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      Why is local SEO essential for small business and what is SEO?
      SEO stands for Search Engine Optimisation and it’s what you need to do so people who are looking for your business can find you when they need what you are selling or servicing.

      Imagine this; Search engines like Google, Bing and Firefox send out lots of little bots (like spiders) that trawl through the internet looking for new, relevant information so they can return relevant links when people search for keywords and phrases.

      When you’re searching for a local plumber, you search for “plumber and your local area”. Google is just one of the many search engines out looking for these keywords in your content and links to help provide the best possible results.

      So, if you’re a small business owner that operates regionally, your main goal is to appear on SERPs (search engine results page) and we all want page one results. One way to do this is to market your brand, products, and services to local leads and customers.

      As a local business owner, you have to understand Local SEO in order to get noticed in search engines and generate more customers.

      Without a local SEO plan, your business will not be able to take advantage of the local online demand for your products or services.

      What is Local SEO?
      Local SEO is a branch of SEO that specifically deals with search engine optimisation for local businesses. Having an effective Local SEO campaign will allow your business to appear on page one of Google’s search engine results pages, both in the “Map Pack” and “Organic Listings”.

      In general, SEO covers all types of businesses, blogs, and websites. Back in the ’90s, SEO used to be plain and simple, there wasn’t much difference between SEO and Local SEO. Nowadays, there are several nuances that specifically and exclusively affect Local SEO.

      Local SEO helps business owners optimise their business for people searching from a nearby location. This is why Local SEO is so important.

      Here are the top ways you can make your local SEO successful

      Get listed on a Google My Business page
      Your business listing in Google My Business is the most important page on the internet today. Even more important than any page on your website.

      Google wants a positive experience for its customers and searchers, therefore it relies on a company’s Google My Business listing to provide instant information to consumers. Aside from the fact that it’s also the number one search engine on the planet.

      Most people use google when searching the internet, typically on a mobile device, and have high local intent. These listings are an important piece to the local SEO strategy for it acts as a digital anchor of sorts.

      A good way to rank in local search results and can also help drive leads and increase sales.

      Get listed on local business directories
      What are local online listings and why are they so important to your local business?

      Claiming your online listings verifies that you’re the owner and your business is actually a valid place of business. It validates to the consumer that you are a trustworthy business in the local community. It also allows consumers to find your contacts information and navigate to our website. It increases your visibility online and increases your overall traffic.

      Being listed to a business directory means you are a part of a yellow pages type directory online. For a small fee, you can have a big exposure to your business. It allows you to target potential customers and unexpected ones.

      Claiming and optimising your online listings is one of the easiest and the most impactful ways to improve your online presence.

      If you need help getting started, Use a local team is here to help!

      Create content based on local news stories or relevant to your business

      Blogging is good for SEO because it helps with a number of things that are important ranking factors. It keeps your website fresh and current.

      If your customers came across your website and realise that it hasn’t been updated in years, they will probably immediately lose some trust in the information they are seeing and move on to your competitors.

      Google only wants fresh information delivered to its searchers. Websites that are regularly updated with fresh content signals that the website is alive and offers fresh content. It also gives the search engine algorithms more reason to index your website more often keeping it on Google’s radar!

      Find the best keywords for your business
      One of the most important aspects every business owner should never neglect or overlook when it comes to doing local search engine optimisation is keyword research.

      The use of keywords has a significant impact on organic page rank in search engines.

      75% of internet users never even look past the first page of search results.

      So your goal is to be listed on the first page of google and you can achieve this goal by utilising your keyword research. Tip: Make sure to only use keywords that’s relevant to your local customers. (e.g. Plumber & your area)

      Perform On-site SEO
      Prior to publishing your content, there are few more techniques on how to implement and optimise your content.

      Title Tags: When creating pages and posts on your website, make sure that the title and tag includes relevant keywords for each blog post.
      Headings: Just as with the title, headings also play a role in search engines. Just make sure that these headings such as H2 and H3 fit within the context of the article.
      Use outbound links: Create outbound links to related pages, this will create a relevancy signal and help google understand your page’s topic.
      Use social media sharing buttons: Social media shares will generate more eyeball on your content. And the more eyeballs you get, the more likely someone is to link.
      Post long content: Longer content tends to rank significantly higher on the google first page.
      Be mobile-friendly
      There are over 1 million more mobile devices activated every day across the world than there are babies born. That means that we need to adjust to this new world with mobile-focused efforts. In order for your customer to have a better experience when they visit your website, you need to start looking into getting your website mobile friendly.

      Online businesses need to make content available to their audiences where they spend most of their time. The focus is to have a mobile responsive website that will actually end up helping SEO and engaging with mobile users.

      Check if your website meets Google’s requirements. You can do this with Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test.

      With Google’s update on their local listings, it made the competition for webmasters to be featured in the listings harder than ever.

      There is no shortcut and easy way to be featured on the 1st page of a Google search -which means every business must depend on a great local SEO performance to obtain much better online visibility. As a small business owner, you have to give twice the effort to obtain the result that you want.

      Related article: 5 ways to increase Facebook engagement

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