For small business owners wanting to improve their digital presence, search engine optimization is an excellent way to attract new customers and clients. The main advantage of using local SEO is that it helps a company’s website rank higher in Google’s search results.
Recent reports indicate that Google recently revised their search engine algorithm to replace websites that use clever keyword arrangements with websites that offer valuable information and quality content. Small businesses can take advantage of this change in Google’s search criteria by creating a website that is full of beneficial tips, interactive features, and well-written articles.
How to Use Local SEO
There are several different ways that small businesses use local search engine optimization to build their digital presence. One of the most effective SEO-related strategies involves a small business creating business profiles on the most highly-trafficked search websites.
More specifically, Yahoo, Bing, and Google all have built-in local business directories that help connect companies with their customers. These business pages are extremely easy to fill out, and usually require that the business owner writes the name of his or her company, the address of the company, contact information, and business hours into the profile.
From there, the page is uploaded to the search engine’s business directory and all local web users will have access to that company’s information. Because these pages are directly linked to the search engine itself, Google, Bing, or Yahoo have an incentive to prominently feature these small business profiles in search queries.
Despite the usefulness of these Google Plus, Bing, or Yahoo business profiles, many business owners are extremely careless in keeping their pages updated. For example, seasonal businesses frequently change their hours to save money during slow periods of the year. In these cases, business owners should revise their business hours to reflect the change. Unfortunately, business owners often forget to make these changes, and customers attempt to shop at a store or eat at a restaurant that is not open.
Images Are Important
One of the most undervalued aspects of quality local SEO is using high quality photographs. Web developers suggest that using high resolution images tends to engage more customers than websites that do not use pictures.
Google Plus Local allows users to upload up to 10 photographs. These pictures can depict anything from a company’s headquarters, the products a small business sells, or the staff employed by the company. The pictures help potential clients and customers build positive associations with a company, which makes the business appear more sincere, genuine, and honest to local residents.
Using Social Media
Another effective SEO tool for local businesses is social media. Social media networks like Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, Tumblr, and Twitter are an extremely efficient way for companies to forge more personal relationships with their local consumer base. Of course, all of the aforementioned networks are completely free to use, meaning that cash-strapped businesses can connect with customers without having to break the bank.