Marketing is all about being seen, and in the digital age that means ranking highly in Google search results. If your company doesn’t have an online presence or isn’t listed in the first few search results for a search term, it may as well be invisible.

That is especially true for small businesses. As a small business owner, you’re looking to put your company on the map, and the best way to do that in the digital age is with a targeted local SEO service. Let’s look deeper into the why’s and how’s of local SEO.

When we Google for local services, it often takes the form of Googling “X near me” or something similar. Targeting that keyword phrase and variants of it can help improve your ranking among other local companies for related search terms with the “near me” tag. For example, if you are a roofing company, you’ll want to zero in on terms like “roof,” “roofer,” and “roofing,” paired with “near me” and “in such-and-such a city.”

By adding the right localised keywords and geo qualifiers such as your city, county, address, and post code, Google can pick up on your location and include your company in relevant “near me” searches.

David and Goliath

Being a small business owner always means playing David to Big Business’s Goliath. Local SEO has the potential to be the giant-slaying stone in your sling and keep your company competitive against corporate rivals.

Google’s algorithm treats every Google Ad buy and keyword search the same. With the right string of keywords and localised SEO practices, you can make sure your company ranks alongside big business’s in your area – or higher. Google AdWords, websites, and other online marketing measures are, on average, less expensive than traditional media.

Local SEO thus affords smaller businesses a greater return on their investment. Focus on the right keywords and understand how the localisation algorithms work, and you may be able to pull off an SEO David and Goliath story

Ranking on Google Maps

While organic and paid local SEO rankings are nice, you still want to put your small business on the map – Google Maps, that is. If people are looking for a restaurant, for example, they need to know where it is. If your restaurant isn’t one of the first listed and displayed on Google Maps, would-be customers may overlook your venue in favor of others.

Paid ads and Google Map rankings are both listed at the top of a Google search, meaning they are the first things people will see and thus your first and best chance at getting their attention. By some estimates, as many as 86% of people use Google Maps to find a local business. If you’re a small business, using smart local SEO strategies to bolster your Google Maps ranking is essential.

Some steps you can take to improve your Google Maps Ranking include the following:

  •   Add Your Google Business Info: In order to have your company come up in Google Maps searches, you need to add Google Business information. This includes your company’s name, address, phone number, and working hours. You’ll also want to add photos. Remember, this will be the first impression customers have of your company, so you’ll want to make sure it’s a good one with crisp, high-definition pictures. Finally, embed positive reviews so they pop up alongside your information and pictures in searches.
  •   Embed Your Location: Using Google Maps Embed API, you can include a street view of your business and the surrounding area. This can give users a better idea of where your company is, making it that much easier for them to find you.

●   Optimize Your Landing Page: Google’s algorithm looks for things on your landing page which match search terms
– including locations. To optimize your local SEO and Google Maps game, you should make sure your landing page
includes both the service you offer (e.g. “plumbing,” “pub,” “roofing,” “Chinese restaurant,” etc.) and where you offer

Include Citations

Nothing is more important in business – both online and in real life – than legitimacy, transparency, and trust. SEO citations from other sites ascertaining that your company’s listing is real can help. Citations function as a sort of online business directory and involve your business’s NAP (name, address, and phone). You should post this information on any third-party site where you post about your business, and then cite that listing on your main page to provide two-way legitimacy. Popular sites on which to list your business include Facebook, Yelp,, Yellow Pages, and Angie’s List.

Location-Centric Content

In recent years, Google has gotten away from merely honing in on keywords, instead crafting its algorithm to take a website’s content into account. You thus want to make sure that the content you feature most prominently on your site is local SEO-friendly.

Create locally focused, useful content (blog posts, podcasts, videos etc.) and distribute it on diversified channels that cater to a local audience. For example, you can take advantage of local events in your area, create content which ties in with them, and post them on your site. The combination of the location and event will help your site rank higher among people searching for those terms, giving you free added exposure. Besides that local SEO, enmeshing your company within the community is just a good old-fashioned way of getting positive word of mouth, which can itself result in more visits to your site and thus an organically higher search ranking over time.

Similarly, you can see about having your company or restaurant featured by a local influencer. Never underestimate the power of Instagram. Positive buzz and pictures from an influencer in the area can be great free press.

Guest posts are another great way to spread the word. For one thing, it’s an excellent way to generate buzz by having someone else promote your site. Just as valuable are the backlinks to your site that these guest posts provide. Backlinks represent yet another way for traffic to be directed back to your site.

Simply post intriguing content and hyperlink the pertinent part with backlinks, thereby allowing readers who are interested the opportunity to visit your site.

Not only do backlinks make it that much more convenient for traffic to be directed back to your site, but Google’s algorithm increasingly prioritizes backlinks. Articles with many backlinks and links to other external sources, as the thinking goes, are better-sourced and better-connected within the greater online conversation and community.

Online, as in the business world and everywhere else in life, connections are essential, and backlinks are a great way to make those connections tangible and SEO-friendly.

To up your local SEO game even more, try to backlink to companies and influencers who are located in the same area as you, thereby making your location all the more clear to Google’s algorithm.

Up Your Local Social Media Game

SEO and social media work hand in hand, and that’s true for local SEO as well. In fact, local SEO and social media are a major potential advantage that you have over bigger companies. Corporations such as Walmart, Tesco, Starbucks, Costa, McDonalds, Wetherspoons, and other US and UK titans cannot enmesh themselves into local communities nearly as much as small businesses can. They have to look at the big picture, and thus their SEO and social media is typically directed on a more national than local scale.


For starters, you’ll want to tie your localized content into your social media posts. Maybe you’re a restaurant offering a special promotion. Maybe you’re a business sponsoring a local school or doing work in the community. Maybe you’re proud to take part in some other local celebration or function.

For starters, you’ll want to tie your localized content into your social media posts. Maybe you’re a restaurant offering a special promotion. Maybe you’re a business sponsoring a local school or doing work in the community. Maybe you’re proud to take part in some other local celebration or function.

Google My Business: Its Importance and How to Improve It

We live in an age where “Google It” is the go-to answer for most everyday questions. That trend holds true for checking the progress of your local SEO and Google Maps ranking. For all the helpful data your Google Analytics Dashboard and similar tools can offer, the best way to check your Google status is to Google your business and see for yourself.

Google My Business allows you to do just that. By logging on and using Google By Business, you’re given a user’s-eye view of what your online presence looks like to users who are actually doing the Googling and searching. This can give you a better idea of where your local SEO and social media game is strong and where you need to improve.

One of the biggest ways in which you can improve your GMB score is by establishing your “prominence” within the community. This is essentially a conflation of several of the local SEO methods listed above.

Advertising within your community, adding pictures of your restaurant and providing details to show precisely where your company is located—and thus how prominent that location is within a given borough or neighborhood—showing off social media posts and onsite blogs and videos which feature location-specific keywords content, and using backlinks from other sites related to your location and community—all these things can demonstrate to Google’s algorithm why your small business is a more prominent and engaged part of your community than the Walmarts and Tescos you’re competing against.

Then there’s the question of location, location, location. It’s the golden rule of real estate, and it’s important for improving your GMB score as well. Entering exactly where your company is located and how far away it is from other key parts of your area can help improve Google’s sense of where you fit in in the community, thus helping it make more informed recommendations.

For example, if someone searches for “Restaurants near Citi Field” or “Cafés near Royal Opera House,” giving Google your distance from those locations can help Google figure out where your outlet is located. This can help ensure that you are included in not just searches

for those areas, but for “Queens” or “Covent Garden,” the locations in which those landmarks are situated.

Stadiums, theatres, and other popular landmarks are hubs of activity, so the better you can establish to Google that you are “near” those sites, the greater your likelihood of being listed as such, and thus the greater your chance of getting the huge online and foot traffic which can follow from that.

In keeping with that, there’s one final tidbit worth mentioning: make your content smartphone-friendly. As much as 70% of web traffic is smartphone based, and 75% of users expect immediate mobile-friendly access. You need to make sure your content is easily accessible for those out on the town looking for immediate recommendations from Google.

And you can do just that by upping your local SEO, social media, and GMB game.

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