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2020 is happening and as a business owner, I’m committed to making it a big year for my business and my life.

As an SEO Agency owner, I find that a lot of small businesses underutilize digital marketing opportunities that can really help drive online lead generations to their businesses. And most of all, a lot of it can be fast, easy and FREE. 

So let’s dive into some SEO Tips for small business owners in 2020 but first some common questions to get out of the way for housekeeping.

What does SEO stand for?

SEO is an acronym for search engine optimization. The search engines would be things like Google, Yahoo, Bing and international engines like Baidu and Naver.

What does SEO mean?

Wikipedia does a much better job of explaining it than me so here is Wiki’s definition:

Search engine optimization (SEO) is the process of increasing the quality and quantity of website traffic by increasing the visibility of a website or a web page to users of a web search engine.

With SEO, words being used, especially keywords, are extremely important. To decipher the above, the words “process”, “increasing”, “quality” and “quantity” of website traffic” by “increasing” “visibility” are super important.

The goal of SEO is to take your page or website through the process of increasing relevant traffic you want to see your page.

This makes sense though right? We would want as many relevant people seeing my digital page as possible because those people will take the actions I want them to take. An example would be I created a “Los Angeles SEO“, “San Francisco SEO” and “New York SEO” page to drive users. Who is most relevant for me would be people based in Los Angeles and looking for SEO or in New York and looking for SEO.

So the question is how can we do something for as cheap, fast and effective as possible? Let’s dive into a few options.

1. Created Highly Targeted Local SEO Pages

One of the biggest mistakes I see small businesses making are just general service or product pages when they are a local business.

People who are searching for something and want a local option will generally add a location modifier or search a naked keyword but expect a local option to populate. To circle back then to my example earlier about “Los Angeles SEO”, I created a local Los Angeles page because people search for “Los Angeles SEO”.

You can verify it a few ways but the easiest is search the keyword and see if people are competing like that as you can see the below:

**Alternative way to verify local value is a free keyword tool called UberSuggest by Neil Patel that tells you how often people are searching a local keyword.

So now back to the keyword review and local SEO pages – why do we want to do this? Two reasons.

A. Local competition is far less competitive than general competition

If you try to rank “SEO” vs “Los Angeles SEO”, we’re talking about competing against everyone that’s a .com user vs everyone competing specifically for Los Angeles that’s a .com user. The volume has decreased but the pie of people competing has significantly gone down as well.

B. Localizing makes you far more relevant

This makes sense right? If I’m looking for a bakery for artichoke bread..I want to see the options walking or driving distance to me. Other bakeries may be really good but if I search “artichoke bread Los Angeles” or “buy artichoke bread” and I’m located in Los Angeles, I’m looking for a place to buy it now in Los Angeles.

This is why we want to create localized pages that are super focused and relevant for people in that area. It’s less competitive and easier to rank AND it’s more relevant for people looking for the service or product.

Review the competitor pages and their keywords and start to draft a page similar but better than theirs and see where your page will end up.

2. Google My Business

GMB or Google My Business is a placement of your business location on Google Maps.

GMB’s often show up near the top or first below the ads for local searches as they’ve determined geographic location of a business to a person is one of the primary things people want and are looking for. Convenience (walking or driving distance being short) is king.

So again…”Los Angeles SEO” what do we see below the ads?

So shameless plug you see my business here but not really because again distance in king. I’m writing this post where my business is so obviously I am going to show up as one of the top options for Google to use.

However, what’s important to note here is under the search, the Google Maps is the first thing people see. So it tells us that Google (who has determined after tracking other searches) is valuing the maps and distance of a search and a local business to a person is of high importance.

Now why is this important…

A. Of all the internet people competing…people anywhere can compete for a term like “Los Angeles SEO”. But not everyone has an address.

The pie now has gotten even smaller.

Anyone with a website can technically compete for any term. However, to compete on maps, you generally need an address. So not only has the pie gotten smaller, it literally is tracking and ranking businesses based on where their address is in relation to a person.

If I need an “Emergency Dentist Oakland”, the distance of an emergency dentist to me is of the utmost importance and you can see people literally have an entire business named around this service:

So as a business owner, you can create a GMB and use the keywords in the name of your business and the description and if anyone is located near you and looking for your services, you will automatically show as one of the top options. This is why I’m in Los Angeles but searched Oakland and the specific service within the GMB name and a Google Map Pack are the first things we see.

To recap:

  • Create a Google My Business
  • Include keyword in name and description of your service with location

3. Directory Listings

This is an important and interesting one – and one with big asterisks and caution warnings.

Google gives a lot of power to directories or aggregators like a Yelp or Angie’s list. These sites have a lot of inherent “trust” as providers of good information and a platform to connect users to ultimately what they want – research to find the business they want.

Being on these sites are important as they (especially Yelp) have geographic targeting options as well. If I’m looking for a Korean barbecue restaurant, the main options are top reviewed or closest to me that are open now.

These aggregators can provide a lot of visibility and within their own platforms that attract many users, it’s getting digital foot traffic so people can know you exist. As a new or small business owner, it’s definitely an important position to have placement.

However, these directories are notorious for being not friendly to the business owner. Just see this review from this site:
Not exactly comforting…but the customers still go on Yelp. Their is a price to pay as you can clearly see from above.

Conclusion

Those are my top 3 tips in 2020 for local or small businesses to gain more traffic actually quickly in 2020.

Best of luck, use the SEO and learn it yourself and grow your business to have 2020 be the best year.

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