Localized SEO Is Essential for Small Businesses
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Localized SEO Is Essential for Small Businesses

By now most business owners are aware of the need to have a functional website and the benefits of optimizing your site for search engines. Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is a huge industry, and driving traffic to your website becomes more complex with every iteration of Google. An important element of SEO is focusing on the geographical location of your business and services. If your business only serves customers in a specific area, this becomes even more essential.

Localized SEO helps to ensure that users can find you when they are searching in or about the geographic area in which you operate. You want to be sure that if someone in your region searches for your service or product, that they can quickly see that you can help and that you are local. There are a few strategies than can help to optimize your site for local searches.

  1. Make sure you have updated your local business page profiles on Google, Bing, and Yahoo. This is essential. The search engines will prioritize their own listings on the page, and they don’t want to feature profiles without correct, useful information. Make sure you have claimed ownership of your pages and that they have a correct address, contact info, hours, etc. Listings that include photos tend to perform better than those without. Make sure you properly categorize your business. Business profiles that are not categorized often will not show up to searchers.
  2. Encourage positive reviews, particularly on Google. In recent years, Google has been placing greater emphasis on reviews as a factor in rankings. The latest design upgrade to the way that Google My Business profiles are displayed highlights reviews and makes them even more prominent. Encourage your happy customers to write positive reviews for you online. They are a great way to attract new customers and can help with your rankings as well. Just be sure the reviews are real and that you are not compensating customers for them. That is against the rules and if Google or other review sites think you are doing that, you will be heavily penalized.
  3. Have locally-focused content on your website. If you want the search engines to consider your website relevant to users searching in a specific area, you should include content specifically for that area on your website. Include the names of local towns or areas in relation to your most important keywords and consider having pages targeting each location you wish to draw customers from.
  4. Encourage links from other local businesses. If there are local businesses or resources in your area that make sense for you to connect with, consider linking to them or asking them to link to you. Illustrate that your business is connected to the local community.
  5. Localize your PR. Working with local media outlets to provide quotes in relevant industry articles and to publicize events for your business can help you attract more local views and will provide additional authoritativeness to your business.

Make sure a local focus is a part of your overall SEO strategy. Know your target audience and most important geographical regions and focus your efforts there first. A clear localized presence online can drive more traffic and generate sales.