11 Small Business SEO Tips Used By Your Competitors Everyday

Local SEO For Small Businesses

The 11 Small Business SEO Tips You Can Use Today

There’s been a lot of talk around the internet lately,regarding Mobilegeddon, especially in SEO help columns and search engine marketing forums. If you don’t know what Mobilegeddon is, or haven’t read the term, it’s essentially the biggest mobile algorithm update Google has ever unleashed.

In this article, I’d like to get back to discussing another major SEO strategy, specifically for local businesses. If you own and operate a local business I’m sure you already know the importance of having a local SEO strategy and hopefully you have one in place that is brining you the high page 1 rankings your business needs.

With Mobilegeddon dropping April 21, combined with the fact that Google is moving more and more towards a heavy semantic search strategy, most small businesses I speak with, from Niagara Falls, St., Catharines, Hamilton, Burlington, Toronto and the GTA, to Buffalo and Niagara Falls, NY, has been focused on developing their local SEO strategy and making sure their website’s are mobile-friendly.

Let’s break it down to 7 Overlooked Local SEO Tips that every small business owner should demand their local SEO consultant or SEO company to be using when executing their custom strategy.


Small Business Search Engine Optimization

A Local SEO strategy, combined with an optimized mobile marketing strategy is vital for every small business to grow today. I find that SEO for small companies is often ignored when small companies actually have an incredible opportunity to dominate search engine results, especially if they are in a niche market.

My advice to local business owners looking for affordable SEO services for small business is to do one of two things: 1. Find a reputable and skilled local SEO company to craft and execute your local SEO and mobile marketing strategy, or 2. Follow these 7 Essential local SEO tips that will prepare you for SEO in 2015:


Local SEO Tips For Small Companies

1. Always Start With An SEO Audit

You can’t assume everything you hear or everything you read about SEO and search engine algorithm updates affects your website. Your SEO company shouldn’t be talking a basic approach to your website’s local search optimization.

No two businesses are the same. The key is to hire a competent SEO company to do a complete marketing and SEO audit of your website to determine what issues need to be fixed, what website optimization or code errors and affecting search ranking or website traffic.

The idea is to understand the many tricks, SEO tactics, and new optimization strategies that will help your local SEO challenges. If you prefer a DIY approach, check out my 14 Point Local SEO Checklist For Your Homepage and my 8 Tips For a Local SEO Strategy That Crushes Your Competition.

The DIY SEO Audit approach will be excellent experience for you and will save a decent chunk of your digital marketing budget. Keep in mind it will be a time consuming learning experience, especially if this is your first SEO audit.

Your other option is to higher an independent third-party expert. If you’re in the Toronto, GTA, Hamilton, and Niagara region, reach out to us! We are able to offer you a fresh set of ideas and eyes and deliver a comprehensive website marketing and SEO audit, including a competitor analysis of up to 3-5 competitors.


2. Check Your Google My Business Page

Google My Business For Local SEO
Google My Business For Local SEO
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If you don’t know what a Google My Business Tool is, that’s ok. It’s changed names a few times over the last few years. The good news is, it’s starting to take off.

Essentially this tool allows local businesses to connect directly with customers, whether they’re looking for you on Search, Maps or Google+. This is why you want to make sure your company information is updated, consistent, fully optimized, and correct.

Key items to check:

  1. Make sure your location is correctly placed on the map.
  2. Check your hours of operation.
  3. Double check contact information.
  4. If your business is retail, check that you have the correct payment types.
  5. Of course be sure that your official business website is on your local Google+ page.

Pro Tip: Please do this. Encourage customers and client reviews. These reviews can and will show up in Google search results pages. The bonus here is that these reviews will give your page a social boost.


Related Article: What Local Business Needs To Know About The Importance of Online Reviews


3. Get A Mobile SEO Strategy Already!

As mentioned earlier, Google’s “Mobilegeddon” makes it official on April 21. On that date, a website’s “mobile friendliness” becomes an official ranking factor for worldwide mobile search results. Is your website mobile ready? If not, you better make it so, asap.

Some websites are claiming that the majority of search traffic will soon be mobile. Today, tablets and smartphones make up 35 percent of organic search traffic. If mobile optimization of your business website isn’t your priority, you will lose your mobile search engine rankings after April 21. That will suck!

Pro Tip: Invest in responsive and adaptive website design. Now.


4. Remember the Google Pigeon Algorithm Update?

google pigeon algorithm update
Don’t Forget About The Pigeon Algorithm Update
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Local search, local SEO, and local optimization tactics are nothing new. They just aren’t used as much as they should be by many SEO companies. An obsessive SEO know the importance of geo tags, rich snippets, and local search.

Google confirmed this when they released Pigeon, an algorithm that changed local search. If you don’t remember, the purpose of the Pigeon algorithm is so that Google can provide useful, relevant, and accurate local search results, that aren’t tied to the other major algorithm updates.

Google says the Pigeon algorithm creates closer ties between the “core” algorithms and the “local” algorithms, which offers increased consistency and accuracy in search results. This makes total sense, as mobile searches for example, should be tied to the user’s geo location – or at least smartphone operating systems should allow that option.


5.Meta Descriptions Are a “Relevancy” Factor

How important are optimized meta descriptions in your local SEO strategy? I always have optimized meta descriptions near the top of my local SEO checklist. I can hear some of you yelling at the screen “…but meta descriptions aren’t a ranking factor!!”

You’re absolutely correct, I’d say. I preach the importance of optimized meta descriptions as a relevancy factor in my local SEO strategy.

My SEO strategy includes optimizing for the user, not just the search engine.

There is much debate on whether or not optimized meta descriptions contribute to a higher click-through-rate (CTR). I say there is no debate.

If I type a search phrase into Google and I see that term in the link title and bolded in the meta description, I’d say that listing might be one of the ones I click on. It seems most relevant to my search query.

local SEO tips - meta descriptions are a relevancy factor
Meta descriptions are a “relevancy” factor & can boost CTR.

Pro Tip: Use this metadata as an opportunity to increase the value of your listing, in terms of relevancy to the user. Be sure to include your primary keyword as well as a few related long-tail keywords.

As a local business, you should also include your city, neighbourhood area, and address if you’re able. You have to be strategic and creative when crafting optimized meta descriptions because the idea length needs to be 154 characters max.

Some websites say the ideal character length of a meta description should be “roughly 155 characters”, while others say it should be “150 characters.”

Use what you feel is best but get as close to 150-ish characters as you can. Take advantage of the maximum amount of characters to add optimized and relevant copy for your target demographic.


6. Get A Social Media Marketing Strategy and Manage It

Get a Social Media Marketing Strategy
Get a Social Media Marketing Strategy
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The connection between social media and SEO is in full force in 2015. I’d strongly argue it’s been active since 2011; some companies just weren’t doing it as well as they should. They likely had no social marketing strategy.

Success with local SEO or social media marketing is all about strategy, not simply posting content. Anybody can post content, but can the build, execute, and manage a complete, integrated and proven digit marketing strategy?


Related Article: How To Make Content Marketing Drive Local SEO


When it comes to using social media for local SEO, your strategy should include geo-location. Check out what StreetFight, this media, events, and research company, (with a killer name!! see the video below for context), that is focused on the business of hyperlocal publishing, marketing and technology tactics has to say about geo-location:

“What people across the country are saying about a local business isn’t nearly as important as what’s being said by potential customers down the block. This is one of the reasons why geo-location is playing such an important role in the world of social media marketing.

As social media usage takes off among SMBs — more than four-out-of-five businesses report having a presence on social media, according to a 2014 survey by Borrell Associates — geo-location is an increasingly relevant topic. When businesses listen primarily to the opinions of consumers in their direct marketing areas, they’re better able to streamline their listening strategies and optimize their social media marketing programs.”

Check out their 5 geo-location tools for social media posts. Use any of these tools to take full advantage of the many opportunities in local traffic and relevant conversations, happing online in real-time, close to your business location.

7. Publish Strategically Optimized Location Pages

This is a given for us at VPDM Digital Marketing. When working with local businesses, with many locations, it’s crucial to create specifically optimized pages, with relevant content – not just text, also create engaging images, infographics, social embeds, videos, slideshare decks, etc – and include descriptive keywords.

These pages should start with comprehensive local keyword research, specifically targeting long-tail keywords and phrases, which include geo-location information. For example, Social Media Marketing Companies in Niagara, SEO Companies in St. Catharines, SEO Expert in Niagara Falls.

Pro Tip: Be sure to use your primary keyword, appropriate city, and province/state in your page’s title tag, url, and in one H2 heading.


Bonus Local SEO Tips for Your Local Business

Along with the 7 local optimization tips above, here are a few more local SEO tips you can use in your strategy. These are no less important than those listed above. Ideally, you should use every tip you can find and work out which ones work best for your business website.

> Local Directories Still Matter. It takes only a few minutes to set up and regularly manager your business profile on high traffic local directories. The key here is to have your optimized, consistent business information in major local directories. Examples include Yelp, Trip Advisor, Foursquare, and many others.

> Local Link Building Still Matters. If you can get some high quality local links back to your website and reciprocate with linking to those local websites, this strategy will help boost your local SEO rankings and relevance. Look for PR opportunities, chamber of commerce listings, BIA websites, and don’t forget about local blogs in your area.

> Add Appropriate Geo-Tags. Our team has discovered that so many local businesses in the Niagara Region have no mention of geo tags implemented into their website’s code. Google reads your website code!! Be sure your web developer or SEO consultant enters the appropriate geo-location info into the <head></head> section of your website code.

> Optimize Your Images For Local SEO. This is a big one. A big one that rarely gets done on so many business websites. Add Local information, specific geo-location meta into your images alt and/or title attributes. Not only does this help your website rankings but it also gives the images on your website a second SEO ranking opportunity to show up in Google image search!


The Wrap

For your 2015 SEO strategy to be effective, you need to be understand and stay up-to-date on what Google is telling SEOs, web developers, and business owners. Among many other things like new algorithms: Pigeon, Panda, and Penguin, you now have until April 21, 2015 to make your website mobile-friendly, or risk losing mobile search rankings.

Consider yourselves warned.

We discussed 7 key local SEO tips for small businesses to maximize their SEO strategy and grow their business. Utilize all these tips to develop your 2015 local SEO strategy, manage and tweak your new tactics, and be ready to rock your business.

1. Always Start With An SEO Audit

2. Check Your Google My Business Page

3. Get A Mobile SEO Strategy Already!

4. Remember the Google Pigeon Algorithm Update?

5.Meta Descriptions Are a “Relevancy” Factor

6. Get A Social Media Marketing Strategy and Manage It

7. Publish Strategically Optimized Location Pages


Did you find these local SEO tips helpful?


If you’d like to discuss your 2015 local SEO strategy or if you need a mobile-friendly website by April 21, please email me directly to discuss your needs. We’ll deliver a solid plan to help your business reach its goals.


* Featured Image Source

 VPDM Digital Marketing, SEO Strategy,, Social Media, Content


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