local-seo-tips-small-businessSmall business owners that cater to local customers need every edge they can get. The big edge going in search today is to get your own local search campaign going. The big three of course are Google Places, Yahoo Local, and Bing Local. So, it is essential to optimize your website to comply with the requirements of local SEO ranking. But just making the decision to start your own local search campaign isn’t enough. You should get your local SEO campaign organized.

The Importance of Local SEO Ranking

Today every small business owners know the importance of local SEO ranking. The growing trend of local SEO as a marketing strategy cannot and should not be ignored. A recent study showed 93 percent of local SEO companies expect their business to grow in 2014-2015, which is up 11 percent from the previous year’s survey results. The local SEO industry is showing such a large percentage because businesses are recognizing the power of local search engine optimization to improve their margins. While customers are shopping, they are often browsing their smartphones for coupons, deals and the best local restaurants. Local SEO gives your company the tools needed to be discovered quickly and easily by your customers. If your business only focuses marketing efforts nationally, you may be missing out on a large and growing number of customers, as a local audience will likely be more enticed to work with you based solely on proximity.

7 Local SEO Tips for Small Business Owners

You’re probably asking where do you start? You start by organizing your local SEO ranking. And to get you going in that direction and to make sure you’re fully prepared for your campaign I have some local SEO tips you can use right now to get started. So here are some local SEO tips to get you started.

1. Claim your profile

You have to claim your Google Places, Yahoo Local, and Bing Local Profiles before you can start to make changes. And the sooner you do this the better because each one of these is going to want to verify you are the owner of this profile. This means either a phone call or a postcard for verification. If you get the post card option remember to be patient because it can take awhile to arrive.

2. Claim as many other listings as you can find also

There are a lot of different yellow page type sites that help with local SEO and that you can go and create a listing. Each one you create is a point in your favor so the more the better. Yes it takes time but if you have the time do it.

3. Add a contact phone

Your customers need to be able to reach you right? Word to the wise don’t use an 800 number. You need to list a number with an area code. This helps to identify your business as being from the area that particular area code represents. If you want to list an 800 number make it an alternate phone number.

4. Add a local address

Your listing will be showing up on search maps so they need to know where you are otherwise you won’t appear. So make sure your address is correct and always listed the same way. Don’t say “St.” on some listings and “Street” on others. Stay consistent in your local SEO efforts.

5. Upload pictures

Pictures don’t help much in the local SEO department but they make your listing more customer friendly. This can only help entice people that might be interested in your services. Assuming you put up decent pictures that is.

6. Ask for reviews

This is kind of like the old saying “Any publicity is good publicity”. Reviews are publicity and whether they are good or bad they help. Of course we prefer good reviews over bad but at least they all help.

7. Keyword tags

Consider what a searcher might type into a search engine to find your services and products. Then make sure you add such tags where possible to your listing. Some places will have tagging options and some you just need to add to the description. But don’t stuff the description because that’s where you need to put them. A few of your most relevant keywords to describe your business will do.

The Bottom Line:

And finally if you find yourself spending too much time on your local search campaign then consider hiring a professional. Because the benefits of being found in local search will be worth every dollar spent on your campaign. It’s likely that your business is serious about improving your marketing ROI and growing your customer base, so the growing trend of local SEO ranking should be a part of your overall marketing strategy.