Local SEO for small business (and family firms with local customers) relies heavily on review services like Google My Business and Yelp. It requires location-focused language on websites and blogs. And it involves building community relationships.
It’s important to understand local SEO because much of the standard SEO advice doesn’t work for locally-based small businesses or family firms. Even if you have the resources to pursue a standard SEO approach, you could end up attracting visitors who aren’t close enough to use your services without local tactics. So a business just starting out might feel out of luck if digital marketing doesn’t run in the family.
But the good thing is that local SEO for small business is built on simple, easy-to-use tactics.
Claim Your Google My Business & Yelp Listings
The first step in improving local SEO for small business should be to claim your Google My Business and Yelp listings. If no listings exist, then you should create them. If you’re in a specialty industry with its own popular review site, you should create or claim a listing there as well (Examples: Angie’s List, Trip Advisor, Better Business Bureau).
These services are crucial for local SEO because they’re a primary way that people search for local services. Google My Business is especially important for Google search results because Google will always place its own listings at the top of the page.
Once you’ve claimed your listings, you should…
- Make sure all information is accurate and up to date
- Add a compelling business description
- Add your own photos
- Ask customers to leave reviews when they have positive experiences
The more up-to-date, personalized, and well-reviewed your business is, the higher it will place in search results.
Be Specific about Location
Be sure to talk about your location throughout the content on your website. Each page should mention your location. This helps Google and other search engines understand where you are.
If your business has multiple locations, create a landing page for each location. This is important even if both businesses are in the same city. For example, if you have one store on Mission and another on Fillmore, separating their landing pages will make it easier for searchers to find the store closest to them. Each location should get its own Google My Business and Yelp listing as well.
And if you’re writing blogs for your website, make sure you’re choosing topics that are locally relevant.
Build Relationships that Lead to Backlinks
A backlink is a link on another business’ website that leads to your business’ website. They signal to search engines that your website is trustworthy.
One simple way to earn a backlink is by joining your local chamber of commerce. There are several in San Francisco including…
- San Francisco Chamber of Commerce
- Hispanic Chambers of Commerce of San Francisco
- San Francisco African American Chamber of Commerce
- Golden Gate Business Association
Family businesses in the Bay Area can also be added to our directory by becoming a member of the Gellert Family Business Center.
Another way is by donating to non-profits and asking them to include a link to your website from theirs. This is common practice, and most non-profits will happily oblige.
You can also go for backlinks in the digital version of local newspapers and event directories. To do this, you’ll need to do something newsworthy. You could try running a promotion during which a portion of your sales go towards a local non-profit. Or you could host a special event like an open mic, live music, or pet adoption. Get creative!
Common SEO Advice that Applies to Local SEO for Small Business, Family Business
Some of the standard SEO advice holds up for small and family businesses. Here’s a few pieces of common SEO advice to take to heart…
- Update the information on your website regularly (and when editing pages, make sure not to change the URL because you could lose any backlinks)
- Make sure your website is mobile-friendly
- Write custom “title tags” and “descriptions” for every page on your website
- Write descriptive “alt text” for all of your images
You’re Way Ahead Already
As a small or family business owner that understands the importance of SEO, you’re way ahead of the competition. We hope these simple tips for local SEO will help you get even further.
And if you’re on a business improvement kick, try these other Gellert Family Business Center blogs…