At Evans Group Marketing, we are the proven choice for small business search engine marketing for your site! We bring the same SEM and optimization in local SEO technology used by top tier businesses worldwide and apply it consistently to our small business and non-profit clients. Your growth goals are our first priority at Evans Group Marketing, and we’ll be with you every step of the way. Local SEO Planning is one of the key steps used in the total SEO process.

Local SEO Planning

While the corporate giants compete over a piece of a very large and profitable cake, small companies are leading an entirely different battle. The goal of a small business should be to dominate the local market. One of the most efficient ways to specifically target local customers is through the targeted use of SEO tactics from the big corporations and focus it for small businesses.

Understand SEO Strategy for Small Business

Let’s start by defining SEO in general. In simple words, search engine optimization aims to increase organic(unpaid) website traffic. By implementing a set of rules, your website’s pages will turn into a piece of online material that Google values. The better the SEO is, the higher your website ranks on Google’s TrustRank. Trust is an important factor in ranking websites, but many webmasters are not aware of it. When talking about online searches, trust refers to the kind of authority and quality of a website’s credence. Google uses this to rate the dependability, reliability, and trustworthiness of a website and to determine if the content is safe for users.

Google TrustRank is a website analysis algorithm that Google uses to combat web spam and determine the trust signal of a website. These trust signals are then used to evaluate other ranking factors’ legitimacy, such as the quality of links and to logically related content sites.  Are similar content sites linked to other similar content sites? Upwards to directories in that industry, advertising platforms for the industry, and down to logical subsets.  Think of it this way – General contractors to-from, then subcontractors uplinked to contractors, who in turn uplink to resource directories, government lists of providers and so on. It really is a web, and Google doesn’t instantly index your website.

Just some background, TrustRank was initially developed by researchers at Stanford University, Hector Garcia-Molina and Zoltan Gyongyi, and Yahoo. However, Google has revealed that they have incorporated the concept into their search algorithm and page authority is an essential factor for ranking websites. However, the search engine algorithms are both proprietary and much more complicated and updated/changing all the time as the search engines add artificial intellegence to the mix.

That’s why your SEO efforts needs to change and evolve with it. Otherwise, you will quickly have a very outdated website (maybe even penalized from older SEO techniques that are now considered black hat “tricks” and you won’t even be aware of it until your traffic goes down. Furthermore, it is crucial to understand that not every type of SEO is the same. Depending on your business’s size and on what you are trying to achieve, SEO tactics change.

Small Business SEO Mistakes to Avoid

How can one not make SEO mistakes if the algorithm constantly changes?

Well, the bad news is that doing it yourself, you will probably make some mistakes at the beginning. However, the biggest one you should avoid is not recognizing the error when it happens. That’s why this article focuses on efficient SEO tactics for small businesses. The more you learn about it, the more prepared you are, and quickly realize the advantages of obtaining professional SEO and SEM support.

  • SEO Requires a lot of time, effort, and energy.

  • SEO requires constant improvement

  • Researching the newest strategies

  • Researching your competition

This sounds like a massive project, and it is. If you don’t have the time to devote to it, we strongly recommend professional assistance. DIY or with professional help, the reward you get from SEO for your small business is entirely worth it!

Engage with your customers

One of the most important SEO tactics for small businesses is to focus on the local market; people who are close to you, and, when it comes to providing a service, require quality, speed, and convenience. With that in mind, make sure you are out there, in the crowd, meeting the locals and learning about their interests. Engage your customers by organizing surveys and polls. Ask them for feedback and ask them what they want. If you don’t know how to approach them, add a review page on your website, and ask them politely to write a review when they get home. Let them know that you are listening and engage with them to tell them that you did hear them.

The information you gather will be the base for all of the SEO steps that come after. Ask yourself, if you don’t know what your customers want, how are you going to give it to them?

Get to Know your customers

Once you understand what your customers want, it is time to pull up your sleeves and get down to business. The secret of quality keywords lies in understanding search intent in SEO. Every search query has a purpose. Let’s look at a scenario where a customer wants to have their house painted. Here are a few different ways he or she could look for house painting online:

  • Search for house painting. This keyword/key phrase covers a very broad subject. The person does not have any specific requirements; they just need house painting. This kind of search will probably provide the website of the best house painting or how-to house painting sites in the world, someone who ranks number 1 in house painting.
  • Search for exterior house painting: this is a bit more refined phrase but still too vague for a local search result. Here we find out that the person is not only searching for information on painting the outside of their house. Logically, they probably are thinking about getting their house painted, and want to get some idea of the cost, and so on.
  • Search for affordable house painting La Mesa CA: now that’s a type of local keyword phrases that will give you precise results. Not only did we learn that the buyer is looking for house painting, but they are also looking for a reasonable price, and they are looking for a house painter for a house in La Mesa.

Hopefully, this example clearly demonstrates what search intent is and what kind of logic you want to use when creating your local keywords and search phrases in your web content.

Citations add validation to your business

Citations in SEO represent a reference to a business in the form of company data like name, contact information, address, social media profiles, etc. While not everyone focuses on citations, for some businesses this is a must. We have talked earlier about how Google’s algorithm decides your website rank. Well, if there is one thing that Google values, it is how many times it can find a reference to a business online. If people talk about it, that means it is worth something.

When it comes to citations that target local small business, choosing the most efficient channels is essential. The ones we can recommend are

  • Google My Business
  • Google Maps
  • Bing Maps
  • Facebook
  • Yelp

Of course, there are other different channels you can use. At Evans Group Marketing we’ll help you choose the best channels for your small business.

Create website content that includes local news and events

We cannot really talk about the best search engine optimization tactics for small businesses without mentioning the importance of good local content. Yet again, we are looking back at when we talked about meeting your customers’ needs.

The best way to create content that makes use of local SEO is by writing about local events and news in your internal site (blogging), Facebook postings in your FB business site – this can be how you contribute to the neighborhood (how the local baseball team your business sponsors is doing, what your small business did to help with a local charity event.  You get the idea, focus on your business activities in the community.  That is an important topic of interest that will attract many readers. It’s biggest value for SEO is it represents social networking external links back to your website. Visitors that use Facebook, see your contribution and it offers another opportunity engage in the local market.  If a small business focuses on everything that’s happening in their neighborhood, they are building awareness in their customers’ eyes.

Small Business SEO Made Easy

I’m pretty sure you realize by now that SEO for local business isn’t an easy process. As long as you focus on your local customers and create localized content for your potential customers, there is a good chance that these approaches will be efficient and produce results. It will take a lot of time and effort, but the most important thing is to be persistent… there is no magic solution that will achieve results overnight. Engage your customers, talk about their interests and needs, and use the gathered data to steer your small business in the right direction. At Evans Group Marketing, we specialize in small business SEO and search engine marketing… reach out to us when you are ready for professional support.