Limited opportunities to operate on a global or international scale have had a major impact on how small and medium enterprises handle their marketing. No chance to sell your product or services abroad means that you need to be extremely smart about how you target your local audience. Narrowing down your customer base to a single location might seem helpful, and it is to an extent. On a different level, it’s much more challenging to appear prominent when you’re dealing with a slew of new and bold competitors in that very same local market.
Whether you’re an ambitious mompreneur working ardently from home, or you’re running your own team of brilliant experts, you need to recognize the right localization tactics to set you apart. This is where SEO becomes one of your best allies in earning the search engine spotlight. You need to work with professionals or master the art of local SEO yourself, to implement the right strategies to give you more visibility this year. Here are a few to add to the list!
Handle your local directories right
Search engines don’t like inconsistencies. They are red flags that immediately say: “if this brand doesn’t know its own phone number, how can we trust it to actually help customers solve their problems?” Name, address, and phone number, or NAP for short is the kind of information your business needs to keep consistent across all business directories, your website and social media included.
- When your work hours are changing, check to see if all your listings offer the same hours after you’ve changed the information.
- Make sure that your contact details are accurate across the web. Auditing your business listings is one way to make sure all the information about your brand is correct.
- Make sure your brand name is written in the same way everywhere – changing the order of things or even a spelling mistake can register as an inconsistency.
Being able to verify that you exist and that customers can indeed find your, let’s say, New York café, means that Google will be far more likely to send customers your way when they search for your products or services.
Learn about your local demographic
How well do you know your Sydney customers? Do you know how to convey your core brand messages to your London buyers? Localization is an intricate process, but when you’re thinking in terms of SEO, it’s even more complex than you’d assume. Unlike following general, global trends, local SEO thrives on spotting small-scale changes in local customer behavior.
That’s why ongoing research and analytics are the core of your local SEO success. Whether you work with an expert in SEO or you do it yourself, be sure to keep track of your website’s performance, audience interests, emerging trends in your niche, and start adapting your strategy accordingly.
Local content to boost your ranking
In well-developed regions like Australia, where small businesses take up around 97% of all businesses, you need an ongoing SEO strategy that will allow your business to stand out in such a densely populated market. A Sydney-based business should, with that in mind, focus on creating content that is relevant to its Sydney customers. Regular content creation is a vital component for a successful Sydney SEO strategy, in addition to white-hat link-building and working with Sydney-based bloggers.
Developing close bonds with your local audience can only happen with well-optimized blog posts, a healthy link portfolio, and a strong reputation you portray through all your content. Be sure to regularly analyze your backlinks, create a content schedule that’s appealing for your demographic, and work with local influencers.
Don’t forget your site’s performance
Technical SEO is an important component of elevating your local ranking. If your company has a website competing with hundreds of other beauty salons in Washington or Melbourne, you cannot afford to leave your site loading too slowly or poorly on mobile devices. Your site’s performance is a determining factor for your SEO strategy in 2021, so make sure to have an expert keep your site in check.
- Run regular website audits to spot performance issues that need immediate attention.
- Update all your site’s plugins regularly to elevate security and performance.
- Speed tests and mobile optimization are a must.
- Pay attention to details such as meta descriptions and image optimization, too.
- Voice search optimization and similar trends should be in your SEO strategy, as well.
What are your competitors doing better?
Learning about your audience is one step of the process, but there’s so much you can pick up from a neighboring Seattle pet groomer or language tutor. Small businesses need to learn from each other, and that includes your SEO best practices.
Keep an eye on what your competitors are doing, especially those in your location and your niche that are doing significantly or notably better than you. You can then pick up on what your local audience responds to the best and implement the tactics yourself.
Your SEO strategy isn’t just a set of locally recognized practices that you know will work, so you stick to them religiously. It’s an evolving concept based on what search engines and customers consider relevant, and by keeping track of those changes, you’ll be able to adapt quickly.
Whether you’ve been forced to localize your business during the pandemic or you’ve always had a small, local company, this set of methods is right up your SEO alley to help you rank higher and gain more visibility in your market. Build upon them over time, and you’ll let your brand grow in relevance, even if you decide to stay small and local.