Local SEO for small business is one of the services that more often are requested to us. For this reason, we thought that a quick collection of the most updated tips may be of general use.

Local SEO for small business is Semantic

Let’s begin with the basics: there’s been a big change in the SEO technique in the recent past, for which search engine optimisation must not be done for keywords anymore, but for user intent and semantic search.

It all started when Google rolled out the new algorithm called RankBrain, an Artificial Intelligence which looks at the user intent, taking into consideration what they searched for before, which words they typed, how were they related to the ones they searched before, and so much more.

For example, some years ago people asked us questions like: “I’m a photographer, how can I rank for Photographers? because they heard that when users searched for “photographers“, they were in the so-called discovery mode, which was supposed to provide a higher CTR, while, instead, when they searched for “Photographer [+ location]” they probably had already one in their mind.

Trying to achieve the exact keyword match led even to grammatically incorrect forms, which would now really damage your website’s ranking after grammar became a ranking factor (you can read more about this in our article on the SEO copywriting best practices).

Now you don’t have to worry about the exact keyword match anymore because Google has become very good in detecting the UI (user intent) and UX (user experience) (to learn more, check Why is the User Experience one of the first SEO ranking factors).

However, if you want to try and target an exact keyword, like “Wedding Photographer in [City]“, you will have to use it in a real and natural meaning, writing a sentence like “when I worked as a wedding photographer in [City], I used this camera with these filters…”

Think of what’s the User Intent for each of your pages and provide resources to satisfy it. For example, there are so many “Testimonial” pages, but no user ever searches for “Photographer testimonials“. They search for “photographer reviews“, instead, and if you want to meet your user search intent, so you’d better call that page Reviews.

The whole concept of keywords is now better defined as entities. With the booming voice search, people definitely aren’t searching for things using head terms and keywords like robots. They ask their own questions loud in a very natural and question-based way. Optimising your blog posts for those long tail keywords and writing them in a way that answers the users questions (which generally start with a starting with a “How?”, “What?”, “Which?” “Where?” “When?” and all other interrogative pronouns) will let your pages rank and convert much more. If you want to try and find which questions do the users search for, related to some keywords (and get great blog post ideas out of it, as well), this is a great free tool to try https://answerthepublic.com/.

Reviews fuel your local SEO for small business

We would like to close today’s tips for your local SEO for small business reminding you of how vital Reviews are for your goals of ranking and converting through the web pages of your local business.

You may have already heard about the Zero Moment of Truth because it is not new, but it is so interesting that we just can’t avoid writing about it here.

According to Google’s marketing theory, there are several “Moments of Truth” in a customer journey:

  1. The First Moment of Truth (FMOT) is when a user finds a product.
  2. The Second Moment of Truth (SMOT) is when they buy it.
  3. The Third Moment of Truth (TMOT) is when they leave feedback or reaction.

The moment before actually finding the product has been called the Zero Moment of Truth (ZMOT). Try and determine: what would your prospective users do before finding you? What would they do when they search? How would they determine if yours is the right type of product or service for them?

Every user has a stimulus, which could be, in the example of the Photographer, expecting or just having had a baby, planning a wedding, etc.

zmot zero moment of truth local SEO for small business
Zero Moment of Truth (ZMOT)

Then, they will live their ZMOT in which they will be watching videos, asking their network, reading reviews, searching. Here are the reviews. Here’s their great importance.

“Watching videos” has the same great importance, so you can safely expect us to be writing about this very soon: if you are not using videos, you’re losing a 25% of the possible moments of meeting your users’ search intent when they are looking to hire a professional or buy a product/service.

Encourage all your customers to leave you a review. Reward them with a freebie, a discount or anything that can make your call-to-action effective. Remember that, according to Moz,

these are the ranking factors for the local search:

  1. My Business Signals (Proximity, categories, keyword in business title, etc.) 19%
  2. Link Signals (Inbound anchor text, linking domain authority, linking domain quantity, etc.) 17%
  3. On-Page Signals (Presence of NAP, keywords in titles, domain authority, etc.) 14%
  4. Citation Signals (IYP/aggregator NAP consistency, citation volume, etc.) 13%
  5. Review Signals (Review quantity, review velocity, review diversity, etc.) 13%
  6. Behavioural Signals (Click-through rate, mobile clicks to call, check-ins, etc.) 10%
  7. Personalization  10%
  8. Social Signals (Google engagement, Facebook engagement, Twitter engagement, etc.) 4%

These are some more search trends that will help you rank in local search:

  1. User Reviews
  2. Voice Search
  3. Local Listing
  4. Optimise your Google My Business Page
  5. Backlinks
  6. Content
  7. NAP (name, Address, Phone) Consistency
  8. CTR (Click-through-rate)
  9. Keywords
  10. Mobile-friendly website
  11. Personalisation
  12. Micro-moments

It is so evident, then, that you can’t neglect reviews: they will really fuel your local SEO for small business.

How to rank in Local Search and use local SEO for small business in 2019
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How to rank in Local Search and use local SEO for small business in 2019
Google My Business, On-Page semantic entities, Reviews and Social Signals: everything you need to know to use local SEO for small business.
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