Local SEO Tips For Your Small Business
COVID-19 plagued the turn of the decade with a cloud of uncertainty and unforeseeable economic turmoil. Due to municipal and international stay-at-home orders, the way every small business operated changed drastically. Companies are relying more on their digital presence and local SEO to give their customers constant updates on business hours, reopening schedules, and COVID-19 safety measures.
As we all adapt to the “new normal,” some states have allowed businesses to reopen in an attempt to stimulate their struggling economies. For many small businesses across the United States, reopening can be the difference between survival or going out of business. To that note, it has never been MORE critical for small businesses to ensure they have a consistently updated digital presence for local SEO purposes.
What is Local SEO?
Let’s start by defining what Local Search Engine Optimization (Local SEO) is and why it’s never been more critical for your business. Similar to digital presence, Local SEO is a subsequent element of Search Engine Optimization (SEO) that focuses on optimizing your website (and digital presence) to improve your visibility on local search results.
Why does Local SEO matter?
Local SEO matters because it’s an effective way to market your local business online to promote your products and services to customers in your immediate area. Due to COVID-19, many small businesses have had to rely on optimizing their local SEO efforts to encourage local customers to visit and support their small businesses. Consumer concerns due to COVID-19 have pushed Local SEO into the focus of public attention. To the point that Google, by far the most popular search engine, is striving to make it easier for customers to shop safely from local stores.
Local SEO Tips For Small Businesses
Make Sure Your Website Is Up-To-Date
An updated website can be the difference whether a potential customer chooses you over a local competitor. Ensure that your website is up to date with your latest contact information, products, and services offered. In addition to your web’s content, make sure that your website is optimized for local SEO with your current web provider. More than ever, it pays to have a strong, updated, and SEO-optimized website, so use this time to differentiate yourself among other local competitors who aren’t as digitally sound as you are.
Connect With Your Customers Through Social
No other place online is better to communicate with your local customers professionally, candidly, and socially-distanced than social media. Given these times of uncertainty, social is a great channel to leverage to quickly and effectively communicate with local customers regarding your products and services’ status. Quickly build connections and followers from local users in your area to help drive awareness for your business locally by using the power of hashtags, Local Instagram Stories, and locations.
Update All Relevant Online Directory Listings
This is as, if not more important, than having an updated website. Online directories are incredibly critical for Local SEO efforts. The single-most significant online directory to date is Google My Business (GMB). Google is the number one search engine globally, and its influence on local SEO is much stronger than many other local directories. With Google My Business, you can highlight many of the COVID-19 safety precautions you and your business are taking to help consumer confidence when visiting your business. In September, Google announced that it would be increasing the visibility of nearby products within Google Shopping. This new feature will simplify your business’s ability to promote its products and services, as long as your Google My Business profile and Local Stores Card are up to date. With efforts to make customers feel safe when shopping, Google has also expanded its health and safety options for Google My Business, which consist of the following:
- Appointment Required
- Mask Required
- Staff Wear Masks
- Stagg Get Temperature Checks
- Temperature Checks Required
- Curbside Pickup
- No-Contact Delivery
- Online Care
- Online Appointments
- Online Classes
- Online Estimates
As mentioned above, Google is increasing efforts and incentivizing companies to update their GMB profiles accordingly for local SEO benefits. If you haven’t already, be sure to research the most relevant online directories that make sense for your business and update those accordingly to reflect the most recent information about your business.
Next Steps for Local SEO
Now that you know some tips for optimizing your business for Local SEO, you may be asking yourself, “how can I find the time to complete these tasks?” Although it may seem overwhelming, you can breathe easy knowing that your current web or marketing team can tackle this new and vital project. Think you may need further help? Sign-up for our Woo-Blog today, where we focus on relevant marketing hot-topics to grow and strengthen your business or fill out our contact form for a Free SEO Audit today!