No matter what industry you’re in, and how large or small your business is, you’ll always have at least one competitor who’s been around longer and has allocated more budgets and resources to increase visibility on the internet and in search engines.
It may seem pointless to try to compete with them in the realm of SEO.
Low-cost strategies for LOCAL SEO to thrive on Google
But local SEO follows different rules than the SEO dedicated to organic listing. You don’t need to have reams of funds available or hundreds of links that point to your site to be visible and relevant to a local audience: just understand the unique features of local SEO and apply some simple strategies to best apply it.
In this article, we’ll explore 6 cost-effective strategies that small and medium-sized businesses can use to give themselves the best chance of ranking locally.
1) Update your business’s Google Plus page
The first step is to link the company’s Google Plus page with Google My Business. Google My Business allows local businesses to update their information on Google Search, Google Maps, and Google Plus in one go, to ensure that a potential customer can find you anywhere and whatever device they use to search the product and services you offer.
Local buyers tend to buy more then nonlocal buyers, and verifying your Google Plus page allows you to associate search keywords related to your products to your business.
As a business owner you must realize that anyone can change your business listing and this includes your competitors. After updating your Google My Business page with all your local business details, it’s very important to sign in to your Google My Business dashboard regularly to make sure no one has attempted to make unwanted changes to your listing, and all the information is up to date.
Take advantage of the many important Google My business offers, such as Google posts, click to action buttons, messages, Questions and answers, and more. The possibilities are limitless, get started!
2) Host user-generated reviews
Google considers reviews an important factor in ranking local businesses in their new local search carousel design; however, more than anything your reviews are for Google users who see your company in search results. Customer reviews are very powerful because they give your potential customers a good idea of what it means to use your goods or services. Good reviews from customers on Google reviews or review websites like Yelp has proven to bring new customers for businesses.
User-generated online reviews on the internet have leveled the playing field for small businesses around the world.
Search engine crawlers love unique and frequently updated content, and user reviews are an easy way to create more. Generally, each user posts reviews unique to them, which is quite different from generic content used primarily by eCommerce sites to describe their products, and improve the freshness and uniqueness of your website content.
This, combined with the fact that the keywords and phrases related to your products and services used by reviewers are often similar to those used other users, which improves the chances of your products ranking higher for the keywords often used by real potential customers to search for the product.
Research shows that 91% of shoppers read product reviews before making any purchase, so it makes sense that a large number of consumers search for your product name along with the keywords like “review” or “ratings.”
To tempt your visitors to post a review, you can:
Add a Review button on your web page to make it easier to publish a review,
Invite visitors through pop-up messages or notification to leave a review after buying something, or Send them an email.
Talk face to face to people in your store or company and ask them to leave a review.
3)- Create a link strategy (link building)
One of the most important aspects of any SEO strategy is the creation of a strategy to get backlinks that point to your website.
In our blog, you can find some link building techniques that will help you in the development of your strategy.
Also, you should ignore the internal links strategy or also known as the link structure of a website, since the most linked pages are usually the important ones, as long as they are oriented to keywords and are optimized correctly.
4) Optimize Images on Your Website and Google My Business
Optimization for local SEO is not limited to the text description of your business. Due to Google moving towards streamlining their search results, you can now view images on the organic search page, so it’s important to optimize images for search engines.
Optimize image Name
When it comes to optimizing the images for search engines, it all starts with the image name. There are a billion images on the internet, so it’s not a good idea to use a generic image file name like ‘image12345.jpg’. That name doesn’t tell anything about the relevancy of the image, and it’ll get lost in the pile. Instead, it’s good to use something descriptive to make it easier for your images to compete in the leaderboard.
Optimize Image Alt-tag
Search engines can’t read images, so it’s up to you to use alt tags to help describe your image to make sure it appears during relevant queries. Write a concise and relevant description that contains the appropriate keywords related to your business or product. Don’t forget to write the content above and below the images on your website, using keywords where appropriate; the more the text is related to the image, the better.
Most importantly, if you want your images to be categorized by localized keywords, be sure to add local keywords wherever possible to get optimized results for a specific local area.
Optimize your website for mobile devices
Mobile-friendliness has become an important factor for the Google core algorithm for ranking websites on regular and local search results. Websites that have a “mobile-friendly” responsive layout rank higher than the website they don’t adhere to the mobile-friendly guidelines.
You can use the Google Mobile Friendly Tool , to check if your website is mobile compatible or not, and change your website structure and layout accordingly.
6) Create A Pay-per-click Strategy
Launching your website is just the first step. Implementing a marketing strategy that includes Pay-Per-Click advertising is an important part of small business success in the digital landscape.
Virtually every small business can benefit from implementing a pay-per-click marketing strategy to build its web presence. The idea is to identify targeted and relevant keywords, understand your target audience, and develop a strategy that drives the right types of leads.
Selling a product or service that is difficult for consumers to find locally makes your business a great candidate for PPC advertising campaigns. People often rely on internet searches to spot unusual or rare products.
In addition to this, many local searches with a high degree of purchase take place on mobile devices, while consumers look for an activity or service “near me” while they are out and about. Because PPC advertising dominates a higher percentage of screen space on mobile devices, the presence of paid search ads gives you the best chance of appearing in front of consumers at these times.
By learning to combine the strengths of research and social media, pay-per-click will effectively complement the paid advertising strategy of all small businesses. Understanding the difference and when to use each platform will increase visibility and reduce costs.
In short, there is no elevator to climb to the top of the search engine rankings, especially when a huge competitor is lingering on the scene. But with a strategy that leverages your geographic location, you can selectively outperform your competitors in specific key areas.
Give yourself an edge by narrowing your topic and focus on keywords and increasing the specific relevance of your position. You may not rank as many keywords as the great players, but you’ll be able to surpass them based on the focal points you choose.