A Simple (But Complete) Guide To Local SEO For Small Businesses

Learn how to generate leads for your small business using local SEO. For the past 5 years, I’ve been learning how to scale businesses and generate leads. This is what I’ve learned.

If you’re not doing this already, local SEO is the one process you need to make sure that your business becomes seen. Generate dozens of leads and attract dozens of customers simply by improving your searchability and the information you provide on Google. It doesn’t matter whether you’re an eCommerce website or a physical store, you will need to improve your local SEO if you want to have a better online presence. 

So, how do we go about fixing our local SEO? Let’s check it out:

What is Local SEO?

Local SEO is a search engine optimization (SEO) strategy that helps businesses be more visible in local search results on Google. Local SEO does two things for the business: builds awareness and generates leads. By making sure that your site is searchable on Google, you make sure that people find your business. 

And for people to find your business, you need to rank

Millions of businesses around the globe are vying to rank on that number one spot for a search result.

Nike, for example, comes up number 1 in my search results whenever I look up “basketball shoes for men”.

Ranking involves a dozen different factors to help Google determine the top search result for a customer query.

One factor is geographical location. 

That’s where Local SEO shines. 

Why is Local SEO Important?

Local SEO helps your business stand out by driving more traffic to your website and physical stores through online leads. The best part about this is that since these leads are looking for a specific item and they know for a fact that you offer them (based on Google search), these potential customers have one of the highest conversion rates out there.

Don’t believe me? Here are some facts from Hubspot’s marketing survey that help prove my point:

  1. 97% of people learn more about a local company online than anywhere else.
  2. 92% of searchers will pick businesses on the first page of local search results.
  3. 80% of consumers use search engines to find local information.
  4. 88% of people, who search for local businesses using their phone, either call or visit the business within the next 24 hours.
  5. 46% of all Google searches are looking for local information.

A Step-By-Step Guide To Local SEO:

So how do you get from the bottom of google’s rankings to the top of the list? Check out this proven step-by-step guide I made below

Step 1.) Fill in your Google Business Info

The first step you should do is to log in to Google My Business. This tool allows you to manage and optimize your business profile on Google for search engines to crawl. 

A screenshot of Google My Business

Here’s a list of things you have to do to make sure your Google Business builds a positive image of you:

  • Input Your Exact Location
  • Reply to Reviews
  • Verify Your Google Business Account
  • Make sure your targeting the right keywords (more on this later)

Step 2.) Create A Website

Now, it doesn’t have to be an amazing website. It doesn’t need thousands of dollars worth of servers or intense graphics design.

You can actually create a great website for as low as $5/month on Digital Ocean. It’s a great hosting platform that I use myself to power this blog. 

Anyway, by creating a website, you build an online presence that allows you to drive traffic into your physical stores and turn higher profits.

When you’re creating this website, make sure that you’re putting an emphasis on the content that you place there, this will make it easier for Google’s bots to crawl your website and identify the service you provide and the expertise that you provide it with. 

Step 3.) Target Local Keywords

When I said to pay attention to your content, I really meant that you should target local keywords that people around your area are searching for.

By using local keyword data to optimize your content, you tell your audience (and Google) exactly who you are and where you are.

This means that when people in your area search for things like “coffee shop near me” or “shoe repair store near me”, you’re a coffee shop or shoe store will be the first to come upon their search results. 

Optimize your content by picking out keywords that people in your area might search for. Then, make sure that you communicate on your website that you satisfy this need.

As an added tip, don’t worry too much about writing down the exact keyword on your site, Google’s NLP (natural language processing) algorithm is smart enough to identify the relationships between words. 

Now that you have your website and set of keywords that you’re looking to target, don’t forget to optimize your site for Google Voice Search as well. 

55% of users do voice search to ask questions on a smartphone and frankly, not enough businesses do this. So, by optimizing your content for voice search, you give yourself a larger slice of the pie. 

Here are some tips on how you can optimize for google voice search:

  • Focus on conversational keywords: these are the keywords that people will naturally ask when doing voice searches. While this varies from niche to niche, Google Trends has always been a great resource in identifying conversational keywords. 
  • Create an FAQ list: Answer the “who’s”, “what’s”,”when’s”, and “where’s” in relation to your site. A lot of people use these terms when googling so by straight up answering them, you’re giving yourself higher chances of ranking.
  • Optimize your site for mobile users: we’re moving to a mobile-first world where devices and people are always on the go. Make sure that when your website pops up after it ranks on a Google Voice Search, that your site looks cool on mobile. 

You’ve got half of local SEO down – and that’s the content

Unfortunately content can only take you so far, as Google also needs to make sure that the content you create is authoritative and legitimate.

How does Google do that? By looking at the number of people and websites that link back to you

Here are 4 of the best ways I know to help you get started building local links right now:

  1. Create Social Media Pages
  2. Get on Local Business Directories
  3. Get Interviewd For Podcasts and The Local Newspaper
  4. Find Influencers That Are Related To Your Niche

Basically, what you are doing here is building your directory of local citations, which is any mention of the name, address, or phone number of a local business on the internet. These will ultimately impact local search engine rankings and can help you rank accurately on Google maps. 

Step 6.) Engage With Customer Reviews

Studies have shown that over 88% of consumers trust reviews online as much as recommendations from friends and family. That’s why, as a business, you should focus on 

This works amazing if you’re a business surrounded by competitors.

If you’re 1 of 10 pizza places within a 5-mile radius, for example, how do you stand out? How do people, searching for pizza on the internet, figure out that you’re the “best pizza place”? That’s right, they go to your reviews.

So, whenever a customer leaves a review, whether it’s good or bad, I want you to do one thing: engage with it. Make sure you reply and make the customer feel heard.

If they leave a negative review, ask them about it and show that you’re willing to work to be better. Treat every review equally – take the good with the bad and make sure that you’re constantly on that process of improvement. 

Step 7.) Start Social Media Marketing. 

Finally, to generate local leads for your business: start social media marketing. With everyone and their mother going on social media, it’s become one of the most powerful tools you could use to generate brand awareness and engage in a meaningful way with your customers. 

This might seem tough but the good news is that social media marketing just might be one of the most cost-effective and time-efficient forms of marketing out there.

Hubspot reports that 84% of marketers were able to generate increased traffic with as little as six hours of effort spent on social media per week.

It’s a lucrative side to marketing that not many small businesses understand. Stay ahead of the curve and start your social media marketing efforts today.

Do You Need To Do Local SEO?

The answer is a resounding yes. It’s no secret that the world is becoming digital. The problem that I’ve seen with new businesses is that they tend to take this side of marketing for granted. 

They go through all the old motions of radio ads or newspapers but they fail to realize that those mediums aren’t popular right now. Everyone turns towards the internet for their needs, so why should you market anywhere but the internet?

If you start fixing up your local SEO today, you’ll be way ahead of the curve of the businesses that start building their SEO profiles a year, a month, or a week from now.

For Google, age matters. A website that you put out a year ago is worth way more than a website you’ve only recently made. 

So what are you going to do? Start working on your local SEO, build your business’ website, and start scaling your brand today.

Similar Posts