Importance of a having a Basic Local SEO Guide
As a growing small business in 2023, building a steady source of organic traffic to your website is crucial for building
brand awareness. SEO, search engine optimization is a long-term service that is performed on a website so that
Google is more likely to index, crawl, and rank a website for search terms that are relevant to your website’s content.
SEO is used to increase visitors to a website. There are several types of SEO, the most common used by business
owners are Traditional SEO and Local SEO. The first step in creating your basic local SEO guide is understanding the
difference between the two.
Explanation of how local SEO differs from traditional SEO
Getting the most out of your SEO campaign involves knowing the difference between Traditional SEO and Local
Traditional SEO is performed to get your website to show for search results about your content, product, or service
Local SEO is performed to get your website to show for search results about your content, product, or service AND
for people who are in your area
Brief overview of the importance of local SEO for small businesses
Local SEO gives small businesses the opportunity to still rank for valuable search terms without having to compete
with larger brand names. Generally speaking, local SEO is all about establishing an “online portfolio” for your
business within the local online community. Often, people are not searching directly for your website, but are
looking for your offerings. Having your online representation extend beyond your site through search engines is a
valuable asset for your small business.
Key Components of Local SEO
Let’s go over some main factors in improving your Local SEO!
Google My Business
A common Google feature associated with voice search is the Google Map Pack. One of the most common voice
searches are “Directions to nearest….” searches. Upon loading the results for these types of searches, often a map
pack appears with local businesses relevant to the search. As a small business, part of being seen in these map
packs is creating a Google My Business profile (and having structured data).
In addition to having a GMB profile you want to make sure your NAP info is consistent. NAP stands for (Name,
Address, Phone). Your business name, business address, and business phone number should remain consistent on
the web. Maintaining consistent NAP, will make it easier for your business to be located and presented for voice
search results. In order to maintain consistency in NAP info across the web, you should perform monthly audits of
your local listings, backlinks, website content, and social media to check if the following is the same across the
- Business name, point of contact name(s), email address
- Phone Number
- Physical address (if applicable)
Local keyword research and optimization
Local keyword research involves identifying the most valuable keywords that people in your area and niche are
looking for. Some key tips for selecting local keywords include:
Using location-names in your keyword selection
Example: “Barber shop in Rahway NJ”
Use long-tailed keywords
Long tailed keywords are simply longer strings of keyword phrases such as the above example
Include your location-based keyword in your content, metadata (meta description and meta heading), in your alt
text, and in any other appropriate media
Use a keyword tool
keyword. You can use these tools to determine the volume (amount of people searching for the local keyword),
competition (ranking difficulty), and other SEO KPIs that will assist your local keyword strategies.
Customer reviews and ratings
Your online reputation is heavily influenced by what people say about your business on Google and other search
engines. Meaning, having an element on your website that allows users to easily leave reviews is a MUST. Users
should be able to leave reviews on your website AND on Google. In addition, you can use structured data to qualify
for certain customer review Rich Results. A new structured data element that recently came out for reviews, is the
“Pros and Cons” structured data feature. This feature allows for people to view the positive and negative features of
a product through posted website reviews. Google also has a main structured data feature “Review Snippets”
allowing small businesses to display Rich Result snippets of customer ratings and reviews.
In 2023, your small business clients/customers are most likely on their phones 24/8! Optimizing your website for
mobile responsiveness and voice search will allow your business to appear in Google Map packs and other mobile
Backlinks and Citations
Finding relevant and authoritative business directories and websites that will/can list your business
Often you may be able to find local directories/websites that cover news, make content, or in your niche AND local
Area. These website’s can be prime candidates for backlinks. Remember to make sure that the local website you are
looking to get a backlink from has authority and can be trusted.
Writing useful content
Creating content that users in your niche find useful increases your chances of building backlinks. Other websites
want to link to a site that demonstrates some sort of credibility and gives good answers to user’s searches. Make
your content with a “user-first” intent as your main audience should always be your niche subjects and NOT search
engines. Also be sure to follow and understand Google’s E-E-A-T criteria in making content. This way you can be
sure that both your website and the site you are receiving a backlink from will benefit your local SEO.
Use social media
The first and easiest source of backlinks/citations is your business social media accounts. Business NAP info should
be included in your social profile for every social media account. Additionally, you can include your website link
within your social profile bio to establish initial backlinks.
Recap: Basic Local SEO for your NJ Small Business
Small business websites should always have a Local SEO strategy in place to ensure the best organic search results.
Be sure to implement your Local SEO strategy throughout your site content. Your On Page SEO should include local
keywords and have proper NAP info. You also need to manage your technical SEO to make sure your website is fully
responsive, has internal and external links (backlinks). As your local SEO improves you will see opportunities for
backlinks and customer reviews increase. Now that you have a basic guide, check out your small business website
and see how you can improve your local SEO strategy.