5 Local SEO Tips for Small Businesses in 2021

Check our guide on the top 5 local SEO strategies and quick wins for local businesses 

Local SEO for 2021 brings more challenges

The game of search engine optimization is becoming more challenging with every year. SEO is ever-changing and Google’s algorithms continue to evolve and become better at providing the most relevant local results to any given search query. When potential customers are looking for a local small business, Google takes a look at a number of different local SEO ranking factors. At Flamingo Agency, we specialize in affordable local SEO services in Chicago. Our consultants have discovered through trial and error which local SEO strategies and tactics move the needle in terms of rising in the local pack.

1. Optimize your Google My Business (GMB) listing

Google My Business listing remains to be the most impactful local SEO factor. It’s extremely important to log into the dashboard on a regular basis and write new posts, upload business pictures, add new offers and check to see if there are more new GMB features or updated attributes that you can add to your listing. 

The key theme with GMB is activity. Google likes to see if local business owners are active in terms of checking in on their online business management. They want to see whether they are replying to messages and adding new updates.

On the contrary, those that neglect their listings and barely update anything can expect a slight drop in local search results.

On February 9th, 2021 Google added a new feature where companies can add an official opening date so that customers can get an idea of how long they have been in business. While no one really  knows whether adding this type of information can impact the local ranking in any way, we can take a good guess that proving activity can slightly improve the chances.

When was the last time you checked your competitor’s GMB profiles and saw what they are up to in terms of their profile optimization? It’s a great idea to check in every few weeks on your top competitors’ Google My Business listings.

 

2. Get more fresh Google reviews

Everyone knows that collecting positive reviews is important, many customers like to read ratings before reaching out to local businesses. While many business owners know that a high number of Google reviews corresponds to higher local rankings, not many know that freshness of reviews is also a ranking factor. It’s great when users find your business on Google Maps and see plenty of five star reviews. But what is more important is to be collecting those ratings on a regular basis. 

Encourage your customers to provide reviews after every experience. Not everyone will know how to do it. Make it easy for them, there is a way to make the process for them very smoothLog in to your Google My Business profile and look for the “get more reviews” tab. Click on the button “share review form”. Copy the link and send it to your clients. Make it as easy as possible for them.

3. Improve on-page SEO for your location landing pages

When it comes to local digital marketing for small businesses, the landing page that is connected with the Google listing plays a very important role. Here are the top site issues that impact on-page SEO:

Make sure page loads fast on mobile devices

If a site is not mobile friendly in 2021, it might as well not exist! Google uses mobile first indexing which means that it only crawls mobile versions of websites. 

Title tags and meta description

Make sure your site’s title and meta description feature the location of the business. 

Keep your NAP information correct

NAP stands for name, address and phone number. Every business should feature the exact same NAP details on their website that are displayed on the Google listing connected to the site. The business address has to be 100% correct.

Review your copy and keyword research

It’s important to provide local and relevant content and ensure that your copy competes with your competitors. Quick tip: count the word count on your site and make sure it’s not less than the sites competing with you. Contact an SEO agency and request a keyword research audit of your site. Avoid duplicate content and overoptimized anchor text.

Improve page load time

Website speed is more important than ever before. Come May 2021 and the upcoming Google Update relating to Core Web Vitals, fast load time will become a ranking factor. If you want to score extra points in the new algo update, it’s a great idea to speed up your site and make sure it fully loads under 2 seconds.

4. Earn local backlinks

Building backlinks to your website is perhaps the most crucial search engine optimization strategy of all. Search engines value high quality backlinks from authority sites. Perhaps the best local citations are business directories or local chambers of commerce. Check out any local organizations in your city and inquire about joining them. Once you apply, you should receive a valuable local citation. 

5. Report GMB spam

What happens when you work hard to increase your online presence and provide the best SEO experience yet other companies are not playing by Google’s rules and are blatantly spamming and using black hat SEO techniques? The answer is simple. You report them using the business redressal form and chances are Google will remove their spammy listings.

Summary

There is traditional SEO, and then there’s Local SEO which is about providing the best customer experience for nearby potential customers looking for a local company. If you play by Google’s rules and satisfy the local intent, your listing has great chances of ranking locally and dominating your competition.