Small busi­ness­es must have a cre­ative con­tent plan that focus­es on dom­i­nat­ing local search engine opti­miza­tion search­es. Too often, small busi­ness own­ers do not use the avail­able meth­ods for draw­ing in local con­sumers to their brick and mor­tar busi­ness­es. Their con­tent plan may be too gen­er­al or not focused on their local tar­get audi­ence. To rem­e­dy this, con­tent devel­op­ers respon­si­ble for small busi­ness­es must review their con­tent and opti­mize it for their local mar­kets.

Capture the Local Market Through SEO

If you own a small busi­ness, you already know the impor­tance of hav­ing a strong online pres­ence, so we’ll get right down to it. Just make sure that your busi­ness site is also opti­mized for mobile browsers.

Set Up Your Google My Business Page

When peo­ple are look­ing for a local busi­ness, Google is the first place they typ­i­cal­ly check. To makes sure your busi­ness shows up at the top of the Google search, claim your Google Busi­ness Page.

To do this, vis­it\business. Click “Get on Google” and sign in to your Google account. Enter your busi­ness address in the search box. Your busi­ness should pop up, but if it does not, click on “Add Your Busi­ness.” Either option cho­sen will require a two- to three-week wait for a post­card to arrive through snail mail.

After receiv­ing your post­card, you will ver­i­fy your busi­ness and add infor­ma­tion, almost like a social media page. You will now be able to add busi­ness hours, pho­tos, phone num­bers, and a link to your web­site. Anoth­er great aspect of claim­ing your busi­ness is being able to receive and respond to reviews, which is a won­der­ful tool for cus­tomer engage­ment.

Here are some addi­tion­al tips for your Google My Busi­ness page:

  • Don’t skip the descrip­tion sec­tion. Write a long, detailed, catchy descrip­tion of prod­ucts or ser­vices your com­pa­ny offers.
  • Choose the cor­rect cat­e­gories for your busi­ness, so a gen­er­al search for “plumbers near me” will reveal your busi­ness.
  • Upload as many busi­ness pho­tos as you can. Be sure your busi­ness is nei­ther too emp­ty nor too busy when you pho­to­graph it. It should appear to be pop­u­lar, but not so busy that it turns peo­ple off.
  • Ask loy­al cus­tomers to post hon­est reviews of your busi­ness on Google.

Blog About Local Events and News

One spe­cif­ic method for opti­miz­ing local SEO traf­fic is to blog about local events and news. Write about top­ics that locals will be search­ing for. The annu­al Renais­sance Fair is approach­ing? Take time out of your day to write about the sub­ject and how enjoy­able the event has been in past years. If pos­si­ble, your busi­ness can also attend these events and then invite your audi­ence to join you.

Write about local events on social media sites. This can be accom­plished by ask­ing fol­low­ers if they plan to attend local events or ask­ing their opin­ions of local news pieces. This can be a great method for fos­ter­ing cus­tomer engage­ment, so be sure to take an active role in the dis­cus­sions.

Add Local Area Meta Descriptions

Writ­ing an effec­tive meta descrip­tion means under­stand­ing what your clients’ needs will be when search­ing for your busi­ness. Google recent­ly changed its meta descrip­tion length from 160 to 320 char­ac­ters. This doesn’t nec­es­sar­i­ly mean that your busi­ness should use all 320 char­ac­ters but be sure to use the space wise­ly by includ­ing local phras­es.

Writ­ing a good meta descrip­tion involves includ­ing three spe­cif­ic pieces of infor­ma­tion:

  • Your customer’s prob­lem
  • Your business’s solu­tion
  • The out­come of your ser­vice
  • To opti­mize these steps for your area, include geo­graph­i­cal­ly spe­cif­ic terms.

Q & A plumb­ing has been serv­ing the South Beach area for 40 years. We spe­cial­ize in clogged drains, leak repair, garbage dis­pos­al instal­la­tion, and water heater repair for Mia­mi, Coral Gables, Fontainebleau, and Hialeah. Call us now to fix all of your plumb­ing prob­lems.”

Meta descrip­tions do not direct­ly affect your web­site rank­ing in Google, but they will affect the rel­e­van­cy of your web­site for cer­tain key­words con­sumers might use. Now is a good time to review your meta descrip­tion to see how it can be bet­ter focused for your local mar­ket. The addi­tion of char­ac­ter spaces may be ben­e­fi­cial if you need the room.

Encourage Customers to Leave Reviews

One sur­vey found that 97% of con­sumers read online reviews for local busi­ness­es. With a sta­tis­tic that high, it’s cru­cial that you devel­op a strong review sys­tem for your busi­ness. Small busi­ness­es must take an active role in solic­it­ing reviews for their busi­ness­es. Google, Yelp, Angie’s List, and Face­book are all impor­tant plat­forms for gar­ner­ing reviews.

Encour­age your cus­tomers to leave reviews; do not leave it to chance. By nature, peo­ple are more apt to leave a neg­a­tive review than to take the time to leave a pos­i­tive one after their expe­ri­ence. One grumpy cus­tomer will take the ini­tia­tive to write a one-star review, while 10 delight­ed cus­tomers may not take the time to input their five-star reviews. To rem­e­dy this, always encour­age cus­tomers to leave reviews for your busi­ness. Many peo­ple don’t even think about going online to review a busi­ness, but a friend­ly reminder can be help­ful, espe­cial­ly if the con­sumer was hap­py with the expe­ri­ence.

Do not offer incen­tives for leav­ing reviews. This prac­tice is ille­gal in accor­dance with Fed­er­al Trade Com­mis­sion rules. Offer­ing an incen­tive is seen as a form of com­pen­sa­tion that can lead to decep­tive rep­re­sen­ta­tion in reviews, so don’t do it! Also, be sure that you take the time to respond to reviews, whether good or bad. Bad reviews can be mit­i­gat­ed by respond­ing pro­fes­sion­al­ly and offer­ing to make their expe­ri­ence bet­ter the next time, along with a pos­si­ble dis­count.

Network with Other Local Businesses

Small busi­ness­es should take time to net­work with oth­er busi­ness own­ers and local non­prof­it orga­ni­za­tions. On social media plat­forms, you can fol­low oth­er local com­pa­nies and com­ment on their posts. Adding to their dis­cus­sions can help your busi­ness reach local audi­ences that it might not oth­er­wise on its own sites.

Build rela­tion­ships with local busi­ness­es and stir up your site con­tent by wel­com­ing local guest blog­gers. Invite busi­ness own­ers to write for your site and link it to your social media sites. You can also make men­tion of local busi­ness­es on your own site, so long as they are not com­peti­tors. For exam­ple, if you run an RV com­pa­ny, you could eas­i­ly cre­ate a part­ner­ship with local camp­grounds to expand your tar­get audi­ence.

Successfully Manage Local SEO Content

Dom­i­nat­ing your local SEO con­tent can be accom­plished with a lit­tle extra work. Think of your­self as a con­sumer and trans­late that out­look to help with SEO opti­miza­tion. Decide what con­sumers spe­cif­ic to your locale will be search­ing for and include it on your site, meta descrip­tion, and social media accounts. Opti­miz­ing your con­tent will attract more cus­tomers and bring in more rev­enue, all with a lit­tle effort.