Four easy steps for small business websites to succeed in local SEO

Google mapsSearch engine optimisation (SEO) might seem daunting to a small business – after all, the internet is a big place. However, the area you operate in might not be, which is what makes local search such an important consideration when creating your small business website.

Google stats reveal that a staggering 97% of consumers search for local businesses online. You may have noticed that your local phone directory has shrunk considerably over the last few years, because these local businesses now know to turn to the web to get seen by their customers.

The rise of mobile devices has contributed to this – people are now searching for local businesses while they are out and about. For example, whilst out shopping somebody might take out their smartphone and search for restaurants nearby. Optimising your website for local search will put your company directly in front of these customers.

1. Use keywords with local geographic coverage

For a small business, it may be tough to rank highly on search engines for a broad term such as ‘Italian restaurant’. However, it’s unlikely that your local audience are the ones searching for this term. It’s much easier to rank for something like ‘Italian restaurant Coventry’, and the people searching are much more likely to convert into customers as you’re meeting their needs exactly.

By optimising your small business website for local search, you can fight back against the bigger companies who are investing in broader search terms.

2. Refine keywords based on customer searches

It doesn’t need to be difficult or expensive to create a website optimised for local SEO. The key is working out what your customers will be searching for then optimising your site to rank for those keywords – and the keywords are often as simple as ‘hairdresser in Putney’ or ‘plumber in Northampton’.

Your business doesn’t even need to be based in a physical location, such as a shop or restaurant. Those who operate in a certain area (such as tradesmen, caterers, taxi services) can also benefit from local SEO.

3. Sign up to Google Places

As well as optimising your website content, it’s also important to get your small business listed on Google Places. Submission is free, unlike listings in traditional local directories, and your website is more likely to rank higher while also displaying prominently on the Google map result.

4. Choose a provider with integrated SEO tools

Website builders such as bOnline can help you master local search with built-in SEO capabilities and step-by-step instructions. We can help you integrate your new Google Places listing with your small business website for maximum SEO power. We have got many of our clients to the top of Google for very competitive search terms, and can help you do the same.

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Anthony Karibian is CEO of bOnline. Find Anthony on Google here or follow bOnline on Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn,

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