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Local SEO for start ups

Updated on April 7, 2016

What Is Local SEO

In the ever-growing digital word, people are doing things more and more online, whether this be researching, looking for a service or looking to buy something right then and there. Finding the edge for your business can be quite the task and is often perceived by un-knowing business owners as extremely difficult and not worth the try. But in all truth, any business owner can make a difference in there online presence.

Local SEO (search engine optimization) is a huge factor for any business wanting to succeed in its local area. For example if you are a pizza delivery service in location x, you would hopefully want to find your pizza shop visible online to people in location x and would not want to spend so much time going out to location y and z. Driving the right traffic to your site can is huge in terms of making sure the right customers are finding your business.

What do I need to consider going into this?

Getting your business local SEO friendly ranges in difficulty, however some of the easiest tasks to do can also be some of the most rewarding. The key thing to have in mind when doing all this work is to think to remind yourself that you are trying to get your business more visible to your target audience. Once your target audience can find you, they can buy from you.

The first thing to consider is how are my target audience going to look for me. This can be done by thinking of some keywords that are importance to your business. For example, if you were a pizza shop that focused on pizza delivery, you would want to be visible for the terms "pizza delivery in x (location)". Narrowing it down to location is essential as not only will it make you more relevant to the consumer as they are looking for you in location x not y but it will more likely reduce the competition on the keyword.

Next you need to see how Google is displayed the search engine results. Traditionally Google would just display 10 listings on the page, but now you can have news articles displayed and Google Maps displayed. Google Maps is massively important to EVERY local business as it is visible on the top of the list and allows for users to call you or visit your site, as well as see reviews.

This brings us to most likely the 3 more simple steps to getting your business visible in its area.

Captured through a Google search
Captured through a Google search

1. Google My Business

Google My Business is a neat way to get your business listed on Google. It is also possibly one the the easiest ways to do so as well. Any business owner can do this as it literally just involves creating a Google account (which most people already have) and then filling out all the information that they ask for. An important note to remember on this is to ensure that you fill out all the fields correctly with your information, but also remember to keep in mind that you are filling out these fields with a purpose, and that purpose is to tell Google what you do so that they can present you to the right people.

Lets use an example here. Say you run a pizza shop called "Mike's Pizza" in the location of "Castle Hill", having your Google My Business page set up right should allow your business to appear in the maps listings for pizza related search that mention Castle Hill or are completed in Castle Hill.

These listings are possibly one of the most important thing any local business owner can do!

2. Your sites content

Having a nice looking website is great, you fall in love with its looks, its function but then you realise that you need to get your target audience to actually find it. Google My Business is great but there is more you can do to help your business be visible online.

Telling Google what your website is about is the cornerstone of ranking online. Using Mike's Pizza as an example, you need to tell Google that a) you are a pizza shop and do pizza delivery and then b) that you service location x. It is pretty straight forward, if your site does not mention or tell Google that you are a pizza shop in location x then there is no way for it to know that being a pizza shop in location x is what you do and therefore will not show you to people looking for your service.

Content comes in many forms, body content is most commonly seen but you also need good headings and meta data. Meta data is the short snippet people see when actually doing a search. It tells Google what you do briefly and also tells the audience what you do.

Notice the image below, the top four listings for 'pizza shop castle hill' all include either the words 'pizza' and/or 'castle hill'.

Captured through a Google search
Captured through a Google search

3. Get some links

Back links can be quite daunting as first, but once you know what to look for it becomes easier. For local businesses, the easiest back links are directories. Find all the relevant directories to you and list yourself in them with a link to your site. Relevance can be determined by industry, locations or similar interests.

Doing promotions is a great way to get links as well. For example, Mike's Pizza shop could do a 2 for 1 promotion and have it listed as exclusive deals to sports clubs etc... This will then give you a link on the site back to your site.

To wrap things up

Doing SEO for your local business really is not that difficult and every business owner should be giving it a go. The process is ever evolving which means you can always be learning and staying ahead of the curb. Spending a hour or so a week reading about it will help you grasp the fundamentals in which can help your business succeed!

Your experience?

Have you ever tried using a paid SEO service and how did you think it went?

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