Basic Local SEO Guide for NJ Small Business Websites
Local SEO

Written by: Jabari Thompson

A rising entrepreneur who started from freelance web design. Jabari works with NJ small businesses and nonprofits to increase their search presence.
Updated on: February 16, 2023

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).

NAP Optimization

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

Ahrefs, SEM Rush, Google Keyword Planner are all useful tools that show how difficult it may be to rank for a certain

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.

Mobile Friendliness

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

Rich Results 

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.


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