Bolstering Your Brand Awareness: Local SEO And Online Presence For Small Businesses
Small businesses are the backbone of any local community, but what happens when you’re losing out on potential business because your clients can’t find you online? If this sounds like something your organization is struggling with, it might be time to look at your local SEO strategy. Local SEO is essential for small businesses because it allows them to target local clientele, compete with larger corporations, appear in relevant search results, and build trust and credibility within their community. So today, we’re going over everything you need to know about bolstering your brand awareness and, specifically, the importance of local SEO to cultivate an online presence for your small business.
Understanding Local SEO
Before we can give you tips to optimize your website content for local SEO, we must first understand what local SEO even means. Local SEO is the practice of optimizing your website to help it rank higher or become more visible in local search results on Google. Oftentimes, this will include finding targeted, local keywords to integrate into your website, as well as keeping your Google My Business (GMB) profile optimized. But what is a GMB profile? A GMB profile is simply Google’s term for your business’s listing online, and when you open a GMB profile for your company, you can manage how your local business shows up online. Your GMB profile will display your business’s hours, location(s), updates, and more, so it’s important to ensure this information is proper and up to date.
Another thing your GMB profile will feature is testimonials. Customer testimonials are extremely valuable for any business to accumulate as it highlights the positive experience of existing clients while providing insights for prospective customers. Therefore, it’s important to be proactive regarding your review management. For starters, you can try to encourage existing customers to leave a positive review. This can be done through email campaigns, social media posts, or by simply asking customers to leave a review at the end of a service. Something else you should be doing is responding to every review—even the negative ones. Although it’s not ideal to have a negative review in the first place, addressing the issue could lead to potentially resolving the problem, and it looks more professional for other people who see the review. Either way, consistently monitoring your reviews is critical because your review count and score will factor into the local search ranking results, meaning the more positive reviews and ratings, the better your business will rank.
On-Page and Off-Page SEO
Here’s a lightning-round list of things you need to consider for your on-page SEO:
- ensure your keyword(s) are in your URL,
- optimize your page title,
- use headers,
- include your targeted keywords,
- incorporate relevant visuals,
- add meta descriptions and alt-text, and
- add external links.
But on-page SEO isn’t the only thing to consider; there is also off-page SEO. Off-page SEO refers to actions taken outside of your own website that impact your search engine rankings, including building backlinks and gaining exposure through various external channels (such as news outlets or social media platforms). For example, you may try to earn backlinks from high-authority sites, build a strong social media presence to drive external traffic, or even test out something like influencer marketing.
Beyond the nuts and bolts of local SEO, one thing you always need to be thinking about is mobile optimization. Twice as many searches are carried out on mobile phones than on a desktop nowadays, meaning if your website doesn’t work well on mobile, you could be missing out on potential customers. Here are some questions to ask yourself when it comes to mobile optimization for your website:
- Is my website design responsive?
- Is my navigation simple and easy to use?
- Is my page speed optimized?
- Is my content short and concise?
- Are customers being distracted by numerous pop-ups, or can they easily get to where they need to go? and
- Are my call-to-actions (CTAs) optimized and attention grabbing?
So, now that you’ve gone through and optimized your local SEO strategy, how can you be sure your efforts are working? Well, by measuring your success through specific key performance indicators (KPIs), of course. Some common KPIs include website clicks, calls, revenue, total GMB profile interactions, and any other personal goals you may have set for your organization. You can measure many of these KPIs using your GMB profile. Simply go to your profile, select “Performance,” and tab through the various results. If you’ve made some recent adjustments to your local SEO strategy, you can track how these changes are performing through these KPIs to see if your strategy is working or needs further attention. In the end, by reviewing your analytics consistently over time, you can continue to assess your online presence and hone your local SEO strategy.
Ultimately, improving your local SEO strategy may be the key factor you’ve been missing to improve your brand awareness, online rankings, and visibility. Your customers can’t buy from you if they can’t find you, meaning showing up where your prospective clients are looking is critical to the success of your business. Start by learning about local SEO (reading this article is a fantastic start!), make sure to review and respond to any testimonials, and begin optimizing your on-page and off-page SEO. Next, keep in mind that mobile optimization is crucial in today’s digital age and that you should be continuously monitoring your KPIs so you can adjust and hone your local SEO strategy over time. So now all you need to decide is which part of your website you’re going to optimize first!