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SEO isn’t just for big businesses. As a small company or a local business, there is actually a lot you can do yourself to get good results from search. This ultimate guide for local and small business SEO will help you get the most out of search by finding your niche, optimizing your pages and using social media.

As local SEO is basically about optimizing for local search engine results, it’s fair to say that local SEO and small business SEO are closely related, which is why we’ll cover both in this article.

We’ll discuss a variety of related topics in this article:

Table of contents

  • Local SEO in tough times
  • The three pillars of local SEO: proximity, prominence and relevance
  • More background on how local SEO works
  • Your site, our Local SEO plugin + My Business
  • Finding your niche
  • Low budget branding
  • Start writing great content
  • Share your content on social media
  • Local ranking factors that help your small business SEO
    • Google My Business
    • Add ratings and reviews
    • Links from related small businesses
    • Near me searches
  • In conclusion

As long as Google’s local search result pages continue to grow and improve, we’ll never be done with this subject. In the meantime, here’s our ultimate guide to local and small business SEO. But first, let’s start with an update on local SEO and the Coronavirus pandemic.

Local SEO in tough times

The Coronavirus pandemic has changed the world. Many local businesses have trouble keeping their heads above water while struggling with an audience that hasn’t come outside for a while. Even if everyone is allowed outside and do their thing, the behavior has changed. Priorities will change, which means some businesses will profit while others will falter. As a local business, you have to keep your ear to the ground to find out what your customers want and need. Maybe you need to pivot or find new ways of getting your products to your audience.

Even if businesses are reopening, chances are consumers will be cautious. On the other hand, e-commerce is soaring. For many businesses, now is the time to focus on getting online. It will be some time before everything goes back to normal, if ever. So, it’s best to find out what your customer needs right now and try to fulfill that demand. Many sites offer free data that helps you get insights into what’s happening, like Google’s Rising Retail Categories site.

Keep your listings up to date

For now, the least you can do is to keep your online business details up to date. Make sure that your data is correct and make use of the various tools search engines provide to help searchers find the most up to date information on your business. So, update your Google My Business, use the Posts feature to add additional information and add structured data if necessary. Google has guidance for businesses coping with COVID-19.;

We have a couple of posts that can help you find your footing as a local business during this difficult time:

  • 4 quick tips to quickly improve your website during the current situation
  • Adapting your content strategy to changing times
  • Update your canceled or postponed events with structured data
  • 5 tips to switch from restaurant to food delivery
  • Shops & restaurants: offer easy curbside pickup with WooCmmerce and Local SEO

The three pillars of local SEO: proximity, prominence and relevance

Ranking locally, means you have to keep three things in mind. Proximity, prominence and relevance are the factors that determine if your business should appear at the top of the local SERPs for a specific search term.

  • To determine proximity, search engines have different means to find out where the searcher is, mostly based on zip codes and/or geo-coordinates.
  • Prominence is all about trying to find out how well-known your business. To determine this, search engines look at a variety of sources available on the web like links, reviews and citations.
  • Relevance is the third local SEO factor. Here, search engines look at how well a local company matches what a user is searching for. To be relevant, you don’t simply fill out and update your Google My Business account, as Google specifically mentions that it also factors in your rankings in the regular search results, so it is a good idea to work on your SEO in general.