Local SEO: Simple Local SEO Guide For Startups Looking To Fuel Growth In The First Year

Did you know that 14% of startups have to shut their doors due to poor marketing? And that 19% fail because they couldn’t keep up with the competition?[1] Sadly, it’s true. 

While SEO isn’t the “overnight success” path, it does have both short-term and long-term payoffs. Hubspot reports that after searching online, 72% of consumers visited a local business within five miles of their location.[2]  

If you’re a local business, how do you avoid being in that failed 145 or 19%, and share in the wealth of the 72%? One solid and proven strategy is to optimize for local SEO to fuel your growth. 

Local SEO strategies ensure that your customers know you exist as well as easily understand what you offer. Let’s dive into what that could look like!

Local Search Engine Optimization Channels

You may not know it, but your business is probably already listed in multiple directories throughout your community. Leverage and control this visibility by ensuring all information is up to date. 

This will serve to improve your level of local market saturation by telling the algorithm that your data is consistent across multiple channels. Your website credibility will improve and your rankings will benefit. 

Check for listings with your local chamber of commerce, local business networking organizations, news organizations, or community groups to ensure the right information is in the hands of the right people. Don’t forget online forums and apps such as:

  • Facebook and Instagram
  • Nextdoor
  • Apple Maps
  • Yelp
  • Angi
  • Houzz 
  • Trip Advisor

Google My Business

One particularly rewarding listing is your business listing on Google My Business. Claim your listing and edit the information to communicate what you want your target customers to know. 

When serving local results, Google will show the top three or four businesses that are a potential match for the initial search. The data listed is the business name, the reviews, and stars, category, address, phone number, hours, as well as a link to your website and driving directions. 

This is everything a potential customer would need to know before walking through your doors or browsing your website. You want this listing to work for you by being as accurate and optimized as possible. 

And here’s why: Google compiles these top results not from your website but from your Google My Business profile. If you haven’t claimed yours or you haven’t ensured it’s optimized, you may not show up at all. 

Once that’s done, here are the three elements Google uses to choose who they will serve as the top results[3]:

  • Accuracy and relevance to the search
  • Physical proximity to the searcher
  • Reputation and online credibility

Comprehensive Search Engine Optimization

You’re most likely to be familiar with the three primary elements of search engine optimization:

  • On-Page SEO (infused keywords and phrases)
  • Off-Page SEO (authority boosting references and connections)
  • Technical SEO (code-driven and bot-facing SEO elements)

Let’s look at each and learn how to best leverage them to boost online rankings and traffic.

On-Page SEO

On-Page SEO refers to the words on each page of your website. Service descriptions, product descriptions, FAQs, your about page, and all the rest should contribute keyphrase-focused content to show the algorithm you’re a good match for the search. 

Local Keyword Strategies

If you were to use “home decor” as a search term, the results would be dominated by massive brands such as Bed, Bath, and Beyond, Wayfair, and At Home. However, Works. Whereas “home decor in San Francisco”, will result in vastly different shops that will be much more relevant to anyone conducting a local search. 

Local brands must leverage a strong local SEO strategy to be counted in the second category. Conduct detailed local SEO keyword research to learn how your local customer base searches for the items and services you sell. 

Off-Page SEO

Build your online thought leadership presences and credibility by focusing on online digital PR and partnering with other vendors and industry experts on content and resources. These partnerships will generate links to shared content and prove to Google that you’re a reliable source. 

Technical SEO

These are the programming and technical elements of your website that can either enhance or crash your customer experience. And Google wants to serve a positive user experience! 

Issues such as page load speeds, ease of navigation, link quality, and site organization all contribute to your SEO credibility. Keywords should also be infused into the coded elements of your website, such as metadata, page titles, and image descriptions. 

Each element has its place in your marketing strategy, but they all work best when they complement one another. Just adding keywords to your website isn’t enough to tell the search engines that you’re a reliable source. They also want to see online references and a high-performing website.

Local SEO

Visibility is the key to surviving and thriving as a local business. Search engine optimization can be the local business’s genie in a bottle, but only if you leverage it properly! 





 Author Bio

Jason Khoo started freelancing in SEO back in college, sold his first agency, and now is founder of Zupo, which is an Orange County-based SEO consulting agency helping construct powerful long-term SEO strategies for our clients. Jason also enjoys multiple cups of tea a day, hiding away on weekends, catching up on reading, and rewatching The Simpsons for the 20th time.

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