Location, Location, Location!
If you own a small business that is dependent on local customers, you need to think about SEO differently than a large company with widespread reach.
While industry giants can focus on generic keywords and use their name-brand recognition to rank higher on Google, local businesses need to hone in on specific search terms and target themselves for local searches. The good news is that Google wants to help connect people with local businesses that offer what they are looking for. When determining results for local searches, Google will consider three things about your business before assigning it’s rank for a given search criteria: relevance, distance and prominence.
At first this one might seem like a no-brainer… if someone types “bakery” into a Google search they will get a page of results for bakeries in the area. However, local businesses can leap ahead of the competition by providing more specific keywords that are pertinent to their offerings. For example, if someone were to instead search “cupcake bakery” or “healthy bakery”, the local businesses that include content and reviews for those keywords will rank higher than ones who do not.
This requires business owners to do some self-reflection when designing their websites and social media accounts. It’s important that the keywords you use in your content is truly relevant to the goods and services that your business offers, because nothing will be more disappointing to a potential customer than finding out that you can’t deliver on a promise you made online. They might even go so far as to leave a negative review or tell their social circle not to trust your business!
Google will also consider the physical distance from the personal conduction the search to the local businesses in the area who match the criteria. Therefore, it is imperative that your business is listed (and verified) on Google Maps. Even if you have a home office or you travel to different locations for your business, you can still list your business and service area on Google Maps.
Although you can’t change the physical location of your business to be closer to the person conducting the search, it’s important to note that you can still rank higher than a closer business if your offerings are more relevant to the keyword search.
The harsh truth for new small business owners is that more well-known businesses will rank higher on local searches. However, you can help your business become a prominent figure in the community by building a strong social media presence and having your business listed on sites like Google+, Yelp, Angie’s List, and other sites that connect people with businesses. Encourage customers to leave reviews for your company and respond quickly to online inquiries to build validity for your business that Google can verify.
Although you won’t be able to build your business’s prominence overnight, steady growth and frequent updates to your website and social media accounts will pay off in a big way. And if you think you need help to build a solid online presence and boost your Google rankings, check out these hosting and website creation services through R&A Marketing. We use proven methods of improving SEO for small businesses to help connect you with the right people and grow your business!