SEO is one of the most powerful methods of traffic generation, especially for local businesses. While the upfront cost can often be higher than with other methods, because you need to continue to invest while you wait for Google to react to improvements, it’s amazing in the long term.
This is primarily because rankings are relatively stable, especially in local niches.
What this means is that once you’ve earned your rankings, they are unlikely just to disappear overnight. Therefore, once the initial investment is made you’ll be able to continue to reap the benefits for months or years to come.
As well as this, it’s also the only method of traffic generation that will bring extremely targeted traffic. You can be 100% sure that visitors to each page are coming to that specific page because they searched for a term that is either on your page or directly related.
This means that the traffic is extremely valuable and will convert far better than traffic from social media or referral links. That’s why SEO is so attractive to local businesses who know that even a single extra customer can significantly impact their monthly revenue.
How is SEO Different for Local Businesses?
One of the biggest mistakes that local business owners make with their digital marketing is believing that local SEO is the same as international SEO. They often read blogs that are aimed at affiliate or Adsense websites, instead of local businesses.
They differ substantially because local queries are designed to return Google Local and Google Maps results. This means they will heavily favour businesses that are within a short distance of the searcher.
Similarly, the results will be heavily influenced by websites that include the city or town in their title tags and in the post itself.
Most of these local keywords are far less competitive than international terms, and this means that the approach you need to take should be different. Where international terms are often filled with pages with tens or hundreds of links, local pages often have no links to them.
This means that building just one or two links could be all that is needed to rank, whereas for an international term you might be better off spending that time on creating longer content.
Create Mindblowing Content
If you take a look a the content that ranks for most local terms, you’ll see that it’s almost always short and doesn’t offer a huge amount of value to the searcher. The biggest win for most local businesses is to create mind-blowing content.
The reason for this is two-fold; primarily, longer and more detailed content will outrank shorter pages. Secondly, this more detailed content is easier to build links to.
We know that Google still puts a decent amount of emphasis on the length of the content and because the content is longer you can also include your keywords more times.
Both of these factors will allow you to create a page that is more valuable than your competitors, but also more preferable for search engines like Google and Yahoo. This by itself might be enough to land your page on the front results page for low competition keywords.
Build Links Directly to Posts
If you find that you’re still unable to rank that piece of content on the first page, you need to consider building links directly to those posts.
As we mentioned previously, local businesses often have few to no links to any of their internal pages. This means that just a couple well-crafted guest posts on powerful websites can catapult your page to #1 for your desired keyword.
Although guest posting isn’t the best link building tactic, it’s ideal for local businesses that have a small budget and little time to spend on SEO. The potential benefit can be huge, whereas the outlay is relatively small.
Finally, it’s important that you ‘go local’. What we mean by this is that you should build links from local sites, include the town or city in your article and ensure that your company is fully included in Google Maps and Local.
Many small businesses underestimated the SEO benefit of creating a comprehensive Google Maps listing. We know that the more detail you provide, the higher you will rank. Similarly, encouraging customers to leave positive reviews can have a huge impact.
By ‘going local’ in this way you’ll be able to improve your rankings in the search results pages, as well as acquire a second spot in the rankings by appearing on the maps snippet.
This allows you to acquire valuable real estate on the results page and drive more traffic to your website.
With Google including more of these Rich Snippets and Map results, it’s likely that these local signals will only become more important in the future.