How Small Businesses Can Use Social Media to Help Their Local SEO

by on May 20, 2013 · 13 comments

SEO (Search Engine Optimization) doesn’t have to be the big scary block that many feel you need to hire a professional agency to manage. When you start up a new company you don’t even have to hire an expensive web designer to create your website and do your SEO for you. There are many templates and businesses that offer tools for website creation, many of these are easy to use allowing you to make your own website quickly and effectively manage its content.

The scary truth is that many small web designers have SEO skills that are set in the past and many companies don’t realize that they can do most of the current important local SEO work themselves.

When your business is small and operating in a niche making or selling their service in a small local radius, there is no reason you can’t dominate these markets. There are many factors that contribute to modern Google rankings and the great thing for small businesses is that most of these aren’t technical.

When thinking about local SEO, which is how people search for businesses local to them, Google takes factors into account, such as physical location, reviews and business listings.

To give an example of local search if you go onto Google and search for the word Taxi:

Social Media Helps Local SEO

(Screenshot of Google search for Taxi)

The results that it brings up will be based on your physical location and for me this is giving a list of taxi numbers in Leeds, England as this is where I work from. This shows that even small companies can advertise themselves to their customers locally.

To influence local search, companies first have to show search engines where your business is based. In terms of onsite SEO this means having clear mentions of your business’s location; for example if you are a cleaning firm your homepage’s title might be: “(Company name) – Quality affordable cleaners in (town/city name).”

However the majority of local search ranking is generated offsite. One of the easiest ways for small businesses to help their company rank is through social media. The three main social media channels for local search are: Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn.

Facebook
You should create a business listings page on Facebook and try and get your regular customers to follow you. Many companies do this my offering exclusive discounts or deals to people who like / follow them.

Once you are on Facebook and your customers who live locally are following you, this is a good sign for search engines that your business is genuine and popular.

Facebook is also great as you can advertise company news and is one of the easiest methods to speak to your customers directly. However you need to make sure you don’t solely post ads as this will look very ‘spammy’ and will stop customers from engaging with you.

LinkedIn
LinkedIn is a more professional take on social media and is often used for networking between various companies, staff and industry experts. You should make sure to claim your business page and post regular company news on here.

An active LinkedIn profile can be well shared, especially if you are contributing regularly to industry specific discussions. Although LinkedIn isn’t usually as influential as Google+ or Facebook for local search, it is still a key place to be listed to help search engines confirm your location and better rank you.

Google+
Although a lot of people don’t use Google+ as a standard social network, it is arguably the most important for business listings.

Google+ has integrated the old Google Maps local business pages into its business listings section. These are what appears on the map to the right when searching for results and so it’s very important to claim your business page and put as much information about your business as you can on here.

Company reviews are also very important and is a key factor in business rankings online. Having positive reviews not only makes your company trustworthy to potential customers but helps you rank high in search engines as you’re seen as a trust worthy business that customers interact with.

However it is very important not to try and fake reviews. Google tracks where these reviews come from and has penalized many businesses in the past who have tried to lie and make up lots of fake positive reviews.

Final thought

Local search is a powerful tool that can quickly help small businesses grow and flourish in the online environment. SEO has, and continues to, move away from traditional methods of keyword spam and other so called ‘black hat’ methods which has opened up a path for smaller companies who supply high quality relevant content and genuine testimonials to succeed online via local SEO.

Article by »

Sam Fisher is an online marketing expert who has worked as a freelance web designer, an SEO executive and currently works in online content and PR which allows him to offer a unique perspective on the current SEO and social media marketing trends.

Sam has written 1 articles on Expand2Web

Author Connect » |

See my disclosure about advertising and affiliate links

{ 13 comments… read them below or add one }

Darlene May 21, 2013 at 7:47 pm

When you check Facebook, there are a lot of businesses (big and small) who create Facebook pages to constantly communicate with their customers and it’s also a great way to reach out to potential customers too.

Reply

Eilidh MacRae May 22, 2013 at 1:40 am

Great tips! Social media helps with SEO in general but good to know how specifically it can help with local SEO.

Reply

Sam Fisher May 23, 2013 at 12:36 am

Hey guys thanks for the comments,

Darlene your 100% right Facebook is a great tool for speaking to your customers. Many people these days feel much more comfortable messaging from Facebook then giving a company a call / email.

Reply

Jhon Perker May 28, 2013 at 2:52 am

Normally, if you are in big business you may want your website to have a natural or even worldwide recognition, for making your brand go global besides giving it more recognition. If you are small or only a local business with small money then you may also want only to have your site optimized for local search only. If you are doing paid advertisements to promote your website, but those who are not in your locality and who click on your ads would be losses on your side. For Local Search engine Optimization of your site you have to be well versed at the local keywords that are more frequently used and not those general keywords used often.

Reply

Sam Fisher June 27, 2013 at 8:04 am

Hi Jhon,

Yes that’s true when it comes to paid search, the best way to avoid this is by having locations on your ad key words. For example if you are an office rental firm in Leeds you would only want to bid on key terms such as “Office rental Leeds” “Offices to rent near Leeds” Etc. This should help negate a lot of the overspend.

Your right though you need to be very careful when doing PPC campaigns.

Reply

Jan June 20, 2013 at 5:42 am

Google gives more importance to social signals. After panda and penguine updates it has become clear that link building is no longer working in a way it did in the past. So social marketing deserves more attention for sure.

Reply

Sam Fisher June 27, 2013 at 8:16 am

Hi Jan,

You hit the nail on the head there, having 1000’s of low quality links to a site doesn’t prove credibility, however active Facebook & Twitter followers who are engaging with your brand show Google that you’re a real credible business that people use.

Reply

Rishi June 26, 2013 at 6:38 am

So recently I was working on a clients project, which involved increasing their awareness locally. I used this article to find new ways of raising brand awareness online locally. It has been great help, the client has received some good response solely on the methods provided.

Reply

Sam Fisher June 27, 2013 at 8:17 am

Hi Rishi,

So glad you found my advice useful, thanks for letting me know it’s always great to get positive feedback.

Reply

Local Business Reviews July 6, 2013 at 7:36 am

“Great post !!! Post is very interesting..Thanks for sharing this nice post with us !!!!!

Reply

River sand July 11, 2013 at 2:09 am

Thank you for posting this post, we apperciate your post on SEO (Search Engine Optimization) doesn’t have to be the big scary block that many feel you need to hire a professional agency to manage. When you start up a new company you don’t even have to hire an expensive web designer to create your website and do your SEO for you. There are many templates and businesses that offer tools for website creation, many of these are easy to use allowing you to make your own website quickly and effectively manage its content.

Reply

louisa July 17, 2013 at 1:02 am

I also found interesting article at http://www.geoseo.net/every-keyword-is-a-campaign-local-seo/ which describes about local seo key phrases and online local marketing.

Reply

Jennifer April 13, 2014 at 9:55 am

Thank you for your awesome summary of the three big social media channels. We discussed the importance of social media to local seo in the training I completed. Now that I understand it, I am a bit nervous about my lack of experience with social media and promoting a small business. Do you have any suggestions?

Reply

Leave a Comment

{ 3 trackbacks }

Previous post:

Next post: