When it comes to securing a local customer base, small businesses have the upper hand over larger competitors. People are more willing to support companies that are also involved in their community. Additionally, local customers tend to be more loyal and are more likely to be life long buyers. In The Big Expectations, Small businesses: What Customers Want survey, 91% of respondents said they would choose to support small businesses when convenient as opposed to larger firms.
Securing local customers is a huge advantage for small businesses, so driving local traffic to your company website is important. To do this effectively, your business needs to maximize your local SEO. Local SEO will give you an advantage over your competitors and increase the visibility of your company online.
So what is local SEO and how can you use it to grow your local customer base?
When a person searches for something through a search engine like Google or Bing, the search engine determines what websites to show them and in what order. SEO, or search engine optimization, is essentially developing your online content so that the search engine will show it as a top result for relevant searches. Similarly, local SEO is optimizing your online content specifically for people in and around the location you are trying to target.
Having effective local SEO will help you get your website shown at the top of results pages when people make a search relevant to a location.
For example, someone looking for a website designer in Edmonton might search “Website designers near me” or “Website developer in Edmonton.” If you have a website design company in Edmonton, you will want your company website to show up as the first result. To do this, you have to let the search engine know where your business is located through local SEO.
Include local keywords
Keywords are words included in your online content that tell the search engine what your website is about. To localize your online material, you should have keywords such as your city, town, and address in your website and content. This will inform the search engine where your business operates so it can display your website when someone searches for anything relevant to your business in an area.
If your business is not located in the area that you are trying to target, you can still use local SEO for that area by including the target city name somewhere on your website.
A great place to put location keywords is on the “about us” page on your website. Keywords are also great when included in URLs, title tags, and meta descriptions.
Another way to help the search engine understand your business’s location is by embedding a google map onto your webpage. Search engines like this because they can recognize the convenience a map provides viewers, and they will reward your website on the results page.
Most smartphone owners have used their mobile browser to search for a website at one point or another. This is especially relevant when they do not have access to a desktop.
In a recent report from statistics, 50.85% of website traffic was conducted from a mobile phone in the third quarter of 2020.
Since about half of website searches are from a mobile device, it is important that you have a mobile user-friendly website. Search engines benefit quality websites by showing them higher on the results page, so having an excellent mobile website will increase your google rankings and visibility for mobile searches.
Most importantly, you want your visitors to have a positive experience on your webpage regardless of the device they are using. If your website is difficult to navigate from a mobile device, it can decrease visitors’ trust in your business and reduce your conversion. With such a high percentage of searches being mobile, you don’t want to take the risk of driving away so many potential customers.
Deliver content that is relevant to local consumers. You may want to post about local news on your social media or write a blog post relevant to your location. Your business can even host or participate in a local event or contest. Whatever it is, the more online content that links your company to a place, the more the search engine will show your business when people search from that location!
When you create a Google My Business listing, your business will show up on Google maps. Not only will this provide directions to the front door of your business, but it will also give the search engine of the location of your business, again giving your website higher rankings on the results page.
You should also post your location on other directories like Yelp and Bing Places to increase your exposure. The greater variety of platforms that your business is on, the more places that local customers will be able to find you online and the more search engines will associate your business with a specific area.
Maximizing your local SEO is one of the best ways to reach customers in your area and grow a local following. Furthermore, effective local SEO will drive more local traffic to your website, generate new leads, increase your online visibility, and ultimately increase your sales. For small businesses, optimizing local SEO is especially important since they are more likely to have a local demographic. Either way, effective local SEO will only benefit your company’s online presence and generate more traffic to your website.