2019 Local SEO for Small Businesses Guide: 12 Brilliant SEO Tips

2019 Local SEO for Small Businesses Guide: 12 Brilliant SEO Tips

If you’ve just gotten a handle on the concept of search engine optimization (SEO) then local SEO might be throwing you for a loop. And that’s a problem because local SEO is more important for your business than you realize.

It gives you local scale exposure, capitalizes on the growth of mobile search, and, of course, can be a major profit-maker (if you play your cards right).

Not sure about what local SEO is, or not sure how to use local SEO for small businesses? No worries. We’re introducing you to the concept, why it’s so important, and what you can do to make your way to the top of your local SERPs.

What is Local SEO?

First things first: what is local SEO?

Basically, it’s all the tools of search engine optimization, utilized to make sure that people within a certain geographical area can find your brick-and-mortar shop.

Think of it this way: while anyone from Oslo to Taipei can rank for “how to fix a clogged drain,” only a certain group can rank for, “best plumber in Reno.”

Why You Need It

That’s all fine and good, but why do you need local SEO anyway? After all, if you’ve already got an SEO strategy in place, shouldn’t that be enough?

Not quite.

Let’s start with this simple fact: smartphone users will hit 3 billion in 2018 and are predicted to hit 3.8 billion in 2021.

Of those people, 45% of users aged 18 to 29 use mobile search daily. Of the estimated 30 billion annual mobile searches, 12 billion are local.

But the real kicker?

Local searches lead 50% of mobile searchers to visit a store the same day, and annually, about 78% of local mobile searches result in offline purchases (for those who struggle with math, that’s roughly 9.36 billion purchases, give or take a few).

The point is simple: a lot of people search locally, and when they do, they’re looking to spend money. Usually on the same day, if you give them the service they’re looking for.

And you’d be a fool not to capitalize on a golden opportunity.

Tips to Conquer Local SEO in 2019

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Sandy Rowley SEO Specialist 775-870-0488.

With that in mind, let’s talk about how you can conquer local SEO in 2019.

Now, a lot of larger SEO tricks apply to local SEO, like getting an SEO audit. And yes, there are plenty of fancy technical SEO tricks you could use to bolster your local SEO game if you really wanted to.

Here’s the thing: if you’re still struggling with the whole concept of SEO (or you just don’t have time to spend hours slaving over SEO when you’ve got a business to run) it doesn’t need to be that hard.

Here are 14 tips that you could probably conquer in a few hours if you set your mind to it.

1. Optimize for Google My Business

The first is surprisingly basic: optimize for Google My Business.

For those who are late to the game (or, you know, living in packing peanuts) Google My Business is a free tool provided by Google that’s basically a giant digital address book.

Chances are, you’ve encountered it before. You just didn’t realize it. Every time you Google a business and see a little box on the right-hand side with the business’s name, address, phone number, website, location, and even a few photos, that’s the handiwork of Google My Business.

You also didn’t know that you probably already have a Google My Business listing, you just didn’t know to claim it.

That’s a problem because if you don’t claim it, your competitor might (yes, that’s a competitive strategy).

Luckily, the process of claiming your listing is simple. Just log onto Google My Business and go through the verification process, at which point Google will mail a PIN to your business address. From there, enter the PIN, and you’re ready to optimize.

How do you optimize? Include all kinds of handy information, like writing a great business description, providing hours and contact information, detailing your payment options, etc.

Basically, if there’s information that Google My Business gives you the option to fill out, populate the text box. Your potential customers will thank you.

2. Ensure NAP is Consistent Across Directories

However, your work isn’t done once you claim your Google My Business listing.

Once you do that, you need to ensure your NAP is consistent across directories (Google, Bing, or anywhere else your business might be listed).

Don’t get worried. NAP stands for three essential details about your business:

  1. Name
  2. Address
  3. Phone number with area code

Some people will also include your website on this list.

Basically, these directory listings won’t do you much good if your information is inconsistent. Your customers will get frustrated and confused, and it makes your business look sloppy.

3. Title and Meta Description Tags

Itching for something slightly more technical?

Turn to your title and meta description tags.

Title and meta description tags are HTML elements that you can customize to reflect your webpage. You don’t need to do any coding to figure it out–like Google My Business, it’s something you’ve encountered before.

Whenever you type a search into Google, the blue title and the small description below it are the title and meta description tags.

It seems like a small detail, but it should be functionally treated as a mini-ad. This is your chance to get customers to click on your link instead of someone else’s (and to get the search engine to put you in page one).

So not only are you writing killer descriptions, you’re writing optimized descriptions.

4. Keyword Research for Local SEO

With that in mind, let’s talk about keyword research for local SEO.

You can argue until you’re blue in the face about the value of keywords or how to use them, but the fact is, keywords are still important. Especially for local SEO.

What’s the difference between a regular keyword and a local SEO keyword, you ask?

It’s simple: geography.

Remember earlier when we said that anyone in the world can rank for, “how to unclog a sink,” but only certain people can rank for, “best plumber in Reno,”?

That’s the same basic principle behind keywords for local SEO.

Basically, you’re targeting industry-specific terms that are also geo-specific, like “Las Vegas florist” or “car rental in Albuquerque”. A good place to start is to do a bit of digging on the Google AdWords Keyword Planner tool to find geographically-specific terms that perform well.

5. Write for a Local Audience

Of course, you can optimize all day long and it won’t help you much if you aren’t, you know, writing content for a local audience.

This is true of both your human readers and search engine web crawlers–you need to build a solid online reputation.

Luckily, you can do this with a practice you (should) already do for your regular SEO: blogging.

Blogging is vital to a good SEO score because it shows search engines that you’re consistently providing helpful information to searchers. And the more you write, the more authority you gain on the topic.

Take this a step further by appealing to the local market. Find out what customers in your area are interested in and start writing blogs for them (with the appropriate optimization, of course).

6. Improve Internal Linking Structure

And while you’re blogging, you should take a closer look at your internal linking structure.

External links are SEO gold, but internal links are also important, since it aids in navigating your website, assists with information architecture, and distributes page authority among multiple pages.

So, if you’re writing about bathroom design and have previously written a blog post about quartz vs. marble countertops in the bathroom, find a way to naturally link to that blog post.

7. Use a Structured Data Markup Tool

A structured data markup tool is perhaps the most technical item on our list, but it’s not as complicated as the name makes it out to be.

Structured data markup, sometimes called schema markup, is added to the code of your website to directly provide search engines with information about what you sell, services you offer, and other important information about your business.

In fact, Google wants you to use structured data markup because it makes it easier for their spiders to index your website. They even provide a Structured Data Testing Tool.

So…what are you waiting for?

8. Online Reviews Still Matter

For all the work you’re doing behind the scenes, there’s one tried-and-true part of local SEO that you cannot ignore: online reviews.

Don’t believe it? Try this on for size: 88% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations from friends and family.

Many people will leave reviews on Facebook unprompted, so make sure this feature is turned on. You can also cut to the chase by asking customers who love you to leave a review of your store when they get the chance.

If customers are diehard fans of your store, they’ll usually be happy to do it.

9. Be Socially Active

This brings us to our next point: you should be socially active wherever possible.

And no, we don’t mean going out for a beer with friends. We mean the big bads of social media: Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter, and Snapchat.

Nearly a third of the world’s population is active on at least one of the major platforms, which is why your business needs to remain active. Go where the customers are.

The key is to avoid the used car salesman effect–don’t sell so hard that you annoy people or convince them they’re about to be scammed. Instead, think of using social media as it was originally intended: a vehicle to connect people.

10. Make a Mobile-Friendly Website

Oh come on, you knew this was coming.

Mobile usage has surpassed desktop, and Google rolled out their Mobile-First index. There’s no two ways about it: you need to be optimized for mobile.

If you have no idea whether your site is optimized for mobile or not, there’s an easy way to check: open your website on your phone. If you have to constantly zoom, or your graphics aren’t loading, or the pages take forever to load, guess what?

You’re not optimized for mobile.

11. Add Location Pages to Your Website

In case you haven’t caught on yet, local SEO is all about one thing: location.

That’s why one of the easiest things you can do to boost your business (besides claim your Google My Business listing) is include a location page on your website.

If you have multiple locations but only one website, no worries. Just create a page for each location. That way, users will know where to find you in their local area (and search engines will know how to index you properly, which is always a plus).

12. Maps, Maps, and More Maps

There’s no way around location without talking about maps.

There are a couple different things you can do with maps. For one, you should embed a map on your webpage. The good news is that this is pretty easy: just open Google Maps, enter your address, and click the link icon.

This will provide you with an HTML embed code to add the map to your website, making it super easy for any potential customers to figure out exactly where you are whenever they need you.

Plus, you can click on the customize link to choose from various options like sizing before embedding the map on your page.

Building Local SEO for Small Businesses

Local SEO might seem like a lot of work. And yes, we’ll admit–it can be time-consuming if you let it.

And while we all know that the payoff is worth it, that doesn’t change the fact that you’ve got a business to run and you don’t have time to learn how to manage SEO in your nonexistent free time.

That’s where we come in.

We offer a variety of services from digital marketing to search engine optimization and local SEO for small businesses. We guarantee our SEO work, and we’re dedicated to making sure that your business succeeds.

Ready to get started? Use our contact page to get in touch.

How to Increase My Website Views

If your like most small businesses, you are concerned with increasing website traffic in order to increase sales for your business. The idea of sending thousands of potential clients to your website seems like sound business decision. Start here by assessing where your current website SEO stands in comparison to your competitors with my free web grader service.

The honest truth of the matter is that most businesses in the Reno area do not have enough people in the area searching for the products and services your company offers to warrant a shot gun blast approach to internet marketing you will often see for sale with other local SEO company websites.

The most popular keywords searched in the Reno Nevada areas are:

  • Hotels
  • Casinos
  • Restaurants
  • Things to do in Reno
  • Events
  • Weather
  • Weddings
  • Homes for sale in Reno

These are the most searched terms for our area, but there are tens of thousands of searches done each month for services like Plumbers, HVACS, Handyman, Car Sales, Life Coach and many others.

These keywords can easily be ranked on the first page of Google, IF, SEO is done properly. Google has over 200 steps that need to be updated with your domain name, your website and web page code in order to be listed in Google via SEO.

What is SEO?

SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization.

SEO is the art and science of taking an existing website and cleaning up the code used to create the website to better match the requirements that Google and other search engines require to be listed within their search engine. This is only part of the success formula for website marketing.

SEM (search engine marketing) is the art of marketing your website in a way that search engines see your website as an authority in your field. SEM is an ongoing process where as SEO is usually done 3 times or so per year, to keep your website up to date with Google’s SEO Algorithm changes. Code that used to be seen as safe (white hat SEO) optimization practices can become Black Hat (illegal SEO) over night.

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What are examples of Black Hat SEO?

  1. Buying back links to your website. Example: Buy 5000 backlinks by tomorrow for $20. This could sound like a great idea once you understand that links from other websites you’re your website helps to boost your rankings quickly in search, but, keep in mind, Google now actively searches for websites that implement this black hat SEO trick and bans them forever. This is not worth the risk.
  2. Buying website views to your website. Example: Send thousands or even millions of visitors to your websiteseo services this month for $45. Google loves to see traffic on your website. This tells Google your site is worthy of more traffic. The catch now is, that if you have lots of traffic to your website and no conversions, you guessed it, your website gets banned. If you flag Google bots that you are inflating your website traffic, you will reap those painful consequences. Keep an eye on your website stats every week. Make certain that your SEO company did not buy fake website views to trick you into thinking you’re getting lots of real clients on your website with their fake work. ***Link how to spot fake website traffic.***
  3. Does your website have thousands of back links or referral traffic from a spam site? Or from some cheesy directory in Asia or another country? This is a telltale sign of fake SEO work.

Website Helpers has a good article on Black Hat SEO tactics that can destroy your online reputation with the major search engines.

  • Invisible text. Don’t put white text on a white background. In fact, don’t put even very light yellow on a white background. The engines aren’t stupid; just because the colors aren’t exactly the same doesn’t mean they can’t figure out there’s no contrast. Yes, there are clever ways to try to fool Google about what the background color actually is, but Google is probably aware of most of them anyway, and I won’t cover them besides.
  • Cloaking. Google knows what’s on your site because periodically its automated robot called Googlebot visits all the pages in its index, and grabs all the page content so it can analyze it later. Cloaking means showing one page to Google bot and a completely different page to real human visitors. Google despises this aplenty.
  • Keyword Stuffing. The engines want your pages to be natural. Finding every place to cram your keywords onto your pages — or worse, including a “paragraph” of nothing but keywords, especially if they’re repeated ad nauseum — is a big no-no. Do you consider pages with lists of keywords to be high quality? Neither does Google.
  • Doorway pages. A doorway page is a page built specifically for the purpose of ranking well in the search engines and without any real content of its own, and which then links to the “real” destination page, or automatically redirects there. Doorway pages are a popular choice of some SEO firms, although Google has cracked down on this and many webmasters saw their pages disappear from the index. Some SEO firms call their doorway pages something else, in an effort to fool potential customers who know enough to know that they should avoid doorway pages. But a doorway page is still a doorway page even if you call it something else. Some engines may decide that an orphaned page is a doorway page, and if so then the page or the site might suffer a penalty.
  • Spam. Spam has a special meaning with regards to SEO: worthless pages with no content, created specifically for the purpose of ranking well in the engines. You think they have what you’re looking for, but when you get there it’s just a bunch of ads or listings of other sites. The webmaster is either getting paid by the advertisers, or the page is a doorway page, with the webmaster hoping that you’ll click over to the page s/he really wants you to go to.

Read the full article here. https://websitehelpers.com/seo/blackhat.html

What are the current, known safe, white hat SEO tactics that will increase your website traffic in a way that boosts signs ups and sales on for your company?

Posting use full FAQ’s, How to Articles and web tools for your website views are a great way to build up traffic.

Being an active and helpful member of the top 3 social media sites your customers frequent.

Participating in local events that help the nonprofit community.

Generating news worthy events.

Having clean code built to the latest SEO standards.

Implement a conversion call to action on website pages. Example: sign up for our email here, buy this now…. download this free e book.

White hat SEO is all about being a good neighbor, useful services and information. Gaining press mentions and playing the SEO game fairly.

Search engine marketing includes multiple resources and tools that help rank your website in the organic search engine results as well as the sponsored ads at the top and bottom of the search engine results page. Integrating social media campaigns that accelerate social mentions, back links to your websites and actual clients coming in through your door.

With Googles latest update, it is extremely important to keep your visitors engaged with the content on your website. Google tracks how long these viewers are on your website clicking around. This tells Google that your website is interesting, helpful and a good resource to rank high in search.

Internet marketing is a collaborative effort of working with social media, content creation and optimization to meet SEO standards. Internet marketing is an ongoing effort just as traditional marketing requires updated information, contests, coupons, sales…promotions to keep your customers satisfied and with your business front and center.

Look at other successful internet marketing campaigns and learn what was done right, and where you can improve upon.

Lindsay Kolowich | @lkolow wrote a great article on examples of successful marketing campaign.

15 of the Best Email Marketing Campaign Examples You’ve Ever Seen

1) charity: water

When people talk about email marketing, lots of them forget to mention transactional emails. (Download this free offer for all sorts of email copy templates. email copy templates.) These are the automated emails you get in your inbox after taking a certain action on a website. This could be anything from filling out a form to purchasing a product to updating you on the progress of your order. Often, these are plain text emails that email marketers set and forget.

Well, charity: water took an alternate route. Once someone donates to a charity: water projects, their money takes a long journey. Most charities don’t tell you about that journey at all — charity: water uses automated emails to show donors how their money is making an impact over time. With the project timeline and accompanying table, you don’t even really need to read the email — you know immediately where you are in the whole process so you can move on to other things in your inbox.

2) BuzzFeed

3) Uber

Read the full article here.

Increasing website traffic is simple. Provide useful content, do the right thing, and be consistent. Learn more about SEO Services here.

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Reno SEO, Marketing & Web Design
800 Haskell St, Reno, NV 89509
775-870-0488
www.RenoWebDesigner.com