A vital component of any small business’s marketing strategy is to effectively position themselves in the Search Engine Results Pages or SERPs. After what has been a particularly tough 12 months for most companies, standing out against your competitors online after Covid is particularly crucial. More and more consumers are using online tools to find products and services, and your business must be at the forefront. Search Engine Optimisation, or SEO, might sound very technical, but there are some simple things you can do to increase your online presence. We’re sharing 7 SEO tips for local businesses to utilize after Covid:
1. Collect business reviews
Collecting business reviews is helpful for several aspects of your marketing strategy, but it is becoming increasingly important for SEO. Reviews help to build your business’s visibility in local search results. Engaging with and responding to reviews is also crucial. Whether they are positive or negative, you should respond to all your reviews. Not only does this show Google that you are actively interacting with your customers, but it increases the amount of content online about your business.
Google can identify reviews when analyzing your website. When Google sees that you have positive customer feedback, it will deem your website trustworthy, and over time, this will help your organic ranking.
2. Optimize information on your website
Your website is your online storefront, so you should ensure that it is fully optimized to gain the most exposure. Research has found that 76% of people who search on their mobile for something nearby visit a business within a day. On top of that, 28% of those searches result in a purchase. This goes to show how local search is there for you to take advantage of.
Firstly, ensure that your business’ name, address, and phone number are clearly displayed on your home page and contact page. Ideally, you should have your contact details built into the footer of your website so that it is visible on every page. This also helps Google to pull out this information from your website for your business listing.
In addition to this, you should ensure that your website copy includes information about your local area. Adding details such as landmarks that your business is close to and travel details for public transport will increase your search visibility as a local business.
3. Set up a Google My Business profile
A Google My Business account will help you gain more visibility on the world’s biggest search engine. Once you’ve set up an account with as much of your business information as possible and your location, it’s then open for customers to leave reviews, add photos and ask questions. Your profile may also get populated with information that Google pulls in from across the internet.
These days almost a third of all mobile searches are location-based queries, such as “plumbers near me.” What is even better for local businesses is that even if “near me” is not added to a search term, Google’s algorithm automatically prioritizes organizations that are local to the user. So, having a robust Google My Business profile will support your visibility.
4. Use listing websites
One of the most effective ways to boost your local SEO is to list your business information on third-party listings websites. Completing your business profile consistently on these sites will give Google and other search engines a stronger and more precise understanding of your business. When your business isn’t listed, or the information provided is only half complete or inaccurate, you can do more harm to your SEO. Ensure that all your listings are completed to a high standard.
5. Be active on social media
Your presence and engagement on social media play a notable role in your business’s visibility in search engine results. By being proactive on social media, posting engaging content regularly, and replying to comments can improve your online presence. Get involved with groups in your local area, and build up a reputation on recommendation pages. Many towns and cities have hashtags that their residents use regularly, so be sure to add these to all of your posts for maximum visibility online.
6. Build authority with backlinks
A backlink is when another website includes a link to your site. Google loves to see high authority backlinks as they are a vote of approval for your website. The more backlinks you have, the more authoritative your website will be to Google, and you should see a climb in the rankings. It’s interesting to note that 91% of all pages on the internet get no organic traffic. This is mainly because they have no backlinks pointing to their content. Take this opportunity to stand out against your competitors and put a strong backlink strategy in place.
7. Optimize for voice search
Customers are using voice search more and more these days, and it is expected to continue growing rapidly. To make the most of your local SEO, it is critical that you optimize your content for voice. This means addressing your information for the way users speak into their devices, usually with long-tail keywords and full questions. By optimizing for this more conversational tone, you can ensure that search engines are choosing your website when customers search with voice. In most cases, consumers use voice search when they need a specific bit of information quickly. For example, asking what your business opening hours are, or what your store postcode is. So, make sure these are clear on your website to allow the search engine to find this information quickly.
As we begin to ease out of lockdown and have a solid roadmap for recovery, now is the time businesses need to start planning for life after Covid. Put yourself in the best position to capitalize on local business opportunities by optimizing your website content and featuring on local listings sites. Taking advantage of strategies like increasing the volume of business reviews will put you in a strong position to stay ahead of the competition in the search results. Bear in mind that SEO is rapidly changing, and search engines are constantly introducing new features. By staying on top of your local SEO, you can ensure your business is ahead of the curve.