Our current global health crisis has created incredibly challenging conditions for small business owners. While we’re starting to get back to some semblance of normalcy, SMBs and entrepreneurs will have to work even harder to survive post-pandemic.
Ultimately, one of the best ways to stand out amongst the competition is to embrace a comprehensive digital marketing strategy. If you operate an independent business, local SEO can be a powerful tool in helping you reach your target audience. Optimizing your website for local search terms can make it more likely for your business to appear prominently when web users perform relevant searches in your area.
But frustratingly, search engine optimization is rarely straightforward or simple. If you plan on focusing more on local SEO this year, you’ll want to keep the following industry secrets in mind to get the most out of your strategy.
NAP Consistency Matters
Platforms like Google My Business, Facebook, Yelp, and countless others allow local organizations to list some basic information and increase their online visibility in the process. It will behoove you to take advantage of these available (and often free) resources.
That said, you’ll want to pay attention to the little details. NAP — which stands for name, address, and phone number — is a must-have for local business listings. But if you don’t list this information accurately and consistently across all platforms, search engines will have a much harder time making sense of your business information. That, in turn, could decrease your chances of appearing prominently in local search results.
To remove any barriers to your success, always check to ensure all of these details are correct. A discrepancy as minor as “Street” versus “St.” could hold your business back from rankings success. All of these details should match what’s on your website and your GMB profile for best results.
In our digital world, the majority of consumers trust online reviews just as much as personal recommendations. When a brand is lacking reviews, it’s much more difficult to build trust and confidence with customers. Because buyers have so many choices at their fingertips, they’ll often be more inclined to purchase from a competitor with more impressive online endorsements.
If your reviews on Facebook, GMB, or Yelp seem lacking, it’s a good idea to focus on customer review generation. Not only can obtaining more reviews help with reputation management, but it can also drive more traffic to your site over time. Asking your satisfied customers for an honest review — either in person or through an email — can be a simple and effective way to encourage their support. While you should never incentivize or fake your reviews, you can automate this process through different software platforms to improve outcomes.
Non-Responsive Web Design Will Derail Your Efforts
Any SEO company will tell you that optimizing your site involves more than merely selecting the right keywords. Although keyword research is important, there are numerous other ranking signals that Google uses to determine your site’s value.
Providing a positive visitor experience is crucial if you want to improve your site ranking. This doesn’t mean you have to invest in the trendiest web design. But it does mean that you need to offer a consistent experience for users on all devices.
Mobile traffic now makes up around half of all web traffic, which means non-responsive websites stand to lose out. If you ignore the importance of mobile-friendly design, customers will become frustrated and look elsewhere for solutions. No one wants to deal with slow-loading pages, sudden layout shifts, confusing navigation, or annoying pop-ups.
Whether you plan to completely redesign your website or you want to test out the current visitor experience you provide, you’ll want to ensure your site can be easily accessed on smartphones and tablets. Because local users are also more likely to use their mobile devices to find solutions nearby, having a mobile friendly website can often boost your rankings and improve your ability to serve these customers.
When you run a small business, it’s not always easy to know the right way to rank. With these local SEO secrets in mind, your small business will be in a better position to compete in 2021.