Mastering search engine optimization can be an arduous task for small businesses that do not have adequate resources or time in-house to invest in digital marketing. Even when it comes to local SEO, a good amount of strategic planning is needed to be done on three fronts: onsite, offsite, and locally, the last of which involves optimizing local listings such as Google My Business. However, if you want to start gaining some traction organically, below are some handy tips that can help you capture traffic organically…without annoying end users.
Whether you only have one location or operate in several different areas, it’s important to optimize your content, site structure, and meta data around your key geographic areas. For example, if you have a storefront in Montreal, be sure to include the name of your niche market within the page you want to optimize for that area. If you have multiple locations, creating individual pages for each location with unique content can help you push new traffic to the most relevant pages and rank well on search engines.
One of the biggest issues marketing professionals have when it comes to local SEO is forgetting to optimize the NAP (name, address, phone number) details across all local listings around the web. While Google My Business may be the most important local listing for a myriad of businesses, Yelp, Foursquare, and Bing can be equally as important. If your business location details are not consistent across all of these listings, your ability to rank high via local search queries will be negatively impacted.
You can send signals to search engines in the form of structured data by marking up the location details on your web pages. This rich data will help search engines better process the information on your website and showcase address details whenever it’s pertinent. A fortunate by-product of implementing schema markup is that if your business is prominent enough, such as having a page on Wikipedia, this structured data can help you optimize your listing on the knowledge graph.
For those of you that read my blog regularly, you’ll know that I’m the biggest proponent of a mobile-first design when it comes to building new websites. When it comes to local search engine optimization, it is an absolute must to have your web pages render perfectly on all types of mobile devices. Not only is searching via mobile devices eclipsing the amount of search made on desktops for certain niches, but smartphone users are beginning to use voice search on the go. Thus, “near me” searches continue to become more popular. If you’re capturing traffic on mobile devices, you want to make sure you have the following setup:
While this goes together with optimizing your local listings, there is an element of social media marketing needed to generate reviews. Your business’ reputation can play a significant role with regards to conversion rates from organic searches. If users see a myriad of poor reviews & negative feedback, you’ll most likely be passed over for the next business. However, if you have cultivated numerous stellar reviews and testimonials, you might see an uptick in foot traffic from local searches.
Now while all of these tips may seem like a lot of work, we have not even scratched the surface of what can be done within a search engine optimization campaign. Content creation and link building still remain the most resource-intensive and rewarding tasks to be carried out on a monthly basis, but some of the tactics outlined in this post can provide quick results and help set you on the right path.