SEO is often regarded as a mysterious dark art. Constantly evolving it can be confusing if not downright off-putting to your average small business owner. Local SEO has many similarities to traditional SEO, but thanks to the fact that you are competing in your local area, not against the world, it’s often possible to achieve results far quicker.
Fortunately there are activities local business owners can engage in which take little more than 5 minutes, once, twice a week or even just a couple of times per month. Any SEO takes time, and it should not be assumed that
Create an Update in Google Posts
Google Posts is a feature introduced to Google my Business in the middle of 2017. Any business with a GMB listing can create a Google post. The idea is to tell searchers about company news, new products or services, latest works or special offers. Really you could post whatever you want, a link to a blog post or just tell people to call you.
There is a lot of evidence that Google posts activity can have a positive impact on local SEO. This is most likely due to the fact that Google wants to encourage people to use it.
You can create a Google post by visiting your Google my Business listing at www.google.com/business.
- Sign in to your Google my Business account
- On the menu you should see ‘Google Posts’
A few tips for using Google posts
- It’s a good idea to attach an image with each post
- For best results post 1-3 times per week
- Your post can be as short or long as you like up to 300 words. Try for at least 100 words.
Check Your Google My Business Categories
Improper categorization is a surprisingly common problem that if rectified can have a noticeable impact on your local rankings.
You would assume that it’s not difficult to choose the right category for your business, but Google doesn’t make it easy. There are some 170 categories to choose from. Sometimes there are several categories which could apply to your business. While you can select more than one, it is important to be as specific as possible.
Some categories mean the same thing, Google’s guidelines state that you should select the one that most accurately matches your business.
Be specific when choosing a category. For example, choose “Nail salon” instead of “Salon.” Use additional categories to let customers know more about the specific services you provide. If you manage a supermarket that includes a pharmacy and deli, you would choose “Supermarket” as your primary category and add “Pharmacy” and “Deli” as additional categories.
Google can and does remove categories it deems not directly related to your business, but it doesn’t hurt to try.
Some rules to follow:
- Don’t excessively add categories
- Be as specific as possible to what your business does
- Don’t list categories only for the benefit of SEO
Take a look at a full list of Google my Business categories here.
The benefits of GMB category optimization are almost instant. After changing your main category or adding others it can be as soon as 5 minutes or up to a day before you start seeing a change in your rankings.
Check Your Online Reviews
There are dozens of well-known websites where customers could leave a review of your business. Google uses these as a factor for measuring trust, which acts as a major influencer on rankings. All local businesses should be taking steps to encourage online reviews, but one or several negative reviews are certainly worse than none. It is good to check the state of your online reviews from time to time. Sometimes you will see ratings from searching your business name in Google, otherwise check sites such as: Yelp, Facebook, Google, Yellow Pages, Trip Advisor.
FREE review sheet generators
- https://reviewhandout.com– Generate handouts for Yelp, Facebook & Google
- https://whitespark.ca/review-handout-generator– Better designed handout for Google only
These handout generators are super easy and allow you to create a sheet you can print and give to customers in a matter of minutes. Attach them with customer invoices, give to customers after completing a job.
Review link generator
Whitespark also has a tool for generating a direct link to the Google review form for your business. You must have your address visible in your Google my Business listing to generate a link. Share the link on social media, in emails or on your website to increase the likelihood of customers leaving a review.
Add Internal Links
Internal links are a simple yet powerful way to boost the SEO of any page on your website. A link from one page to another tells Google and other search engines that the page being linked to is of significance. Including the target keyword as anchor text in the link further solidifying what the page is about.
Examples of Internal Links
- Blog post > Service page
- Blog post > Homepage
- Service page > Another service page
There is a lot more to internal links than can be covered in this article. For more information check out this guide from Moz.
Check Your NAP
NAP stands for “Name, Address, Phone Number.” Having these details included on your web properties, social media, website and Google listings helps people to verify that you are a legitimate, operating business. It’s another metric for trust.
You should always keep your NAP current and correct across the web. A quick and easy way to check the inclusion of your NAP across the internet is with a free scan from Synup. Note that this won’t give you a definitive answer, it is mainly to check popular business directories.
Mentions of your NAP are known as local business citations. They are like a vote of confidence in your business. The more citations you have from quality, relevant websites the better.
If you don’t have any to correct you could start to create listings on general business directories such as Yellow Pages, Yelp, Factual etc.
Top NAP Tips
- Check NAP is included and correct on social profiles, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn etc.
- Look for local directories to include yourself in your town/city or state.
- Look for niche directories in your industry, for example electrician, plumber or accountant directories.