Due to rising competition, it can be difficult to rank #1 on Google’s local business results. Here are 6 important SEO tips for small and medium businesses that will help you get there.
1- Optimize For Medium Tail and Question Keywords
Optimizing your website for relevant keywords should be your first port of call. Optimize for medium tail keywords that can send targeted traffic, but have less competition.
Additionally, you should also target question keywords. These will pull customers that are already deep into the buying cycle. Remember, keyword optimization is based on semantics because Google always identifies the intent of the user before it presents the results. Make use of tools like Ubersuggest to achieve optimal results.
2- Acquire High Authority Links Using HARO and Guest Posting
Links still remain one of the biggest ranking factors. As a small business owner, it becomes difficult to compete with bigger brands who have higher budgets for link building. However, there are two strategies that work effectively for an SMB. These are acquiring links using HARO and building links using guest posting.
HARO stands for Help a Reporter Out. You can register for the HARO site as a source and HARO will start sending you around 3 emails on a daily basis containing requests from journalists for story content. The key here is to sponsor local events and remain in the news so you can forward the information to reporters when they ask for it. You won’t see magic happening instantly but if you remain consistent, you will definitely be able to acquire links from highly authoritative news sites.
Another great way of building links is using guest posting. Under this strategy, you find sites related to your niche which are looking for authors or contributors and send an email to them requesting contributor status. Once you are accepted, submit your content and add links to your website in the content body or author bio.
You can easily find out the sites where your competitor is placing their guest posts by using tools like the Backlink Checker from Neil Patel. Simply enter your competitor URL and this tool will quickly find the top sites that are linking to your competitor. This tool is absolutely free to use.
3- Leverage The Power of Structured Data
Structured data is often overlooked by SMBs. I have often seen small business owners following SEO basics, such as optimizing the title tag, description tag and the content body, but failing to leverage structured data.
Structured data helps Google and other search engines to better understand the content of web pages. For example if you have a recipe site, specifying cooking temperatures, the ingredients used, and cooking times, etc. can all be defined explicitly by Google algorithm. This will help Google to display the defined information accurately in the SERP itself, improving the overall user experience.
The most common forms of structured data are of the following:
- Organizational schema markup — helps to elaborate the company information in the SERP.
- Person schema markup — helps to elaborate the information related to an individual.
- Local Business markup — lets the customers find information such as address and phone number related to a business.
- Product markup — specifies information related to a product like it’s price, quantity, color, etc.
4- Build Citations and Reviews
Citations and reviews are two important elements of local SEO. A citation is a quotation or a reference about your business, and reviews are written by genuine customers. Both citations and reviews are crucial to get your site or local business listing up on the Google search results.
For building citations, you can make use of a tool named the WhiteSpark Local Citation Finder that will help you to find the best citation opportunities for your business. The tool will identify your top local competitors, analyze their citation sources and discover relevant citation opportunities where you can list your own business.
For effective monitoring and building of online reviews, you can use a tool named Review Tracker. This tool helps to monitor your business reviews scattered around the web using a single dashboard. You can easily monitor and respond to reviews right from the dashboard. The tool also helps you to generate new reviews for your business using email campaigns and SMS, etc.
5- Keep Your NAP Consistent
NAP stands for name, address and phone number. If you want your business to rank on the top of local search results, you need to keep your NAP consistent across all the platforms where your business listing might be present.
Your business NAP should be accurate and regularly updated across the entire web. An accurate NAP signals Google about the consistency of the business address across all directories, review sites and other digital channels, allowing it to rank your business higher in the local search results.
6- Use Interactive Content Marketing
Interactive content marketing is a form of content marketing where you persuade the user to take an action, and then make the content automatically update based on that action. Below are the important types of interactive content that you can use in your content marketing strategy:
- – Quizzes
- – Contests
- – Interactive ebooks
- – Games
- – Interactive videos
- – Calculators
- – Interactive infographics
- – Polls and surveys
A quiz is one of the best ways to drive people into action. People love to play the quiz and share it with their friends and families; therefore, you are able to generate lots of social media buzz and backlinks.
SEO is an investment. It helps you to keep your business on top and gain quality traffic. If you follow the SEO tips above, you will defeat your competitors and solidify your place in the top of the search results.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: ADAM