How is Small Business SEO Relevant in the Light of the Recent Changes to Organic Searches?Small Business SEO Icon

Small Business SEO is all about search engine optimisation for the local business. With many of the recent changes that Google has brought into effect, it would appear that the larger search engines, especially Google are trying to group search results around a specific geographical location, thereby making it easier for the consumer to compare the results and make an informed decision about the business that is best for their requirements. This is especially apparent in the area of Google’s organic search results which now displays both local and organic results on the same page.
Three of the most important areas for Small Business SEO are as follows:

  1. Google Places listing – your local business profile
  2. Citations – references on other sites as to who you are
  3. Customer Reviews – how your customers see you

Google Places Listings – your online business profile

Google Places SearchThe first stage of Small Business SEO centres around Google Maps and is concerned with creating a full profile for your local business. The first thing to emphasise is that for their Places page Google is essentially concerned about factors that tie you to a specific geographical locality i.e. your address and local phone number. Therefore, it is extremely important that all of this information is consistent, both in format and detail; this is especially important when it comes to citations. The second factor that is often over-looked by Small Business SEO companies but plays a major role in your final ranking, is to provide as much information as Google will allow; reviews, photos, videos, coupons etc. If you visit many of the top Google Places listings you will find that many are only half completed, which means that it shouldn’t be too hard to rank above these sites, simply by providing Google with a complete business profile. Like with organic searches, Google has created a system that seeks to provide the searcher with the most relevant search result for their query. From a Small Business SEO perspective this means creating listings that appear to have the most activity associated with them and for Google Places, presenting businesses that seem to be most popular.

 

Citations, Citations – online business references

A citation is really nothing more than a mention of your business on another site on the internet. The only difference is that, as with all small business SEO techniques, these are specific detailed references that are created on key sites, in order to reinforce the information already supplied through Google Places and, if this is done correctly, to provide a lot more information about the services or products that your business have to offer. Once your citation listings are complete the end result will be very much like the link structure that is created in standard SEO and, in the same way, some sites appear to carry a greater authority in the sight of the search engines, than others, however, we are not so much looking for a link but a business reference. Although there are many places to add your business profile, ultimately ranking in the top 7 on the Google Places page is about analysing your competition and then doing more.

 

Customer Reviews – customer related experiences of your business

It is difficult to say exactly how much weight the search engines place upon customer reviews but many consider that as far as Small Business SEO is concerned they are major contributing factor in the overall rank of a site within the ‘top 7’. It is even said that a business with a large number of reviews, whether good or bad, can out-rank a site with numerous citations but the key thing to remember here is that Google is primarily interested in current reviews, so this is something that must be encouraged from you clients and continually updated in your profile. As with citation listings, there are authority review sites and also category specific review sites, so the important key here is to find the sites that Google is citing from, with respect to your particular business sector and to ensure that your reviews are posted there. For those involved in Small Business SEO one of the biggest issues is to get customers to write reviews and unfortunately it is often those who have had a bad experience that are motivated to express their opinion however, a simple trick is to add an incentive to your clients to say thank you for posting a review. This doesn’t have to be much but a simple money-off coupon or discount for a future purchase often seems to work wonders.

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