You’re a small business owner who’s been open and running your brick-and-mortar store for a year now. Business is okay. You’re keeping your head above water, but not much else. Apparently, there’s just not a strong enough customer base in your local area for you to generate a comfortable profit, right? Maybe something will change in your neighborhood, and things will suddenly pick up, right? Sadly, it’s this passive approach to customer acquisition that will keep you forever just on the fringes of success. It’s likely your customers are waiting from one block over, and they just haven’t found you yet. Why? Well … what have you done to optimize your local SEO recently?
What Is Local SEO?Most of us are familiar with SEO — search engine optimization. What many of us don’t understand is how to use it to our best advantage locally. If you optimize your local SEO, you’ll drive more customers through your doors and into the waiting arms of your eager cashier. These are the consumers who live or are shopping nearby. They’re the ones who go an entire town over to purchase the goods or services you sell because they have no idea your store exists. Possibly, they’re the ones who live two blocks away but purchase goods like yours from an online super-retailer because they’ve never heard of your business. If you want to do more than break even as a small or medium business owner, you need to attract these consumers so they can tell all their friends. This is the function of local SEO — giving the people nearby a heads-up that you’re conveniently located and open for business. But how?
How to Optimize Local SEO for Your Small Business?There are multiple steps involved in letting people know you exist, but they all begin and end with a free account on Google My Business. When you set up a free business account through Google, it lets people find you through a search on Google and Google Maps. This means prospective customers can type in a related query that causes your business to pop up as a result. They can see which block you’re on, that you offer the service they need, and that you’re open for another 20 minutes, which is exactly how long they’ll need to pull on shoes and run across town. What else does a Google My Business account let you do?
- Customize your profile by adding photos, coupons, promos, and more.
- Easily respond to reviews
- Edit your profile whenever you want.
- Add contact information and hours of operation.
- Receive real-time notifications when customers interact with your business online.
Boosting Local SEO 2020Of course, boosting your business in the SERPs comes with more challenges in 2020, due to social distancing guidelines and more. But those are yield signs, not stop signs. Once you’ve claimed your business on Google, there’s still more work to be done, such as
- Ensuring your website is responsive and user friendly: This means it loads quickly, and links are direct and don’t meander among irrelevant pages.
- Making sure your site is optimized for mobile search: More and more potential customers are searching for you via mobile devices these days.
- Optimizing your content for search: Titles, headers, URLS, and META tags need to be localized and search-friendly.
- Creating local content on your website: Localizing your content makes it easier for Google to index your business accordingly.
- Creating social media pages and updating them regularly: Almost everyone uses social media today. Make sure you’re visible.