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While there is no shortage of “how to do SEO” guides, many seem to be tailored to the needs of large (mainly online) businesses. They will almost inevitably emphasize the importance of tons of content marketing as well as extensive link building, but the problem is that the type of technical SEO they usually recommend often requires deep pockets.
Small businesses have different priorities and smaller footprints when it comes to the clicks they need. Their growth goal may be to rank higher locally, attract more foot traffic, or simply get more reviews on Google. None of these require overly ambitious strategies, and rest assured. A little more traffic can make a world of difference.
A few conservative but proven effective SEO strategies:
Drive traffic through geo-specific keywords
You don’t need an international reach as a local retailer. In fact, you can settle for ranking high in a particular city, county, or state. And that’s good, because targeting SEO keywords locally is often a less competitive task than trying to beat out larger companies.
Here’s an example: The keyword(s) “women’s boots” has millions of searches per month, but has a Keyword Difficulty (KD) of 64% (a metric defined by Simgeweb as “a metric that predicts how difficult it will be to target”). term. organically ranking high on Google for a given keyword”). Comparatively, the keyword(s) “shoe stores san francisco” accounts for a small fraction of that search volume, but has a KD of 39%. The second key not only is the word more appropriate for a local shoe store, but it’s also less competitive than trying to rank for “women’s shoes,” which are monopolized by online retailers like DSW, Famous Footwear, and Nordstrom.
You can use keyword research tools like SEMrush (the free version is good for early SEO efforts) to identify keywords both related to your products/services and geo-specific. Look for search volume (over 100 searches) but medium (50%) and low (below 30%) KD. Then, use these keywords on product, service and/or landing pages throughout your website.
Also remember to follow SEO best practices for incorporating keywords into your content, such as adding keywords to page titles, page descriptions, titles, and body content.
Related: How to Use Keyword Difficulty in Your Content Strategy
Attract local search customers
Another way to get more views and clicks is to optimize your local directory listings. The most effective of these are Google Business Profile, Bing Places for Business, Yelp and Real Yellow Pages. When a user searches for local businesses, products or services, they will likely come across one (if not all) of these.
There are also ways to improve the ranking of such online listings. One is to ensure everyone is updated frequently with the correct business name, category, hours of operation, contact information and website link. Search engine algorithms will see this information consistently, increasing your chances of ranking well, making the business more accessible to interested buyers.
Positive reviews also play a role in local visibility, so ask customers to leave a review on Google after a purchase. Five-star reviews build trust with potential buyers and also influence its algorithm.
Related: 5 Ways SEO Can Help Your Mom & Pop Business Grow
Host local sales events or pop-ups
A common misconception when it comes to local business marketing is that it’s all about attracting the interest of active buyers, but not all customers start out with purchase intent. Sometimes they’re just surfing the web and stumble across a social media post, customer review, or recommendation from a friend about your business.
We call these “upstream” customers. To attract them, you must first provide exposure to your business, and that’s where local events come in.
You can advertise pop-ups, sales events, or classes, then sell them locally on your social media network, in city-specific Facebook groups, with posters, or even a sandwich board. It is also a great idea to generate momentum for them online. For example, you can target keywords like “pop-up”. [city]” or “winter shopping [city]” For SEO to do its job and drive local traffic.
Related: Increase your website traffic with these 10 SEO strategies
Use search-based social platforms
Google isn’t the only platform in town. Social media outlets like LinkedIn, YouTube, TikTok, and Pinterest also use search algorithms to connect users with businesses.
For example, many users turn to Pinterest for fashion inspiration or to find unique products. Its algorithm learns from users’ search histories which species are of interest and which areas the searches come from. Local retailers can take advantage of this by using geo-specific keywords in their Pins, such as “New York Fashion Inspo,” “Seattle style,” “what to do in Denver, CO,” etc.
Similarly, users can use YouTube to discover product reviews, learn about local sites, plan a trip, and view tutorials. Local retailers can increase organic traffic by creating videos like “X favorite places to shop in DC,” “Local stores you must see in NYC,” or “Don’t miss these must-see pop-ups.” Portland.” Be sure to research strategies for each platform, as content types and approaches may differ. For example, hashtags work well on Pinterest, but less so on YouTube. The idea is to create posts, videos, or articles that are of interest to local buyers. .
Related: Best Times, Days and Months to Stream on YouTube
SEO at the local level can certainly benefit more modestly sized retail operations and is often more effective (and less difficult) than generating national search interest. It might just be a few clicks, a little more foot traffic, and a few extra website visits indeed change things.
It’s definitely an ever-evolving field, so make a habit of checking online resources like I Love SEO to keep up with algorithm updates, industry trends, and changes in search engine regulations.