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Local SEO: Simple Local SEO Guide for Startups Looking to Fuel Growth in the First Year

Understanding and properly deploying a local SEO is crucial for a startup. Search engine optimization is how you increase the online influence of your website and attract traffic from intention-based searches.

Local SEO differs from organic SEO in that it caters to geographically specific online searches. Hubspot reports that 72% of consumers that conducted an online local search visited a brick-and-mortar store within a five-mile radius.[1]

If you’re a local business, your community is your customer and you want to make sure they can find you! You need your online traffic to drive walk-in sales.

Everyone knows an SEO-focused strategy isn’t a magic customer injection. It’s a long-term strategy and takes time to fully take root. But for a startup, you may not last that long if you don’t experience early growth.

Here are my top simple local SEO levers for first-year growth fuel!

Fuel Growth In Your First Year: Targeted Local Keywords

Leveraging targeting keywords and phrases in your content and marketing assets will propel your business toward higher rankings in your local community. The more they see you, the faster you can establish your brand’s credibility.

If your market is your local community, a solid keyword strategy will get your products and services in front of the right eyeballs. When used in combination with your enticing offer, this is how you get them off the page and in your doors.

Research what keywords and phrases will boost your rankings on search engine results pages (SERPs). What are topics related to your industry? Find keywords that are associated with those topics and how you can tie them into your local area.

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Use these key phrases strategically throughout your online footprint:

  • On-page SEO (website content, blog articles, etc.)
  • Optimize for Google My Business (AKA “Snack Pack” results)
  • Social Media

Google My Business and the “Snack Pack”

When a prospective customer Googles your business, what do they find? What shows up in search results? What shows up on Google Maps?

You can control this information by optimizing your Google My Business profile (GMB). This will also help improve your rankings. Google organizes this information based on three parameters[2]:

  • Relevance
  • Distance
  • Prominence

If the algorithm determines that your location is farther but maybe a more accurate match, your listing will rank better than a potential competitor. Here are the elements Google recommends for an optimized GMB listing[3]:

  • Complete and Accurate Data
  • Verified Location
  • Transparent Review Management
  • Strategic Photo Uploads
  • Product Listings

Google is without question the most popular search engine in existence today. Optimizing your business profile to cater to their algorithm will result in better SERP success.

Local Citations and “NAP” Consistency

A local citation is any circumstance where specific information about your business generally includes your “NAP:”

  • Name
  • Address
  • Phone Number

This data is a fundamental element to local SEO rankings and optimization that is essential for local businesses.

If you have multiple listings with inaccurate or inconsistent information, this will hurt your credibility as well as your overall ranking. The sweet spot is multiple listings that all give the same, accurate information to increase online presence.

Other components of your local NAP citations would include your website URL, proper business categories, the description, using compelling images, connecting your social media accounts, and providing a direct email address. Ensuring these elements are as cohesive and accurate as possible will help your local business rankings.

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Google isn’t the only spot to focus on! Don’t forget these other popular citation sources to enhance your online credibility:

  • Facebook
  • Yelp
  • YellowPages (Yes, people still use it!)
  • Apple Maps
  • Nextdoor

Know your niche and leverage the common tools in that industry. For example, if you’re a restaurant, manage your listings on sites like TripAdvisor, OpenTable, and Yelp.

Optimize On-Page SEO

Optimize your written website content, title tags, internal links, and URL keywords. Comprehensive on-page B2B SEO also includes attention to detail with your user experience, page loading speed, and easy navigation.

On-page content should use your locally targeted keywords and phrases in the body of your content as well as in H1 and H2 headings. There’s no need to flood your pages with your keyword or the content looks spammy to the algorithm and is unnatural to read.

Use links to other reputable websites that are related to your topic to enhance your own credibility in the eyes of the search engine. URLs should also be optimized with keywords and short, relevant tags.

Your content title tag and page description should clearly communicate the topic with local keyword-specific phrases sprinkled throughout. Keyphrases strategically placed at the front end of your URL tend to be more successful.

Fuel First-Year Growth With Local SEO

If your customer can’t find you or search results look dodgy and incomplete, your business and reputation will suffer. Your startup can’t afford that!

Author Bio:

Jason started freelancing in SEO back in college, sold his first agency, and now is the founder of Zupo, which is an Orange County-based SEO consulting agency helping construct powerful long-term SEO strategies for our clients. Jason also enjoys multiple cups of tea a day, hiding away on weekends, catching up on reading, and rewatching The Simpsons for the 20th time.

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McCoy Julia
Julia McCoy is the founder of Content Hacker, a 7-time author, and a leading strategist for creating exceptional online content. Her last $75 enabled her to build a seven-figure writing agency, which she sold ten years later. She teaches founders and marketers how to build a business through inbound content so that they can make a positive impact on the world in the 2020s. Julia's blog and podcast, Content Transformation System, offer weekly advice.


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