How a local business can use SEO to tackle Covid-19 effects


As lockdowns intensify and companies – large and small – witness massive changes in the way they have to operate, what does the average local business need? It needs to learn how to stay afloat during these trying times and be there for its consumers against all odds. And it can do that with local SEO.

Why is Local SEO important at this time?

Many a local business likes primarily to keep things offline. They cater to the locals – literally! – and so a small physical store does the trick for them.

They probably have an online presence, but they’ve never kept it as active as it should be. Because they don’t need to.

But this has changed because of the corona impact on local business – in short, the lockdowns it has resulted in.

local business

At this point in time, businesses have only one to way to communicate with their customers and keep providing their services to them.

And that is where local SEO services come into the picture.

While you can always reach out to a local SEO expert for a more professional way of going about doing things, there is no harm in getting started yourself.

Which is why we thought you might like a few pointers on how to begin!

Let’s dive right in!

Local SEO hacks to keep on track

Update your Google My Business profile.

local SEO

Your Google My Business (GMB) Listing needs to be optimized to perfection – this is arguably the best thing you can do for your business as far as local SEO is concerned.

In case you’re a rookie, you must be wondering what exactly a Google My Business listing is.

Go to Google.com right now and search for a particular business.

The box that appears on the right-hand side of the search engine results page is the listing we are talking about (if the business you searched for has it set up).

This little box gives potential consumers all the information they may need about your business.

Let’s suppose you own a bakery in New York that goes by Sweetums. It is closed for offline customers but it is providing delivery services through online orders.

When a regular customer, or even someone who was recommended your baked goods, looks you up online, your Google My Business listing should pop up, giving them all the information they may need to get in touch.

This, for example, could be your telephone number so that they can call you up and enquire about your delivery parameters, whether you’re still delivering, what precautionary measures you’re taking, and so on.

What’s more is that Google has added a category specially for COVID-19 updates where you can communicate important information with your consumers.

To set up your GMB listing and become much close to being a local SEO expert, go to this link and follow the instructions.

Focus on Local Citations (NAP)

A local citation is basically an online mention of the name, address, and phone number of a local business. It can appear in a number of places, including local directories, websites, social media profiles, and so on.

This is very important with regards to local small business SEO.

Much like Google My Business profiles, local citations can hold a lot more information than the core elements we just mentioned.

So why is it so important for a local business to have accurate local citations?

  • Firstly, when the number and the quality of the listings is high, it affects your ranking in a positive way. What does this mean during this pandemic? It means that when potential consumers in your vicinity search for a relevant keyword, your business will appear near the top. In this way, you will be able to gain consumers despite a lockdown.
  • Secondly, as we mentioned, these citations allow customers to get information about the business, using which they can reach you. Accurate listings can, thus, connect you with customers.

Both these things are important at a time when a customer can’t just walk by your store to notice it or get in touch. You need a high ranking and your consumers need accurate information about how your business can help them during this time. This aspect of local SEO can help them with that.

The number and quality of local citations can be managed through active location data management.

Learn all about the approach you should take for citation management here.

Optimize your content for the correct local keywords.

digital marketing services

You want to appear on the top of the search engine results page if someone searches for the products or services you provide in a particular region.

Now put yourself into the shoes of your potential consumers.

Let’s go back to our example of a bakery in New York.

Person A is looking to buy two loaves of bread to last him the week. He doesn’t want to risk going out to the grocery store so he makes an online search.

But what will he search for?

“bakery in New York offering delivery”

“best bakery in New York”

“bakery delivering in New York”

“baker New York”

“buy bread in New York”

All of these are highly likely keywords that the consumer will use. You basically need to pair the product or service you provide with your location and boom – those are the local SEO keywords you need to optimize your content for.

To begin with, you can optimize the following existing content elements with your chosen keywords:

  • H1 tags
  • Meta tags
  • URLs

In short: you need to be optimized for keywords with a high search volume, as well as search intent. Keep in mind, though, that the keywords should still be relevant to your business, otherwise it is just wasted effort.

Moving on…

Oh wait – you didn’t think we were going to hop onto the next point without giving you all the resources you need, did you?

Of course not!

Here are two great blog posts that outline just how you can ace local SEO keyword research – keywords that you can then incorporate:

How to do Local SEO Keyword Research

Keyword Research for Local SEO

This brings us to our next point:

Start creating content that ranks in local search results

Whether or not you focused on SEO or any kind of digital marketing services in the past is irrelevant at this point – you need to start now.

And although you won’t see immediate results, you need to start creating content regularly. But not just any old kind of content – your content needs to be optimized for local search.

seo services

Here are a few things you can do:

  • Use local SEO keywords with search intent.
  • Use long-tail keywords in your content. These are highly specific keywords that might not get you as much traffic as your usual keywords but they will result in more conversions.
  • Use keywords in your Title tags, meta descriptions, and URLs.
  • Write on topics a local audience would be interested in, e.g., The 10 places to eat around town or Where to get the best haircut in Washington.
  • Focus on internal linking. In particular, your blog posts should lead to pages of your website that talk more about your products and services.

Here are some resources that will help you create amazing content:

Content Marketing – Everything You Need to Know

Content Marketing Key takeaways from 15 Experts

Content Marketing Strategy from Scratch – Ultimate Guide

SEO & Content Marketing: What’s the link?

The Ultimate List of Content Marketing Tools and Resources

5 SEO tips from 5 top content marketing influencers

9 content writing topic ideas that will never fail you

9 Content Marketing Tips for Digital Marketers

Now that we’ve discussed some of the more immediate steps you can take to up your local SEO game, let’s think long-term for a minute, shall we?

SEO tactics to get back up on your feet after the pandemic is over

Whether you like it or not, work is likely going to be slower than before during the lockdown. This, of course, does not apply to businesses such as e-commerce sites, which have become all the more relevant during this crisis.

But as a local business that is experiencing a reduced focus on its core operations, guess what? You have time on your hands that you can put to good use!

Top-notch SEO efforts don’t show results immediately – it takes a while for you to get returns.

So why don’t you spend the next couple of months focusing more and more SEO activities that you had been neglecting before the pandemic hit?

Whether it is link-building or making your website more mobile-friendly, optimizing your existing and new content or improving your local citations, you don’t need a local SEO expert by your side. You can do it yourself!

Here is a quick local SEO guide to get you started – it is just what your local business needs:

A Comprehensive Guide to Local SEO in 2020

Would you like us to share a more comprehensive SEO plan that you can kick into action to combat corona impact on local business?

Let us know and we’ll do just that!

Till then, take a look at this blog post about digital marketing tips and tricks you can start implementing TODAY!

8 digital marketing must-dos in the time of the coronavirus

 

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