work?
Many local businesses rely heavily on local SEO efforts to increase their online visibility in Google search results. You can accurately match your business to many relevant local searches from potential customers in your targeted location/s.
When users search for products or services in a specific area, Google scans through its index to find the best matches. Google uses a unique set of ranking “signals” to find relevant businesses near the user’s location or any location indicated by the local search phrase. For example, “dentist in Pleasanton” or “Oakland electrician”. The same process occurs for a search such as “family dentist”, but in this case Google assumes the location of the searcher.
How Does Google Determine Local SEO Rankings?
Major google ranking signals include:
- Your Google Business Profile (GBP), previously called Google My Business, including the products and/or services you offer, business details, location, and other business information you include in your GBP.
- Your GBP business reviews and the sentiment of those reviews. Also, the number of recent reviews and how responsive you have been to negative reviews.
- On-page SEO optimization factors for your website. These factors include keywords, page titles, meta descriptions, headlines, alt tags, images, videos, and more.
- Your website “authority”, which Google calculates relative to the amount and quality of the information provided on your website, especially unique content.
- Local business citations and mentions of your business on other websites, especially high authority sites that are related to your line of business or profession. Also see: Local Citation Building.
- Links to your website from other sites (aka “backlinks”).
- Social media presence and shares.
As a highly experienced Local SEO company, RKS Marketing works to establish and maintain the best possible Google rankings and conversions by improving your online presence in all these areas. Improving only a few things usually helps very little. The trick is to do an excellent job for all these ranking factors, especially for businesses with numerous and/or strong competitors.
Google Local Search Results
There are two ways search results appear for local businesses in Google (not including paid Google Ads). Both of which we can improve with a proper Local SEO campaign.
Google Maps and the Google Local Map Pack
You’ve most likely seen a Google Local Pack (aka “Google Map Pack”) in Google search results for a local business. The Local Map Pack appears near the top of the search engine results page (SERP) when a search for a product or service includes a location or town name. Google typically displays the Local Pack just beneath any Google Ads that may appear for that search. The Local Pack has three elements:
- A small Google Map with pins for 3 top-ranked businesses that fit the search phrase. Sometimes Google may also show an Ad at the top of this section.
- Local listings for the 3 top-ranked businesses next to the small map.
- A link for “More places” where all businesses meeting the search criteria are listed (as long as they have a GBP for that location). Most people will click on one of the top 3 listed businesses in the Google Map Pack, while relatively few people will continue to the “more places” section. As a result, this makes Local SEO especially important because of the great advantage for your business to rank in the top 3 of the Google Local Map Pack for as many relevant keywords as possible.
NOTE: To optimize for the Google Local Map Pack, all the Local SEO factors discussed above are vital. According to SOCi Research, businesses ranked in the top three local pack results on Google earn 126% more consumer traffic and 93% more conversion-oriented actions than businesses ranked further down.
This means that ranking in the Google Local Pack is likely to DOUBLE THE NUMBER OF WEBSITE LEADS AND NEW CUSTOMERS for your business. That can make a HUGE difference for any small business.
Local Organic Search Engine Results
Beneath the Google Local Map Pack section, you will find the beginning of organic search results. When users search on Google to find businesses in a specific area, Google uses a different set of ranking factors to list “organic” search results here. Google’s ranking factors for organic results do NOT include GBP details> Instead, ranking in this section is primarily based on website content, optimization, and backlinks.
How to Improve Local SEO & Attract New Customers?
With strong local visibility, you have a better chance of converting searchers into customers. Searchers who include a city, state, or zip code (local keywords) in their search query are more likely to be looking for a business nearby.
If your website appears high in search results, you’re more likely to drive more traffic from interested buyers. Solutions and techniques for Local SEO campaigns include:
Local SEO Audit
Before beginning any Local SEO campaign, it’s critical to know where your website stands for the many important factors that determine Google rankings. We always begin with a Local SEO Audit, which does just that. With the information a Local SEO Audit provides, it becomes apparent what is needed most in order to achieve optimal results.
There are a variety of tools available to perform a Local SEO Audit, and we use only the best. In fact, we often will provide a comprehensive Local SEO Audit to show clients what is needed before they actually sign up for a local SEO campaign.
Local Keyword Research
We know how time-consuming keyword research is. It is challenging for local businesses to outcompete global competitors by ranking for high-volume keywords. In the same means, keywords with low search volume don’t garner high returns.
Our solution is a combination of local terms and high-volume keywords. An added advantage for small businesses is that “near me” search terms have significantly increased over the years.
We have the expertise to ensure you rank for keywords most relevant to your location and your audience’s search intent (what they use Google to search for).
Rather than targeting long-tailed keywords, such as “porcelain veneers” or “cost of porcelain veneers”, we target location-specific keywords, such as, “porcelain veneers in (city/state/zip code)”.
Local Content Creation
We highlighted the role of keywords in Local SEO campaigns. You’ll need a place to put these keywords to rank for them and drive your targeted local audience to your business.
We use content marketing strategies (a blog post, location-specific landing page, FAQ page, and media release) to capture your keywords and increase your local SERP rankings.
Our best recommendation to create local content with Local SEO is a company blog. RKS Marketing professionals will develop a custom content strategy to share information (local events, updates, specials, and offerings) through your blog.
We have the expertise to avoid common mistakes (that threaten your online visibility).
Two impactful mistakes include:
- Keyword Stuffing: Overusing the same keyword.
- Keyword Cannibalization: Ranking for too many identical or similar keywords on your web pages.
Reviews (Reputation) Management
Our professionals at RKS Marketing know that your customers are the driving force of your business. We ensure our clients develop sterling online reputations by responding to and encouraging positive reviews and solving negative reviews.
Why do reviews matter for your Local SEO campaign?
Businesses that solve their customer’s problems and respond to reviews are more likely to be visible in Local SEO. Interacting with your reviews solidifies your online presence, and this helps Google find your business.
Not to mention, reviews management drives customer engagement and appreciation.
According to Bright Local, 89% of consumers are ‘highly’ or ‘fairly’ likely to use a business that responds to all of its online reviews.
Local Schema Markup
Schema markup is structured data we add to your website to help web crawlers deliver informative search results to users. This data also helps search engines better understand your content.
NOTE: Schema markup is not a ranking factor. We use schema because it helps Google match your website to an accurate search query, and it also helps to get you more leads.
Schema markup can trigger valuable search results and highlight information about your business, such as your:
- NAP (Name, Address, and Phone Number)
- Online reviews
- Website’s breadcrumbs (A small text path on the top of web pages, indicating the hierarchy of that web page on a site. This helps users navigate your website more effectively)
- Sitelinks (Hyperlinks to sub-webpages that appear beneath specific Google listings so users can seamlessly navigate your website)
Google Business Profile (formerly Google My Business)
Content from your Google Business Profile is the first thing customers see when they search for your business on Google, which is displayed as the “Knowledge Panel” for your business. This information is also a big part of the factors that influence your business ranking in the Google Local Map Pack. It’s very much the same as Google My Business, but with a name change and various enhancements.
Without a well-written and managed GBP, Local SEO results are difficult if not impossible. We can help you create, optimize, maintain and expand your Google Business Profile.
We ensure that our clients’ GBP listings match relevant local search results through practices such as:
- Creating (if you don’t have a GBP) or claiming (if you do have one automatically created by Google) your business listing.
- Adding your updated business information and publishing it to your GBP.
- Adding valuable content to boost GBP, such as videos, photo content, and articles.
- Helping you to acquire and respond to client/customer/patient
- Google considers “proximity” a significant ranking factor, meaning the closer the searcher is to your business location, the better you will rank in the Google Local Pack. For the most part, this effectively means that a business has little chance to rank in the Google Local Pack if they don’t have a location within that city or town.
- Because of this proximity factor, some businesses choose to establish an additional “location” in one or more nearby towns. We can provide help with how to best establish such locations, not necessarily at major expense.
We DON’T recommend neglecting online directories and search engines beyond Google. The more online presence your business has, the better it will rank for Google searches.
At RKS Marketing, we know how vital mobile accessibility is for Local SEO. Dailyblogging confirms 76% of smartphone users who use “near me” searches will visit or call a local business within a day, and 28% of those contacts result in a purchase.
We create responsive mobile websites customized to your brand, so you garner these benefits.
How long your website takes to load is also a major factor in how well it will rank on Google for local search, and therefor how many new business leads will result. Essentially, website page load time is an SEO ranking factor, largely because mobile devices are used so frequently for Google searches. As a result, we work hard to optimize page load times for our Local SEO clients.
Citations are online references that feature your NAP (Name, Phone Number, Address). We include citations in your website and also for local online business directories.
When online business listings on various local directories feature your NAP, we can improve your local search rankings.
How does RKS Marketing achieve this for local businesses?
Local citations deliver key information about your business to users. These references also properly inform search engines (Google, Bing), local online directories (Yelp, Angie), and apps (Facebook) about your business.
With the purpose citations have, it’s another way to match your business to relevant searches. For effective citations, we ensure all your NAP is consistent and updated.
Local SEO for Small Businesses
Local SEO is a powerful strategy for small businesses. At RKS Marketing, we have the Local SEO tools and an expert team of developers, marketers, and content creators to produce Local SEO campaigns that match your business to relevant local results.
With over two decades of industry experience, we know how to put local businesses at the forefront of their competitors.
Contact us for a free consultation via email, email@example.com, or call us at 925-417-7040.
How Can Local SEO Help to Grow a Small Business?
Local SEO helps small businesses grow by driving targeted website traffic and increasing conversion rates from local search. By optimizing their website for geographically related searches, small businesses can make themselves more visible to potential customers searching for products or services in their area. This improved visibility will lead to increased traffic and, ultimately, more customers and sales.
What Kind of Local Business Can Use SEO?
Local SEO is valuable to various businesses, such as doctor’s offices, dentists, lawyers, banks, contractors, home services companies – virtually any type of local business. By optimizing their website and local listing for key terms related to their industry and location, and adding truly useful content for their website visitors, local businesses can attract more local customers looking for their products or services.
Is Local SEO Important for a Small Business?
Absolutely. Small businesses need SEO if you have competition, and who doesn’t? In fact, according to recent studies, 97% of people learn more about a local small business online than from any other source.
Service Area Pages for Nearby Towns
While many local businesses focus almost entirely on the city where they’re located, many others service other nearby towns as well. As a result, it’s important to find a way for your website to attract new business from those towns as well.
The key to using this type of SEO is once again related to the way people search, and the way Google responds to such searches. For example, common searches often use phrases like “cupertino dentist” or “Mexican restaurant in Mountain View”. We can optimize pages for such searches by building one or more “Service Area Pages” for your website, often one for each city where your prospective customers/clients/patients are located.
These service area pages focus on the specific town and the products or services you offer. With a little creativity and effort we can achieve excellent results for most local businesses using this technique. Some of our customers use this method for literally dozens of cities or towns in the Bay Area, with excellent results.
As with many forms of marketing, a combination of solutions can be an excellent strategy and usually brings the best overall results.
For a FREE SEO Analysis of your site – call us at 925-417-7040
We love helping businesses to understand this thing called “SEO”. Just call and say “I’m interested in your FREE SEO analysis”. There’s absolutely no cost and no commitment. We’ll ask you a couple of simple questions and then send you detailed info. No hassles – guaranteed!
You’ll learn a LOT about why your website is not bringing you as many new clients, customers, or patients as you’d like – and what you can do about it. It’s quick and it’s FREE.
Call 925-417-7040 now before you forget. It could be the start of great things for your business.
Or, if you would like to get started or if you have any questions (there are no silly questions), simply email us or call us at 925-417-7040. We’ll do our best to explain in non-technical terms you can relate to.
Serving Businesses in Castro Valley, Concord, Danville, Dublin, Fremont, Hayward, Livermore, Modesto, Oakland, Pleasanton, San Leandro, San Ramon, Stockton, Tracy, Walnut Creek, the East Bay, San Francisco Bay Area, and Nationwide.