In the realm of digital marketing, there are a wide range of strategies and techniques that are very effective for business and companies with a large budget. However, these same strategies which are implemented by companies with larger budgets might not necessarily work quite effectively for a local business. A small local business might not necessarily have the big budgets like the larger corporations and franchises.
So how exactly does a local business gain awareness online?
1. Claim a Google Local Listing
The first thing any local business needs to do is to setup a Google My Business page to setup or claim your business’s listing. This will allow you to manage how your business shows up when people look for it in the search results. You can add pictures, and manage related business reviews.
When setting up your Google My Business page, make sure that all your business’s information is filled out thoroughly and accurately. Any types of errors can cause a major headache and might plateau your rankings in the long run (more info below).
2. Optimize Your Google My Business Listing
You need to optimize your listing so that you’re business has a better chance of ranking in the search results. Some of the things that will help with optimizing your listing are:
- Adding images to your business listing. Make sure that you name your images with keywords related to what you’re trying to rank for. If you’re a pizza shop that’s focused on targetting the keyword “Toronto Pizza Shop,” name your image toronto-pizza-shop.jpg. It’s also a good idea to take it a step further and modify the title and subject in the images properties to reflect the keywords you wish to target.
- Get Reviews for your business. Google is more likely to rank a business that has plenty of great reviews higher than a business with no reviews. If you look in the search results, you’ll even noticed that many of the highest ranked businesses have reviews. A good strategy is to provide your customers with incentives for reviewing your business.
- Be Social. Don’t be afraid to get active on your business listing. Post a picture, article, or update once every few weeks. An active business listing tends to get more love from Google than a dormant listing which hasn’t had any form of activity over a long period of time.
3. Submit Website To Local Directories
For Google to verify your business, it looks across the web for mentions of your business on other websites. It’s important that you submit your website to various top directories.
In Canada, the top directories you want your business to be listed in are the following.
When you submit your business to these directories, it is very important to make sure that the information is consistent and matches that of your Google My Business listing. This means that if your business address is 123 Front Street, you should choose whether or not your business address will be listed with Street, St, or Str across all listings. The least inconsistencies the better.
4. Obtain Links
Building links towards your website is very important to increase your website’s rankings in the search engines. However, don’t engage in shady bulk link packages. These will just do more harm than good to your website. It’s very important that you get links from clean websites.
There are tons of websites that would be glad to have a guest post written by you. You can easily find these types of websites by searching Google with one of the following search operators:
- “Write For Us” + Niche
- Contribute + Niche
- “Become a Writer” + Niche
More more information about, I’d recommend reading another article I wrote on 5 Habits To Help You Improve Your Search Rankings.
With these tips, you’re well on your way as a local business to improving your rankings in the search results. SEO is not something that is instant and it requires patience and resilience. However, if you implement good SEO habits and stay consistent, you’ll be sure to improve your website’s rankings over a period of a few months.