One of the biggest challenges for small, local businesses are connecting to niche audiences without the luxury of a massive marketing budget. The good news is this is far from impossible. In many cases, a killer strategy can trump a deep pocketbook. Perhaps the strongest weapons for this “David versus Goliath” situation are local SEO tactics.
46% of all Google searches are conducted with local intent, often incorporating the phrase “near me” to locate businesses and services within the immediate area of the consumer. It is imperative that small local companies capitalize on these opportunities – but once again, small budgets often set limitations on these strategies.
In order for SMBs to get more “bang for their buck” with local SEO, it is a smart and strategic move to take advantage of certain events and occasions where they can gain the most visibility. Jumping on these ‘micro-moments’ can be extremely effective for boosting conversions and website traffic because it provides consumers with the exact information they need at the perfect time.
When it comes to “in-the-moment” purchases and searches, 90% of consumers state they are not set on any specific brand, and 33% will purchase from a new business if they provide the information they are seeking. So, if small businesses are focusing the majority of their SEO efforts and budgets during peak search times and seasons, they can expect to see the greatest returns.
Nearly every small niche business can utilize this approach in various ways to reach their targeted audiences, but the strategies they should use vary widely and are dependent on numerous factors.
In this day and age, SEO is a key aspect of running a local business. This post will give you some good tactics to help your site pop up in area-specific searches. Let’s break it down by explaining some possible scenarios for common small business niches.
1. Local SEO for Lawyers
Small legal offices often face incredibly fierce competition. Many still abide by old-fashioned advertising tactics like billboards, radio ads, and TV commercials. However, practically timed local SEO can be extremely useful for attorneys and legal practices.
Many law offices miss the boat on smart SEO practices simply because they don’t understand the incredible value of a strong local strategy. Considering the fact that consumers tend to check out the business that answers their questions the best, law offices’ local search presence needs to be on point with common queries.
As an attorney’s office, it can be tough to capture a good first impression with advertising alone. Some do this through notoriety and humor (Better Call Saul!), while others prefer to focus on offering smart, insightful information.
In addition to finding an SEO-charged content strategy that fits the target audience, law offices must be strategic with the timing and visibility of their posts depending on certain variables.
For instance, say that your law office specializes in divorce cases. Interestingly enough, a study from Washington State University found that divorce filings reach their peaks in March and August. If you look at the chart, you can see that the numbers tend to spike during the warmer months and start to steadily decline once summer ends.
Therefore, it would be wise for divorce lawyers to ramp up their locally-geared content creation or PPC advertising during these months to increase their visibility – as potential clients are searching for assistance.
A smart move here is to hone in on niche-specific website content, particularly during these busy months to increase search presence.
Start by doing some keyword research examining the lower performing long-tail keywords related to your industry, or opt for some keyword tools to help discover ones to include in your arsenal.
Using the divorce lawyer example, let’s see what kinds of keywords come up in San Diego – courtesy of Ubersuggest.
These keywords should be incorporated into the on-site content creation process – especially leading up to the peak times of the year.
As you create more keyword-friendly content and begin to build up credibility in the eyes of Google, your site will stand a better chance of ranking highly on niche searches during the busy times of the year.
2. Local SEO for Dentists
Most people don’t want to travel too far to see their dentist. That said, many visits for dental offices are a result of local searches. Chances are that local competition for these services can be quite high, especially if your office is located in a larger city. Therefore, your local SEO game will need to be on point and provide your patients with the exact information they need to make a decision.
Most people only want the best of the best when it comes to their health, so they will often rely on review sites to find a dentist with a good reputation and high ratings. Therefore, you want to be sure that your office’s name is popping up on the SERPs as well as review sites. Review signals make up 15% of the ranking factors that Google uses to determine a site’s position in the SERPs, so it’s extremely important for dentists (and all SMBs) to focus on this SEO tactic.
In order to increase these reviews, practices need to have a smart strategy to incentivize current patients to leave honest and helpful feedback. Some businesses will offer special discounts if a customer (or patient) leaves a review on sites like Yelp or submits a testimonial, so offering goodies like a free whitening service or 10% off their next cleaning could help you get things started.
In addition to reviews, medical practices should be capitalizing on micro-moments. This is where things can get a little bit tricky, considering that patients are typically advised to see their dentist every six months. In addition to sending out reminders to your current client list, one of the best ways for dental offices to make the most of specific moments is with their additional services.
For example, teeth whitening is often a popular procedure before big events like weddings or graduations. Graduations usually occur in May and June, which is also the beginning of wedding season, making it a prime time for dental offices to start promoting these services with local SEO.
One Pennsylvania dental office does a great job of promoting extra services through their specific micro-moment blog content. For instance, during Valentine’s day, they created a blog post about ways to make your mouth “extra kissable” for the romantic holiday.
In addition to offering generalized on-site content, be sure that you are also incorporating keywords that are relevant in the moment. Running an active blog is a great way to discuss current trends or other relevant topics that will lead local searchers to a website.
3. Local SEO for Fitness Gyms
Small gyms can benefit a lot from local SEO, especially during the most popular fitness seasons: New Years and Summer. The Google searches for “work out” and “lose weight” tend to skyrocket in December and January, with additional peaks during the summer before both the searches and the motivation start to wane off.
In order to capitalize on these trends, fitness gyms should amp up their content marketing around these popular searches by sharing quick tips or blog posts around these subjects.
Since health and fitness go hand-in-hand, it can also be useful for gyms to set themselves apart as leading experts by sharing informational pieces about trending diets and fitness programs.
You can see here how the London-based fitness center Pure Gym incorporates knowledge-based blog content to promote their services. Their blog features informational articles on everything health and fitness related, including breaking down popular diets, explaining various exercises, and of course, offering advice for weight loss and muscle gain.
Keep an eye on the latest trending searches for content inspiration. For instance, the number of online searches for the phrase “keto diet” has increased tremendously over the past five years.
Many people will be searching for advice and information on this trendy diet – but the only way that people can truly lose weight is by combining the food plan with a fitness routine.
Local gyms should keep a close eye on popular trends related to their industry and create content that offers explanations and useful tips from certified health experts.
4. Local SEO for Home Renovation Services
When it comes to establishing an SEO strategy for home renovation services, a local presence is crucial. It would be a waste of time for home renovation businesses and contractors to pursue potential clients only to find out that they are located too far away to logistically make sense. So, these types of local services should be sure that all of the important location information is properly listed on Facebook profiles and Google My Business pages.
The majority of homeowners will start their renovation projects in the spring for several reasons.
- Lots of people are putting their tax returns straight to work by investing in these upgrades.
- The weather is typically the most stable and optimal for outdoor work during the spring months.
- If the winter was particularly rough, spring will reveal the damage. Projects like roofing repair and foundation cracks will become apparent once the weather is warm enough.
- Many people want to get their homes in tip-top shape for upcoming summer BBQs and pool parties.
However, there are other months when specific projects are more popular, presenting an opportunity for home services.
According to research from the Washington Post, springtime is focused on repair and restoration work. On the other hand, summertime is when many homeowners will start looking for repairs that will make their home more energy efficient as they are running the AC. Window replacement and HVAC and central AC installation are going to boom during this time.
Fall is all about winter preparation, so home renovation projects like exterior and interior painting, sealing up doors and windows, and cleaning the chimneys should be handled before the cold sets in.
This presents a great opportunity for local SEO through seasonal content marketing. Home renovation services should focus their SEO efforts on sharing content related to these projects during the seasons when customers are most likely to search for them. For instance, take a look at the yearly trend for the search “chimney repair near me.” Searches are quite low in the summer and winter months, but start to steadily peak in the fall.
Local home renovation companies should pay close attention to the trends and situations that are unique to their communities.
Certain weather patterns such as heavy rains, extreme temperatures, or strong storms could mean that more homeowners are looking for renovation and repair services for prevention or restoration. Many local restoration services offer informational pieces of locally-geared content to help homeowners prepare for inclement weather, or provide information on what needs to be fixed once the damage has been done.
If there is a change in the housing market, it could open up more opportunities and demand, too. Sellers may want to make some investments to increase their home’s value while new buyers may be interested in adding additions or renovating kitchens and bathrooms in their new home.
5. Local SEO for Restaurants
The most popular “near me” search that takes place on mobile devices is for places to eat. In fact, one study found that 86% of searches that included this phrase were specifically for restaurants. It is important to note here that 69% of these localized phrases were most likely to result in a click on one of the first three search results. Therefore, restaurants need to have a strong local SEO strategy in order to top the SERPs and boost their visibility for “near me” searches.
Generally, these searches will be made either by people who are not familiar with the area or as spontaneous searches when a person is hungry and looking for the best option nearby. Therefore, local restaurants should pay close attention to the times of the year when tourism spikes and people will be searching for places to eat.
The most important thing for restaurants to focus on is schema. The schema markup is the way that coding on your website is designed and it is what Google uses to create rich snippets and features on the SERPs.
It is extremely important that your website’s schema is properly formulated so that Google can easily find key information that searches will need, like the hours of operation and the exact location. Always be sure to update this if anything changes, such as when the kitchen is closed for a special holiday or if an event is occurring – like a restaurant week special, Mother’s Day brunch, or New Year’s Eve party.
Notice too that the top three Google results contain a short description of the type of food that is served and the overall environment of the restaurant.
This information needs to be included in your schema and should also be added on your Google My Business profile.
6. Local SEO for Pet Stores
Boutique pet shops, grooming services, and supply stores often find it hard to compete against national chains. Therefore, it is super critical that they use their local SEO strategically in order to grab the attention of local clients and explain their unique benefits in a clear way.
People need pet food and supplies year-round, but there are specific times of the year when various products will become more popular. During the hot summer months, more people will be searching for local dog groomers for trims and baths – for instance. Many puppies and kittens are also born during the springtime, so there will be a peak in newborn pet supplies around this time.
Local pet stores are wise to partner with other animal-related events that are happening in the community. If the pet shelter is having a fundraiser or adoption event, it would be a good idea to ramp up the local SEO content and create events on their GMB profile – as new pet-owners will be looking for toys, collars, food, and pet beds. In order to promote these events, pet stores need to use their Google listing so that the event is shown on the SERPs when customers are searching for pet supply stores.
Micro-moment SEO is a smart practice for smaller companies that want to be strategic with their marketing spend. It means that a company can be more visible during peak seasons or around specific events and searches – therefore funneling in more qualified local leads during the time when the competition is even higher.
Local business SEO is very specific to each company’s audience and industry. Therefore, these creative tactics will vary from niche-to-niche. However, the same basic rules apply to every business:
- Know the audience and research the types of queries they are conducting when looking for the business or service.
- Keep all business information regarding location, hours of operation, and contact numbers updated and properly formatted, particularly on sites like Yelp and Google My Business.
- Find out about local community events, holidays, or trends that influence consumer behavior.
- Connect local search trends with content creation by incorporating important keywords and creating relevant pieces to draw people in.
- Monitor results and determine which strategies (and times of the year) typically bring in the best results.
It’s a tough world out there for small local businesses – but using a more calculated approach to local SEO can make things a little bit better. How can you use these tips to improve local SEO efforts?