SEO. Search Engine Optimization.
Changing algorithms-buzz words-techniques.
Let's face it.
SEO can be a bit of a cluster **** and the industry lingo can be a little-well-over-the-top.
We're not here to insult anyone's intelligence, but if you're looking for a straight-shooter analysis of what it is and why you need it-keep reading.
You built a website-or paid someone to do it.
Congrats, but without SEO your site is like a Rolls Royce sitting in your garage without gas.
Sure looks pretty, but it's not going anywhere.
We're here to give you the top 23 local SEO tips for small businesses.
One's that will put fuel in the tank and get you ranking in the search engines.
Put your site in front of your target audience and get your website doing what it's supposed to.
Let's take it from the top.
On-page SEO is all about your website.
How to leverage Google and climb the ranks and be found in relevant searches.
Let's dive into the best on-page optimization techniques and devise an actionable blueprint that will put your site front and center.
You're scouring the internet trying to find a product-service-or information.
You type words into the search bar.
In the land of SEO these words and phrases are what we call keywords.
There's a method for using keywords effectively.
Let's break it down:
Your keywords are the nuts and bolts of your content so you need to get it right.
Take the time to do your homework, understand your target audience and what it is they're looking for.
They say content is king, and by 'they' we mean Google.
They've actually been saying this for years.
It's no secret that Google changes the rules of the game whenever they feel like it, but content has been a constant.
Thin content=high bounce rates and they don't like that.
What you need is high-quality content-and lots of it.
Language that focuses on user intent.
The acronym EAT has been tossed around since 2018.
It stands for: expertise-authoritative-trustworthiness and it all boils down to the copy on your website.
Content tells users and Google what you're all about.
Organized-easy to read-relevant and logical.
To best optimize your content consider fundamental components like those outlined in this article including:
Content can be the make it or break it when it comes to ranking organically.
It's a chance to include those keywords, and demonstrate to Google and your target audience that you're the top dog.
They don't need to look anywhere else.
Enough high-quality SEO content and you'll see a significant improvement in your organic rankings.
3. Tag It
Your website tells users and Google what you're all about and is a clear-concise summary of the content on each page of your site.
Meta tags are HTML tags-think bot code words-informing the search engines, but they also act as your 'elevator pitch'.
Meta tags are a way to catch a reader's attention
Title Tags are the preferred way to start your game plan, like the back cover blurb of your favorite novel.
Your title tags tell people what your site is about.
Use authentic and to-the-point language and a quick synopsis confirming you have what they're looking for.
Pro Tip: Stick to around 60 characters to maximize crawls.
It gets a little techie, but if you take your time and devise your master plan you'll ace the meta tag portion of on-page optimization.
Which is a crucial component of local SEO.
Headings-or headers-are layman's term for h tags.
Think h1-h2-h3-etc. These tags are different from the title tags we already mentioned.
Title tags are for the SERPS (search engine results page).
That snippet in the header of your website that isn't visible to your viewers.
Heading tags are in your face and their job is to tell the reader what each page-or portion of your page is about.
Think of your headings (h tags) as sections on your page.
h1 is the most important so it goes first, then count them down from there.
Each page has only one h1 tag and is the detailed info on the 411 for that page.
Use your title page or a slight variation in wording to optimize the h1 tag and match user intent.
Moving through your content add h tags where there are breaks in copy.
Sections outlining specific services for example.
Tips to remember for additional tags as per this post include things like:
No single word headings.
Go in order-2-3-4-you get what we mean.
Add relevant keywords.
Take advantage of the power behind the heading tags.
This is where on-page optimization is a quick and relatively painless process to implement to see results in your rankings.
This post offers additional details on how to get the best bang for your buck with header tags.
Image tags are another key factor in on-page optimization.
Link aggregators and search engines crawl images, but they're also relevant for visually impaired people.
By hovering over an image with a cursor, if that image is tagged-they'll be able to read what the image represents.
Images break up the text on your site, help tell your story and captivate your audience.
But there's a method to the madness with optimizing images too.
A few tips outlined in this article include things like:
A few simple techniques will do wonders for your on-site SEO.
Voice searches are becoming the new normal and having optimized images will help launch your site to the top of the search engines.
This post gives a comprehensive overview and why you need to tag images.
6. Internal Linking
Google assigns a ranking to every site on the internet.
The more authority and trust Google has in your site-the better you rank in the SERPs.
Several factors determine this vote of confidence.
Some off-page and technical SEO stuff that we'll cover later.
But your on-page SEO also plays a crucial role in how well your site ranks.
This includes the high-quality content, formatting, tags, and other info we've already covered.
There is another way to boost rankings referred to as internal linking.
Internal linking connects pages on your site together.
Not only does it improve user experience, but it reduces bounce rates-which is a good thing.
It tells Google how you've structured your site and lets you promote key content.
Think of internal linking as a way to give Google a hand finding pages on your site.
Publish a new page or blog post?
Adding internal links to say your homepage will help Google find the new content, and ultimately dish out more confidence to your website helping you rank higher in the search engines.
Internal linking helps spread the 'juice' or authority of your site to alternate pages of text.
It also assists with navigation and better page views and allows you to push your high-converting pages to users and improve local SEO.
There are a couple of fundamental strategies to internal link building as per this post including:
Don't go overboard.
There's no magic number here, but remember it has to make sense to the reader.
You can use external links within your content as well. In fact we encourage you to do it.
Think of relevant links to topics you're discussing on your site.
By adding external links you demonstrate that you are an authority and provide additional value to your readers improving the UX.
More value=more time on your site.
Which is an important local SEO tip.
Remember to make external links no follow and relevant to your content and ensure they pop up in a separate window.
This post offers additional external linking techniques and a more in-depth description of the process.
Consumers are looking for transparent and trustworthy brands.
Long gone are the days of fake reviews and black hat techniques.
Customers have gotten wise to the game and so has Google.
Your website is your opportunity to put your best foot forward.
Show users and the almighty G what you're all about.
Include things like Privacy Pages-Terms of Service-etc. on your site and you're doing more than complying with Google's terms of service.
You're being transparent about where you're coming from and that goes a long way with your target audience.
Privacy Policies are now legally required as per this post.
So if you collect any info about visitors to your site you need to have one.
Adding reviews and testimonials to your site is an excellent way to showcase your services and commitment to people.
But there's a scheme with this too as per this post:
Respond to every review-even the bad ones.
Increase user confidence and Google's faith in your brand.
Show you care-even when people are challenging and unreasonable.
Online reviews only aid your cause. They build trust-drive traffic-and clarify what you're all about.
Add them to your site and your rankings and conversion rates will definitely improve.
8. Content Marketing
This is where the rubber meets the road folks.
Understanding the demographics and persona of your target market is essential.
Not only to build your brand, but to drive your site's ranking and dominate your niche.
Enter content marketing. A specific strategy-this form of digital marketing focuses on distribution.
It's not just about what you post, but where you post and how well you play the game.
On-page content marketing includes things like:
Blog posts focused on a specific keyword
New & updated content
Location Pages or location focused About Us Pages
Include hours-address-contact info-promos-etc.
Add Service Pages for each service or product
Of course there are off-site methods to really up the ante, and we'll get to shortly.
Want a more comprehensive explanation of content marketing?
Info how to use it to crush your competition? Check out this post.
9. Visibility & UX (user experience)
The goal is to improve your place in the SERPs, so why is user experience paramount to achieving the coveted top spot?
Think of the relationship between your users and the search engines like going out to eat.
If the user likes what they're reading they're goin stick around.
More time on your site demonstrates to Google that you are an authority in your niche.
Users who don't like what's on the menu are going to be quick to bolt.
This is what's considered your bounce rate, and high bounce rates do not meet with Google's favor.
Meaning your site is not going to rank well.
So what can you do to make your users have the best experience and go above and beyond the suggestions we've already outlined?
This post offers a few ideas that include:
Add Credible Visual Content infographics-slideshows-videos-etc.
Clean Design-omit unnecessary words
The goal of your site is to fill a need for potential customers.
Give them an unforgettable experience.
One that defines your brand and results in business and SERP success as evidenced in this article.
10. Site & Page Load Speed
That's how we roll and it's not up for negotiation.
Site and page speed aren't the most critical components of SEO, but they definitely factor into the equation as per Neil Patel.
And important when optimizing your site for local SEO.
You need to be as fast as the top ten organic sites.
If you're not you'll get left in the dust and so will your rankings.
If your site takes longer than 3 seconds to load it's too long.
Don't believe us? Check out the stats in this publication.
Slow site and page speeds not only hinder your SERP rankings, they diminish user experience.
You don't need a perfect score for page speed, but you need to be hitting the mark.
So what can you do to speed up the process?
Quite a bit as evidenced by this post, but a few easy fixes include things like:
Upgrade Your Web Hosting Plan
Leverage Browser Caching
Not sure how fast your site loads?
Well start with the obvious and test it yourself, but you can also use various tools.
Use Google's Page Speed Insights tool to determine page speeds.
And you can check out this post outlining a list of free tools to test your website speed.
11. Mobile Friendly
Mobile is where it's at and 82% of local searches are conducted on a mobile device.
So your site needs to be mobile-friendly if you want to climb the ranks and achieve more online traffic.
Forget about slow loading speeds. 53% of mobile users jump ship if it takes too long.
Don't get us started on unresponsive.
Consider that 50.81% of website traffic is mobile as per this post.
It's one of the local SEO tips you can do something about and not only to maximize user experience.
But to capitalize on potential business and brand awareness.
Mobile functionality goes hand in hand with the SERPS and lower bounce rates.
So what can you do to improve the mobile experience?
Think things outlined in this article like:
See for yourself. Study the mobile SERPs.
Research your niche and target market, and really hone in on creating the best mobile-friendly site possible.
Let's take local SEO off-roading and talk about techniques you can use to climb the SERP ranks.
What happens off-site is as valuable-or maybe more-than your on-page SEO.
The goal is to increase your Page Rank and have Google view your website as an authority figure.
It's like a test with a mark between 0-10.
Higher Page Rank=More Traffic.
There are a few off-site local SEO tips for small businesses to establish domination.
Here are our best picks for 2022.
Here's where it starts to get a lil sticky, but it doesn't have to.
Think of backlinking like this.
You're a senior in high school running for student council and you need votes.
Just like your website needs votes (backlinks) to build credibility and increase search engine rankings.
You get votes from the cool kids. These are authoritative votes that hold a ton of weight.
Consider these your do-follow backlinks.
Votes from high-authority sites that recognize your site's validity.
You also get votes from the kids at the 'nerd' table.
While not as cool or dominant-they're still votes.
These are what are referred to as no-follow backlinks. Still important but lack the juice.
For local SEO you need a mix of do and no follow backlinks.
The more backlinks you have-the more credible your site.
The million-dollar question.
Where to find them?
Local backlinks are the epitome of the ideal but challenging to score.
Backlinking strategies need to include a mix of local-do follow and no-follow.
Focus on building your brand-not just your backlink profile.
There are a few places to find relevant and influential backlinks.
Some listed in this article include the following:
Consider writing guest blogs for reputable sites with high domain authorities.
Build your content and offer link swaps with other local business owners.
Hit up influencers. Offer promos to get reviews.
Anything to build cred and land those elusive backlinks.
This post offers additional strategies to earn more backlinks.
A lot of people seem to get tripped up here, but citations aren't meant to be tricky.
They're anywhere on the internet where a business's NAP-name-address-phone number-is listed.
Yup-it's that simple.
Sure there are things referred to as structured citations, but that just means your NAP is listed in the correct order.
And may have incorporated schema microdata.
SEO jargon that refers to citations that are listed in a way that the search engines can find them more easily.
Alternately-unstructured citations are your NAP listed out of order or only a partial listing.
Like just your address or business name etc.
Sometimes you have a chance to add more about your biz in the citation and you can include things like:
Citations are one of the helpful local SEO tips for small businesses but they also build your reputation as credible.
Boost your online presence and establish your site as an authority as per this article.
All elements to help improve the validity of your company.
The end result? More traffic and putting you in front of your target market.
Where's the best place to find citations?
A few top choices as per this post include things like:
For more options check out this publication listing the top citation sites per specified service area.
You can opt to enter citations manually.
It's time consuming but not hard.
Or opt for a submission and management service.
Yext is among the most popular but not the only option.
This article lists various local listing management software and companies that will do citations for you if you're willing to pay for their service.
14. Directory Listings
Directories are like citations with a twist.
You still get to add your NAP and other details.
But directories give you a chance to implement some of your target keywords and leverage your website.
Online directories are submission sites. Places where you can have your business listed in your specific niche.
People use directories to find local businesses.
Get your site on there to optimize your local SEO and be sure to add the following info:
Business & Website Name
Address & Service Area
Brief Description-drop those target keywords
There are a ton of directories to choose from so be picky and go after directories that are reputable.
Local, relevant and current as recommended in this article.
Some of our top picks are outlined in-depth in this post and are categorized by niche.
You can do this manually or hire a service.
But one thing is certain, directory listings play a part in the local SEO tips for small businesses even in 2022 as evidenced in this publication.
15. Guest Blogs
Guest blogs are a low cost top local SEO tips for small business owners.
The premise is simple.
Write an article under your name-or business name and have it published on a third-party website.
Create high-quality content interspersed with target keywords and include some strategically placed links.
You not only generate a do or no follow backlink, but get your business in front of a whole new audience.
This adds diversification to your backlink profile and builds brand awareness.
Target high-authority blogs in your niche.
Guest blogs give you a chance to showcase your expertise and raise your business's credibility.
Where to find guest blog opportunities?
- Do some research.
- Find sites in your niche that are open to guest bloggers.
- But it needs to mesh with the tone and content of their site.
- Ask the business owner or webmaster if you can submit an article.
- The key is to build a relationship with site owners so you can post again and again.
- But remember-you need to add value-no smarmy sales pitch.
This article breaks down the dos and don'ts associated with guest blogging.
16. Social Media Content
Everybody's doing it. Social media.
With 3.5 billion global social media users as per this post-it's a no-brainer.
Get on social media if you want to improve your off-site SEO.
But social media is competitive and it's no secret that local businesses need these platforms.
They increase brand awareness-engagement-and potential sales.
If your competition is there you need to make yourself more popular.
Generate a buzz, get those likes, shares, and interactions.
But you need a plan of attack.
Social media marketing is a well thought out and orchestrated process.
You have to know how to play the game and play it well.
A few local SEO tips for small businesses in social media marketing are outlined in this article and include things like:
Keep in mind it's not just how often you post but what it is you're posting.
Value-value-value and think about including things outlined in this article like:
It's tough but attainable.
You can always use paid advertising to up the ante and shake those social media algorithms.
But set a budget and keep a close eye on ad spend and conversions.
No sense doling out dollars if you're not getting the desired results.
Check out this post outlining a comprehensive analysis and tips on how to advertise on social media for the best payouts.
Technically YouTube is a social media platform, but it's second only to the almighty G in terms of most used search engines so we decided to give it a separate space.
YouTube has an SEO system all its own.
Like Google you want your videos to rank well in the SERPs.
Given its popularity-YouTube is a great place to share deets about your business.
Google loves video content, but just like your website you need to implement 'on-page' SEO with your videos.
Think good titles-descriptions-tags-keywords-etc. as per this article.
You can reach a bigger audience and build your brand and reputation.
Generate interest in your business.
But you need an actionable masterplan like the steps outlined in this post including:
The idea is not only to push your videos on YouTube but share them on social media channels.
Widen your reach and this top local SEO tip for small businesses is guaranteed to get your phone ringing.
Puzzling really. It's 100% free.
Offered by the very SERPs you're trying to rank on and yet underutilized by so many local small business owners.
We're talking about GMBs-Google My Business.
The map at the top of the search on mobile or the left-hand side on laptops.
Fondly referred to as 'the map pack', GMBs are a chance to list your biz a second time.
Double the exposure-double the chance to generate more leads.
Set up your account under your business Gmail as per this publication and that will put you there.
But it's what you do and how you optimize your GMB listing that's the real secret sauce.
What you do with your GMB listing is a crucial local SEO tip for small businesses.
The best way?
- Fill out absolutely every section.
- Add images.
- Write & publish posts weekly.
- Add an FAQ.
- Get reviews and respond to them.
- All of them.
- Use keywords in your review replies.
Check out this post giving a detailed layout of how to optimize your GMB and achieve maximum exposure.
Time to jump into the good-the bad-and the ugly. Yup-technical SEO.
The good news is there are a ton of free tools to help do the work.
You can always outsource this stuff to a webmaster if it's way over your head.
But before you throw in the towel, take a look at these top local SEO tips for small businesses.
They're technical-based but hold weight in ranking your site and may not be as tricky as you think.
19. XML Sitemap
XML Sitemap. Idiom for a list of every URL on your website.
Think of an XML Sitemap like a roadmap.
It tells the search engines what content you've got and where to find it.
Now this suggestion will not improve your rankings, but it will get your website indexed faster as per this article.
Good news for sites with tons of pages-new pages-or a weak linking game.
Essentially with an XML Sitemap you're giving the SERPs a friendly nudge and asking them to concentrate on specific URLs on your site.
Do you absolutely need one? Nope.
Why add it? It's all about indexing-that's it.
There are at least 5.58 billion pages on the internet as per this post and Google's going to get to you when they get to you.
Could be a few days-could be a few months.
We don't how many times or how often Google crawls sites, so if you have a lot of pages and want to improve your odds-add one.
This post offers a list of XML Sitemap Generator tools (ones that will help expedite the process).
Want an exhaustive summary of how to set up XML Sitemaps?
Check out this publication.
20. Website Architecture
Site architecture. Not as techie as it sounds.
It's essentially how your website comes together. How pages are linked to each other.
Internal links make your website more user-friendly and help search engine spiders-those Google Bots-find what they're looking for.
Aim for any page to be found in four clicks or less as per this article.
As a best practice and local SEO tip for small businesses you need an internal linking strategy as per this publication and should include the following:
Links Deep Within the Structure of Your Site-don't just link to your homepage-and try never to link to your contact page.
Make Them Relevant-they have to make sense-to you and your reader.
Don't Go Crazy-internal links are a great way to improve user experience and SEO but be reasonable.
Keep it simple. Put yourself in the shoes of your customer.
No need to overthink this.
You need internal links to tie it all together. Add a few following a calculated method and keep going.
Indexing is all about the search engines being able to find you and index every page on your website.
Most local business owners utilize the flat architecture we already covered.
You know. Every page can be accessed using internal links in 3-4 clicks or less.
If a page isn't getting indexed-go back and make sure you've included internal links.
But how do you know if there are indexing issues?
Check your site out in the search bar.
If there are any 404 errors or 'site not found' pop-up you've got a problem.
A couple of tools will get you an accurate picture of what's going on like:
If pages on your site aren't getting indexed you can use the XML Sitemap strategy or hit up Google Console's Inspect feature.
It can tell you exactly what's happening and how to resolve the issue.
You need to get indexed to rank. There's no way around it.
If the bots can't find your site it won't be seen by anyone else either.
This article gives an excellent summary of how and why indexing is so important and how the search engines operate.
Think of crawlability as the foundation or the base you build your technical SEO game plan around.
Your site has to be crawlable. It's that black and white.
If the bots can't crawl your site they won't be able to index you.
That means all of your on-page and off-site efforts are in vain and you won't rank.
Pages on your website need to be accessible and straightforward to navigate with no roadblocks.
So what can you do to ensure infinite crawlability?
A few things as evidenced by this post including:
This is without a doubt the ugly part of technical SEO we were talking about.
But the good news?
There are multiple tools you can utilize to do most of the heavy lifting for you.
This article lists some of the top contenders that take the headache out of the crawlability process.
Cybersecurity is a real thing. Think of it like this:
There are two brick and mortar stores that sell the same products.
One store is on a dimly lit street, the windows boarded up and some broken.
Around the corner is a well-lit store with clean windows and a welcoming feel.
Where are you going to take your business?
Which company is getting your money?
Same holds for online service providers, and sites with the 's' at the end of the HTTP show users that they're secure.
Sites without leave consumers concerned their information might not be safe.
A secure site is non-negotiable if you're taking payments and online orders, plus it protects your digital investment from hackers.
According to this post-hackers get into someone's site every 39 seconds.
How do you ensure your site is secure?
Follow some easy steps outlined in this article that include:
Ensure your website is secure and assure potential customers that their information is safe.
It's a clear message to the bots that your site is trustworthy.
Important stuff in local SEO for small businesses, especially when you're trying to rank in the SERPs as evidenced by this publication.
IMO The Best Local SEO Strategy For Small Business Owners
The competition is fierce and owners need to do whatever they can.
Whatever it takes to create an online presence and dominate the search engines.
The local SEO tips for small businesses we've shared with you are a great place to start.
But what if there was something else?
A way to multiply your chances to generate leads.
That's where lead generation comes in.
Think of lead gen sites like digital billboards. Real estate on the internet that belongs to you.
An alternate solution to generating high-quality leads. The premise is simple.
Build a website following the detailed step-by-step instructions outlined in this course.
Rank those websites and get more leads.
Take this tree site below. I rent this site to a local company for $2000/month.
Because of my lead gen site they had to hire a bigger crew just to keep up with the influx of leads.
This guy's business has blown up. All because of lead gen.
This program teaches you everything you need to leverage Google and monopolize your market's online space.
Think about it. Not only would you have your organic listing and GMB, but with lead generation you'd have another organic site-or multiple sites-and GMBs.
If all of those sites are at the top of the search engines-guess what?
You're the local biz that's goin get the calls.
More calls=more potential jobs=more $$$$.
The beauty with lead gen is that it's six simple steps. That's it.
Even better is that you don't need any past experience to be successful with this business model.
Lead gen gives you another option and local SEO strategy that is guaranteed to get your phone ringing.
You own the site. You own the leads.
You set yourself up for success and increase your odds tenfold.
And with over 400 niches to choose from this method is ideal for nearly every small business owner.
Nothing can compare to lead gen. Here's why:
There's no question that the top local SEO tips for small business owners we've given you will improve your rankings and get you climbing to the top of the SERPs.
But if you want to up the ante, stack the deck, and really dominate your market, consider lead generation.
Leave your competition in the dust and put your business at the top of the search engines in front of your target market.
Interested in learning more about how lead generation can help your business?
Have questions, or just want more information?
Click the link below and book a call today.
You have the power to change the course of your digital success.
With the top 23 local SEO tips for small businesses you can alter the narrative and dominate the SERPs.
Get more online traffic and quality leads from individuals ready and willing to pay for your services.
Make more money and knock out your competitors. It really can be that simple.
If you have an SEO tip that didn't make the list and care to share.
Please feel free to leave it in the comment section below.