local seo hacks for small business

Whether you’re an up-and-coming or existing brand, there’s no doubt that SEO is challenging. It’s a constant, long-term effort that changes in line with the latest Google guidelines – which is why many small business owners prefer to focus on local SEO instead.

Why invest in local SEO?

Far from the lower-cost incentive, local SEO is a great way to achieve a presence on Google in a relatively short space of time. It’s also great for those with a local brick-and-mortar store, looking to get ahead of competitors in the area.

So, how can we get ahead with local SEO?

Connect your site to Google Search Console.

Google Search Console allows you to instruct Google on how to crawl your site, making sure the most important pages appear in search engines. Submit a sitemap (you may find this in your CMS or simply by adding /sitemap.xml to your URL) to help Google better understand your site structure.

Create pages for each product or service.

That sitemap you’ve submitted will be easier for Google to understand if you have a specific product or service on each page. It’s better to create a dedicated landing page (for example, law firms might have family law and corporate law) to give your site wider coverage. This may also help with PPC if you’re considering paid ads in the future.

Claim your Google My Business listing.

If your business has been around for long enough, you may notice it appears on Google My Business – giving it NAP data and a place on Google Maps. This is usually down to user-generated content, such as local reviews.

But if you didn’t set up the listing yourself, it’s time to take ownership. Tell Google that you own the site and become verified (Search Console will help). You’ll then have free rein to add photos, change opening hours and respond to reviews as you please.

Start collecting reviews.

Here’s where Google My Business really comes into its own. As your profile is run by Google, collecting reviews helps to boost your SEO – in particular, pushing your business above others on Google Maps. Your star ratings may also appear in search results, which you can use to interact with customers.

Sign up to local directories.

Link-building is one of the most challenging areas of SEO, so local business directories offer a great head start. You can use these to categorise your products or services and add NAP data to your profile, helping contacts in your area find you easily.

Post regular content.

Once you’ve signed up to Search Console, you’ll want to keep those crawlers working hard! Posting fresh content lets Google know your site is active, so consider starting a blog if you’ve not done so already.

Engage with a local SEO specialist.

Without question, all of these methods take time and experience, which is where a specialist can help. Get your head start by speaking to a local SEO expert.