Are you curious how you can get your business noticed on Google? You might think there are so many websites and businesses that you don’t stand a chance. Nothing could be further from the truth!
The reality is that search results are based on what terms a person uses in the search bar. You may not be able to rank highly on broad or general searches about your industry without significant resources. However, you can focus on local and long-tail keywords and do very well – even as a small business!
Here’s what you need to know to rank your small business using local SEO.
Start With Your Google My Business Page
Did you know that every company can create a page on Google that makes it easier to find them? Google My Business allows you to enter your name, address, phone number, and other relevant information so your customers can find you quickly.
You can also upload photos to make your Google profile more engaging, and your Google My Business page is automatically connected to your Google business reviews.
With everything in one place, Google My Business is your one-stop shop to get your local search engine optimization (SEO) off the ground!
Build Great Reviews From Current Customers
Once you’ve got your foundation in place, the next step is to build your online reputation. Reviews are the basis of this reputation – the majority of people trust reviews as much as they trust a personal recommendation.
Many small business owners are nervous because they feel that unhappy customers are the most likely to leave a review. That’s true, but you can take steps to manage it.
As Ryan Erskine notes in Forbes, “Defending against an inherent negative review bias is possible, though it does require patience and hard work. It boils down to proactively and consistently prompting employees and customers for reviews to showcase a more authentic representation of the company in the long term.”
Make asking for reviews part of every transaction. That way, you’ll be able to capture the happy customers you have on a regular basis – and protect yourself from negative reviews.
Use the Right Local and Long-Tail Keywords
How do search engines know what your website is about and determine whether your content is helpful to others? Simple – through the use of keywords on your website and in your content.
Let’s say you have an auto repair shop in Toronto. Don’t try to rank highly for keywords like “auto repair.” That’s too general and there’s a lot of competition.
Instead, use longer keywords like “mechanic in Toronto,” or “why brakes squeak.” When you include a city, town, or neighborhood in your keyword, it’s a local keyword. Long-tail keywords use at least three words.
Concerned about your ability to find and target the right keywords? Not a problem – you can get professional help with SEO experts for local businesses.
Make Sure Your Site Performs on Mobile
Over half of all search traffic now comes from mobile devices, so if you want to be relevant and useful for potential customers it’s important to have a responsive site.
However, you need to go further than simply using a responsive theme. You need to make sure that your website looks good on a smaller screen by looking for yourself.
What should you look for? Consider these elements:
- Is the text large enough to read easily?
- Do images look good on a smaller screen?
- Do any sidebars or floating features make text hard (or impossible) to read?
- Do pop-ups cover the page and are they easy to close?
Google has moved to mobile-first indexing, which means the rank of the mobile version of your website is the only one searchers will see. Even if they are doing a Google search on a desktop or laptop computer, Google will base your rank on the relevance and usefulness of your mobile site.
All that means is that your website’s mobile usability is more important than ever, so don’t neglect it!
Be Sure You Meet the Need for Speed
Did you know that website users will navigate away from a page if it takes longer than three seconds to load? That’s not much time. To meet those expectations, be sure to optimize your site for quick load times.
Here are some steps to take:
- Take advantage of website caching to store data
- Make sure images are formatted to reduce resources needed to load
- Make sure you don’t have any auto-play videos or animations that can slow the page
- Evaluate your site hosting regularly to make sure your plan meets your needs
When you optimize your website to load quickly, not only will you keep your visitors, you’ll rank more highly as well.
Local SEO Makes a Big Difference
With the steps in this guide, you’ll be prepared to set your website up for maximum success. From Google My Business to high-quality reviews, keywords, and other strategies, you’ll see a big difference. Expect better success for both your website and your business this year!