The Ultimate Beginners Guide to Local Business SEO
“46% of Google Searches are Local”
Who isn’t looking for local plumbers, doctors, and hairdressers?
Everybody wants products or services on an immediate basis.
The problem is when users search for local businesses; big, national, brands dominate the pages, leaving no place for small local businesses.
On a survey of 2000 small businesses conducted by UENI, 76% admitted their tough struggles to appear on search results.
Poor business owners throw their hands up thinking that they never get a chance to attract customers as far as national brands are ruling the search engines.
To your delight, that’s not true anymore.
Here comes the end to your online struggles and the key to open doors for online customers – Local SEO.
Local SEO is optimizing your website for local customers. It means that your business will appear on search engines if any nearby customer is looking for it.
Google is all about improvement. With the increasing search for local products or services, Google finds it comforting for users to acknowledge the best things available nearby, instead of going far.
To take advantage of users local search, you have to crawl your way up to the higher rankings vial local SEO.
This beginner’s guide will teach you essential steps to save a topper’s spot on Google’s local searches via Local SEO.
Here you go:
- Register with Google My Business
In order to rank your site for local searches, Google must know about the existent of your business in the first place. The search engine giant offers “Google My Business” tool to help you register your business online and authenticate it in Google’s Crawler Eyes. It’s like creating your business profile with Google where you enter all the business details asked. Google My Business profile increases your visibility on the search engines.
- Update Your Website
Even after having a website, if you fail to appear on search pages then your website is in dire need of some repairs essential for local SEO.
5 Steps to Update and Prepare Your Website for Local SEO
- Fix Up the Internal Linking Structure:
A proper navigation path, information architecture, and hierarchy will do the trick. In short, these 3 fixes make sure that users don’t face any issue while surfing through the website.
- Optimize URL and the Content:
A website is full of content. URLs, titles, headers, Meta Descriptions, blog posts, etc. everything is made up of content. Each piece of content must be optimized well for search engines. Adding high-volume keywords (not keyword stuffing) and addressing users’ pain points in words will help a lot. It makes your website highly relevant to search engines and users.
- Add Location to Website:
Users read address first and then locate it next. They do it directly from Google without bothering to open your site. Add a correct address in written form to the site and put a Google’s map, next to address, locating your business. It shows Google where your business is which helps users find you out directly through search results.
- Create Content for Local Customers:
Think in terms of what users will search for when they look out for local businesses. For e.g. a coffee lover will type “Coffee Shops near me”. Now, what would be relevant and valuable content for such users? “Top 10 Coffees You Must Try this Week” or “A coffee to refreshen you up” is a good idea to go for. Think of how local users will search for your business and create content accordingly. Content has always been and is a king.
- Mobile-Friendly Website:
Last but not least. 9 out of 10 local searches take place from the smartphone. Obviously, who bothers with the desk to find local businesses. If your site is not mobile-friendly, you lose a big chunk of customers and a good chance of rankings, no matter how good your content is. Remember, Google considers mobile-friendly sites as one of the important ranking factors. Make your site mobile-friendly as soon as possible.
- Local Directory Listing
As old as it sounds, it still holds the value. But not in the traditional way.
Find out top online business directors and enter your necessary business details like name, address, and contact number with area code. If possible, map it out as well. Remove duplicate entries if found any.
- Build Inbound Links and Authority
Sponsor your brand and contribute guest posts to website constantly. And you are good to go. Links from other relevant websites improve your domain’s authority which, in turn, boost your rankings. Just make sure, any activity you perform at any site, it must be relevant to your business. Irrelevancy may penalize your site or hit by algorithm updates (Google’s strict guidelines for websites and content). For e.g. content of a coffee shop has a good place on travel sites, not on finance site. Right?
- Take Your Business on Social Media
Social media is like a home to users. Anything popular on social media is the first choice of users which become Google’s choice as well when it comes to distributing rankings. Share your content and products or services on social media. Announce contest, freebies, or anything attracting users towards your social media accounts. The more fan following you have, the better reputation you receive from Google.
- Collect Customer Reviews
At last, once you spread your business at every online corner, you can approach past customers to post ratings and reviews on Google or social media profiles. Reward them for the same if need be. A little investment initially won’t hurt. Future customers believe in past customers. Ratings and reviews help potential customers to learn more about your business so that they can put their trust easily.
Local SEO is a silver bullet for the online presence of local businesses. It makes your business available for local users and grows it simultaneously. The more you improve the website as per Local SEO tips and Google’s quality standards, the better search engine rankings you ought to receive. And never stop to publish new content even if you gather a handful of customers. Your business shouldn’t stop expanding, once you set foot on the online world.
You want to read an article that recently caught your attention because of its compelling headline. You opened the link on your smartphone. Your expectations are high.
Do you have to zoom in to make sense of the content on your small screen?
Do you put effort into reading it or will you switch back to the search engine to find a link that offers better content on your screen?
The latter is the obvious option.
With the growing number of smartphone users, it’s become more important than ever to have a site that responds according to users’ expectations.
If your site failed to do so, you probably know well by now how it backfires.
But how do you create a user-responsive design?
Responsive design is your answer.
So… What is Responsive Design?
As the name suggests, responsive design is a design that stands up to your users’ expectations. It makes your website look good and well-fitted to all types and sizes of devices.
The design and structure of a responsive website is the perfect solution to your customers’ expectations as it adapts well to the different resolutions across devices.
Plus, you don’t need to create multiple versions of websites for mobile and desktop. Instead, a single responsive website plays various roles depending on the type of devices users are coming from.
But Why do You Need Responsive Design?
In 2015, Google introduced a mobile-friendly update to its search engine algorithms signaling a website’s mobile presence as an essential ranking factor. The rise of mobile web traffic till today alone is enough to justify why any business needs a responsive design.
Besides, there are many reasons why your organization receives 4-sided benefits from responsive web design. The list is too big to cover in one article, so we compiled a list of the top 6 reasons to have a responsive web design to upscale your business for current and future trends.
Let’s dive in.
1. Mobile Viewers Outnumbering Desktop Viewer
Do you know that over 50% of web traffic comes from smartphone users internationally?
Statista predicts worldwide smartphone users will reach 3.8 billion by 2021, which is up from 2.5 billion in 2016.
No doubt, all the facts, and statistics are pointing towards the trend of small-screen devices.
This means that websites not optimized for smaller screen devices often experience a massive decline in search engine traffic and rankings. This means users don’t find them anymore.
As you already know, smartphones are scoring well above desktop visits, but most mobile users are abandoning unresponsive sites at first glance.
In fact, 76% of users admitted that if the site functions well and runs smoothly on their smartphone, they are more likely to revisit it.
Overall, if your prospects open your website on their mobile and end up closing it within 3 seconds because they couldn’t view content properly, you need responsive design.
2. Google + SEO-Friendly Site
Google considers the responsiveness of a website and has even stated that search engine rankings favour responsive sites over non-responsive ones.
One fact worth mentioning is that responsive design makes it a lot easier for search engines like Google to crawl your website and reduces the chances of errors with on-page SEO.
Not having a responsive website is a simple explanation for a lack of Google traffic you’re your declining ranking. Unfortunately, without a responsive design, many of your potential leads are turning to competitors offering excellent user experience. Before it gets too late, take the step now and turn your website into a responsive, SEO-friendly site.
3. Enhanced User Experience
Responsive websites load faster than non-responsive ones. They consist of a technology that displays websites on all devices with content that adapts quickly to different screen sizes. They behave as if you have created multiple versions of a single site for each device, giving your users a personalized experience based on their device choice.
Non-responsive sites, on the other hand, squeeze content into small screens, which takes more time to process and compromises the content quality.
Responsive web design eliminates all the problems created by non-responsive sites like poor user experience, higher loading times and small, difficult-to-read content. Responsive designs appeal to the ever-shrinking patience of mobile and tablet users who are not willing to wait for more than 3 seconds for your site to load its content.
Responsive sites offer an unbeatable user experience by loading sites in the least time possible. Thus, it results in leaving a positive impression among users of your brand. Because of the fast response from the site, users feel valued and are more likely to revisit the site.
4. Easy Management
Many businesses, especially small ones, can’t spare much time to update or refresh their website every now and then. At the same time, they can’t afford to hire costly services of web designers to take care of all aspects of the website. And, if you have different versions of a site for desktop and mobile, the cost of management skyrockets.
Responsive design is one of the most cost-effective solutions. Making changes to adopt a responsive design is as easy and smooth as spreading butter on bread. Also, whatever changes you make, you don’t have to worry about making the same changes in multiple versions. Responsive design takes care of everything automatically after you are done editing the design or updating the blog.
Additionally, with one website working at the center of your online business, managing other marketing elements becomes more accessible than ever.
So, when updating a social media button or redirecting a link, you don’t have to wonder whether all users (mobile users and desktop users) are enjoying your new changes or not. Responsive design eliminates the management stress of your business website.
5. Decrease in Bounce Rate
Is your website falling prey to a high bounce rate?
Non-responsive websites are one of the many reasons behind a higher bounce rate.
High bounce rate signals to Google that perhaps your website is not as relevant as it should be when it comes to solving users’ problems or answering their questions. Content is usually not to blame. Slower and non-responsive websites are the main reason behind users landing on your website and leaving it as soon as it fails to load. This entire scenario negatively impacts your search engine rankings.
Design plays a vital role in the user experience of your website. No matter how great your content is, if it fails to fit properly in small screen devices, users are not going to strain their eyes or wait longer to load its content. They know that they have other options waiting in the search engines’ list to explore and enjoy for a more seamless user experience.
Responsive design never makes users wait or zoom in. It makes websites adaptable to all sized devices without affecting the content quality.
6. Increase in Leads and Conversion
A large news media organization was fidgeting with the thought of whether to invest in responsive design or not. To decide, they A/B tested with a responsive and non-responsive site where the goal was to increase the number of free trial sign-ups.
Here’s the proof revealing which website design won the game:
The conversion rate hiked up by 56% from the implementation of responsive design.
Responsive design makes it easier for website visitors to find what they are looking for without zooming in, waiting or straining their eyes. The more effortless the design is, the more users convert. Mixed with a lower bounce rate and better SEO rankings, you’ll get a strong, successful model of a website.
Embrace it Now
If you’re not convinced about the abilities of responsive design, give it a chance and allow it to save your time and money without compromising the quality of your website. This is a modern strategy most businesses follow to stay within budget while turning their small business into a brand.
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