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Leveraging a Local Search Engine Optimization Company: Boosting Your SMB’s Visibility in the Community

Leveraging a Local Search Engine Optimization Company: Boosting Your SMB’s Visibility in the Community

Are you looking to enhance the online presence of your small business and gain recognition in your community? Look no further! In this in-depth guide, our local search engine optimization company will break down the process of local SEO, focusing on critical components such as Google My Business listings, local keywords, and review management. By the end of this guide, you'll have a step-by-step action plan for your small to medium-sized business (SMB), improve your local search rankings, and attract more customers. Get in touch with us today for a more personalized approach!

Importance of Local SEO

A staggering number of purchasing decisions being made online these days. About 87% of them actually. People are most often researching online before venturing online, whether it’s a purchase as large as a car, or as small as a cup of coffee. Nearly half of Google searches (46%) have local intent, even without keywords such as “near me” or an explicit location attached to them. This is where local SEO comes in.

If your Edmonton shoe store (for example) is showing up in for a searcher in Toronto, that is not going to do anyway any good. No one is going to travel from Toronto to Edmonton for that. Red Deer, sure. Calgary maybe, depending on your product (Albertans will drive anywhere.) But this is exactly why it is important to rank where you are, and why local search engine optimization company works to make sure that you’re on the map, so to speak, in the right area!

How Local SEO Works

To understand local SEO, we need to first understand the factors considered by search engines. These include:

  • Relevance – how well your offering fits the searcher’s query. Relevance is determined by the use of the right local keywords in the right places, such as naturally placed throughout your website content, in headings, meta tags, and in image alt text. Developing pages dedicated to specific locations also helps increase your relevance for local search.
  • Distance – how physically close Google believes the searcher is to your business. Be sure that your NAP & Google Business Profile information is correct and consistent! More on this later, but your local search engine optimization company can not stress the importance of this enough!
  • Prominence – how important Google deems your business to potential customers. To build up your prominence factor in local SEO terms, getting and responding to reviews is your bread and butter. People love the social proof that reviews provide that they are making a great choice by choosing your product or service. They trust online reviews as much as recommendation from an offline friend. We will also talk about reviews a little more in depth further on. The other way to gain prominence points is to build backlinks from other reputable local sites and directories.
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Step-by-Step Guide to Implementing Local SEO

1. Stalk Your Competitors, Professionally

Start by researching local competitors and identifying their strategies. Keyword research plays a vital role in local SEO, enabling you to optimize content with relevant local keywords. Keyword research is no picnic and is usually best left to your local search engine optimization company. We use some great tools like SEMrush and Google Keyword Planner to run analyses against your competitors and brainstorm longtail keywords to get you best results for the lowest competition. Another valuable keyword research strategy is using Google’s autocomplete feature. It gives you a great insight as to what people are actually searching for!

2. Claim Your GBP to Put Yourself on the (Google) Map

Something else your local search engine optimization company can not stress enough! Claim and optimize your Google Business Profile (GBP)! This is a free and vital tool for local SEO.  This listing allows your display essential information about your business, such as contact information, hours, and location, but it also affords you a direct tie into Google Maps, so searches can find your physical location, as well as a place to manage your customer reviews.

Be sure that the information on your GBP is always up to date and is accurate as possible. This includes updating business hours for holidays, sharing details such as if there is WiFi available, if you have outdoor seating if applicable, etc.  It also has a feature that functions much like a basic social media profile where you can share photos, videos, links to your blog and more. This not only boosts rankings but also promotes customer engagement. Also, did we mention that it’s free?!

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3. Take a NAP

NAP citations refer to the listing of the business's name, address, and phone number across directories and social media profiles. Accuracy and consistency are crucial for Google's verification process, lending credibility to your business.

You want as many consistent citations on as many trusted websites as you can! You’ll want to submit your listing to any local directories in your community, any industry specific directories, as well as the Yellowpages, 411, and Cylex. You’ll also want to submit your citation to the big boys too, like Facebook, Yelp, Bing Places, and Apple Maps. Again, just make sure it is the same across the board.

4. Your Business’ Online Presence is Like a Plant and Reviews Are the Water that Make it Grow

Online reviews are a powerful tool for building trust and providing social proof. They validate your expertise and give potential buyers confidence in your business. Always reply to reviews, both positive and negative! This show that you value your customers’ time and feedback, and that your business is committed to improving their experience. Responding to positive reviews is the easy part. It’s nice to respond to someone telling you about their great experience with your company. However, any local search engine optimization company worth their salt will tell you that responding to negative reviews is just as important! It gives you an opportunity to change the experience of a disgruntled customer, and convert them into a happy one, and for others to read to how well you handled it! And if you can’t make them happy (because in all honesty, some people you just can not please!) at least other potential customers can see that you tried, and how your company handled the situation.

A lot of small businesses will say that they just don’t get reviews, but the nitty gritty of the matter is you have to ask for them. You have to gently remind your customers to review you. A local search engine optimization company can help you refine a strategy on how to go about that, but in general a great time is at the end of a transaction or at the completion of a service.

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5. Become a Local (Content) Legend

Create content that is relevant to local events, news, or topics in your industry. Write blogs with a local focus. This is a great place to add in keywords that will increase your local relevance. Every piece of content you create is also an opportunity for a link to be shared, which also drives your relevance and credibility! Another great local content tip is to post on social media about local events that pertain to your business, or to your employees as people! After all, it is people that drive your business and your brand, and social media is the place to showcase the human element of your company. Sharing locally focused content on your social media positions your business as a local authority in your industry. You and your team know what’s going on in the community! It also drives engagement, and strengthens your brand awareness, and in turn visibility both off and online.

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Partner with a Local Search Engine Optimization Company!

Focusing on local SEO makes a world of difference for small businesses looking to stand out in their community. We hope that our comprehensive guide helps put your SMB on the map! Partnering with a local search engine optimization company gives you access to additional resources and expertise. If DIY is not really your thing, or you have more questions and want some additional guidance, reach out to us at Smart WSI Marketing for a consultation!

Lynne team member
Lynne Motkoski, Marketing Strategist
Specialty: Online Marketing Strategies
Education: MA Communications & Technology, BComm [U Alberta]
Author: The Online Marketing Handbook for Busy Entrepreneurs (coming soon)

Lynne is known for her strategic approach to marketing communications, technologies, and lead generation. She has a passion for education, keeping up with current marketing trends and practices, and helping clients keep ahead of their competition.

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