5 Local SEO Strategies for Small Business and Small Budgets


Local Seo

If you own a business that has a physical address, local SEO strategy is absolutely imperative. It’s important not only for improving your Google search engine results but also for making sure your business shows up when local customers perform searches on the go.

Local Matters Because Mobile Matters

If you’re wondering why this is important, then conduct a personal experiment. Next time you’re in a public place, glance around to see what everyone is doing. It’s a safe bet to say that you’ll observe at least a few people glued to their phones. In fact, you may notice that a lot of people have their noses in their phones — more so than even just a few years ago.

That’s because mobile usage is on a trajectory to take over the digital world.

Since just 2014, all growth in digital media usage has been in smartphone usage, while growth in desktop usage began to decrease in 2016. As a result, beginning February 2017, almost half of all internet traffic in the world takes place on mobile(1).

That’s a lot of mobile traffic! Now consider this: much of it is generated by people looking for services in their local area. Now you see why forming a strategy for being found by these on-the-go searchers is crucial. Ignore local SEO at your peril!

Google My Business Posts

Before we get into some strategies for your small business, it’s important to pinpoint exactly what it means to optimize for local SEO.

Local SEO vs. Global SEO

Maybe you’ve been devoting resources to SEO for a while now and you’re wondering what the difference is between that and ‘local SEO’. There are similarities of course: both aim to get your brand seen by internet users when they perform searches.

The difference is that local SEO revolves around the physical location of your business. Traditional SEO revolves around your website.

So, what does that mean, as far as strategy goes?

It means that geography matters. Therefore, building location-based signals into your website should help your business get noticed by people in your area. The result: more traffic and hopefully, if you’ve targeted the right audience, more customers.

The good news is, local SEO doesn’t have to cost a lot. Here are some strategies for small business owners who want to get started but who don’t have a large marketing budget.

  1. Ensure Consistent NAP

First, get the basics right. If your contact information isn’t consistent across the various internet directories and other external sites, then everything else you do will have less effect. In fact, if your NAP data isn’t consistent, you will not rank well in the local SERPs.


NAP stands for ‘name, address, phone’. Like it or not, your brick-and-mortar business already exists in online directories like Yellow Pages, Yelp, and CitySearch. These sites inhale business data from publicly-available databases to create listings for their directories.

These ‘mentions’ of your business across the Web are called citations. 

If any of your basic contact info is incorrect, that presents a problem. NAP data is used in Google’s algorithms for local search. What they’re looking for is reliability. When there are inconsistencies, the algorithm downgrades your listing because it either figures it’s looking at two different businesses, or you’re not tending to your affairs and don’t care about your business. Google doesn’t want to serve up bad info to its users, so those inconsistencies will hurt you.

Either way, its’ a mistake to let those NAP errors live on the Internet. Claim your directory listings. Then, contact the source of any error and get them to fix it right away. It could be your state’s list of registered corporations, it could be the DMV, it could be any number of database sources.

  1. Incorporate Local Content

Let’s stay on the topic of NAP for a second longer. It’s important to be sure the content and meta content of your website is easily matched to the NAP data that’s out there on the directories.

That is, make sure your site includes the following:

  1. The NAP data of your business in content as text, not just in graphics
  2. The location of your business in title tags
  3. Not just city name but names of surrounding markets*
  4. Terms like ‘downtown’
  5. Pages for each city or location if your business has branches in other areas

 3.Manage Your Reviews

Local SEO Reviews

The days of customer-generated content are upon us. Sites like TripAdvisor, Yelp, and social media sites have made it possible for users to give their opinion of every business they buy from.

And people listen.

Negative reviews can deter people like nothing else. This is the number one reason why businesses, both small and large, pay close attention to customer service. Let’s say you’re a florist. One Tweet about how late you were with some deliveries, or how you bungled the message card on a Mother’s Day arrangement that was bought over the internet, and you will lose customers.

Reviews are so important that many business owners are tempted to buy fake positive reviews. This is never a good idea because it eventually will turn out that they get discovered as fakes. Google always has its ways.

Don’t offer incentives for good reviews, either. You may run into FTC issues.

The best way to get good reviews is to ask for them. When customers come in the shop and they seem pleased, don’t be shy about asking for a review. If you send an email newsletter, make it easy for people to leave a review by including a link. Do the same on your website.

  1. Maintain Fresh Content

You know good content is important. Did you know it’s also crucial to keep adding to your website? Again, since Google’s interests lie in serving up highly relevant results, it looks for websites whose pages are updated frequently. Keep blogging and keep tweaking to show that there’s someone behind the wheel.

  1. Keep Up on Regular SEO

As you focus on your local SEO strategy, don’t let regular old traditional SEO fall by the wayside. Keep up on gathering more backlinks as well as the continually fresh content mentioned above. Local SEO performance is now linked to overall SEO performance, so ignoring one approach will negatively impact the other. This is especially true on Google Maps in addition to local SEO results.

A Final Word

As you can see, there are lots of techniques for you to try in order to improve your traffic from local SEO searches. As much as it looks as though you can win at local SEO, however, there are still some factors which you can’t control.

For instance, you won’t be able to control the location of the people who are searching for what your business provides. Someone located in Vancouver, for example, probably won’t see your website in the SERPS if you’re located in Toronto (unless, of course, your regular SEO is phenomenal).

Nevertheless, these five basic strategies alone should be enough to make a difference in the traffic you see from here on out. You have your work cut out for you. Good luck!