A lot of business books are saying that the Internet is not something that small local businesses should tap as it is unnecessary given the short reach of such a business. However, this idea should be scrapped entirely as it cannot be farther from the truth. Small and local businesses can make use of the Internet as a useful tool for their operations, and for marketing purposes as well. Local businesses can and should go online.
It is pure narrow-mindedness to believe that since a small business has a short reach, that going online has no use and is just a waste of time, effort, and resources. A lot of business owners find going online to be too much of a hassle but would bring about little to no results. This may be because they’re not doing it the right way.
In order for small businesses to make it big by going online, search engine optimization is a must. It doesn’t mean that you are the only local business providing a certain service that you are the only thing that will pop out in the results page when a user searches for a similar service in your area.
Here are 4 effective SEO tips that small businesses with local reach should follow to help make their effort to go online worthwhile:
1. Get a Google My Business Account
Have you ever been on Google to find a certain place and come across the line asking “Are you the Business Owner?” or “Manage this page”? The owners of these businesses would really be able to manage this virtual location by creating a Google My Business Account.
Doing so will help your business be on top of the search engine results page when users try to find for a provider of your specific service within your area. Not a lot of local businesses do this so doing this now will definitely give you an advantage.
It is also very easy to do. Simply click on the link that says “Are you the Business Owner?” or “Manage this page” and then fill out the information. Make sure that you put in the link to your website. Voila! This is an easy SEO hack that local businesses should not miss out on.
This tool is very useful for people running business, where you distance based services get priorities. For Example, if you wish to call some for Air Conditioner repair, then you’d prefer a business that’s close to you rather than someone far in the city.
2. Use Geo-Targeted Keywords
The use of keywords is a fundamental concept when it comes to search engine optimization. It makes sense because you will need to match the search terms that are being used by those who are trying to look for businesses like yours.
Local businesses should make sure to use geo-targeted keywords in order to help them stand out locally. Such keywords should be added to the title tags, to the meta data, to h2 tags, and in your site’s content.
Just a reminder though that you should be able to smoothly add the keywords to your site and to your content because Google takes into consideration the value of your content to your visitors.
3. Take advantage of Online Reviews
It is a good idea to offer online reviews of your business as this can help you in your search engine optimization efforts. There are lots of sites that offer reviews such as Google and Yelp. Setting up your business for online review is not difficult but asking your customers to do make the review can be quite a challenge.
Some of the ways that can help you make the most out of online reviews are being active in social media and putting in the link for review in your strategic places on your site.
While we’re at the concept of reviews, you must note that reviews are hard to control. A lot of people just review when they’re disappointed so make an effort to encourage your delighted customers to give feedback online.
4. Make your Website Responsive to Compete Locally
One of Google’s defining ranking factor as of late is its focus on mobile. Google has laid out a mobile-first policy where sites are ranked not by their traditional desktop site but on their mobile site. This is because it is undeniable that there is a growing number of people who are searching via handheld devices.
Because of this fact, it is therefore essential that you also make sure that your site can provide a great experience to mobile users. To be able to do this, it is recommended that you adopt a responsive design. This allows your site to adapt to whatever device it is accessed from. This is a lot better than setting up a number of versions of your site to work on various devices.
The Bottom Line
A lot of business owners fail to see the benefits of going online. This is largely because they do not know how to do it right. With our 4 tips above, you will be able to take not 4 steps, but 4 huge leaps ahead of them. Make your small business thrive with the power of the Internet by doing it right with proper SEO.
About the Author:
John Vuong is the sole owner of Local SEO Search Inc., one of the Top SEO Companies in Toronto. John’s mission is to help local business owners improve their online influence so they can dominate their industry. With his business acumen and innate understanding of the local business landscape, John writes blogs that delve on how to customize SEO campaigns based on client needs.