How Your Business Can Use Local Search and Advertising to Compete with Big Brands

Big brands have endless resources to ensure they dominate search engines. It can sometimes be hard to generate online visibility and compete for smaller businesses. 

Written by Peter
Monday April 24, 2017

Life can be tough for the small business. Bigger competitors have more products, a wider range of services, and a seemingly infinite marketing budget. They have a flashy website, a well-equipped social media ‘team’, and they benefit from extensive online coverage.

It can seem like the odds are stacked against you, but just because your competitors are doing it bigger, it doesn’t mean they’re doing it better. They were small once too, and everyone starts somewhere. Focus your attention locally and promote your business to customers in your area right when they’re looking for your type of business.

Local SEO

If you are looking to attract more local customers, or if you want to grow your local presence, you will need to rank well in local search results.

As a business, local SEO should be an essential part of your marketing activity. With Google leaning on personalised search results and with smartphone use being at an all-time high, “on the go” searches aren’t going away. There are several factors that you need to consider ensuring your company ranks well in local search results.

Name, Address, and Phone Number citations are the first and most important step in your journey to local SEO domination. These won’t always result in a link to your site, but they are references to your company.  A phone number with a location specific area code (e.g. 0115 for Nottingham) is better than an 0800 number.

Google My Business is an essential tool that helps you manage your online presence. It can help your business get found across Google, whether people are trying to find you using search, Maps or Plus. Register with Google My Business and set up your business and local pages. If you find that your business already has a page, you can claim it as your own. In any case, you will have to go through a verification process, but it’s worth the effort. You must ensure that your profile is 100% complete.

Citations are hugely important. A citation is a mention of your business on another website or place on the internet, and can take a variety of forms. Whether they are local or industry specific, having your business listed in relevant, high-quality directories tell Google where your business is located, and what you do. Quality is valued over quantity, and it is vital that your NAP details match those on your website and your Google business and local pages. As with Google My Business, you must ensure your listings are as complete as possible, and that you are listing your business under relevant categories. This lets the search engines know what industry you operate in.

Geo-targeted Pay Per Click Advertising

PPC and social media advertising are effective ways to attract a large amount of traffic to your site in a short amount of time. Local SEO is important, but it can take time. Biddable media is almost immediate and fully controllable. The budget can be increased, scaled back, or even switched off whenever necessary. So, as a business, you are always in control.

Conduct some keyword research to reveal the local terms people might be using to search for what you offer. Use this insight to build and refine a list of suitable phrases and then create your campaigns around them.

Native Advertising

Native advertising is quite simple, easy to implement and has a high success rate for small businesses. One of the biggest advantages of native advertising is the opportunity for more online visibility. By featuring sponsored ads on media sites and the timelines of average social media users, your brand is no longer restricted solely to your website or your personal Social Media following. If you are a small business, native advertising will give you the chance to expand your reach to more consumers.

Through the diverse variations of native advertising, your small business can reach out beyond the standard social media networks and connect with potential consumers you might not have considered. Any business, of any size, can advertise via the specified platforms, which levels the playing field for small businesses trying to compete with larger companies. Amplifying content, building a brand, generate leads/sales are all great things that native ads can benefit small business. But another great advantage of native is that it’s very cheap in terms of the Cost Per Click compared to the likes of Google Adwords and Bing’s Pay Per Click, this allows you to generate cheaper leads if managed well.

Local SEO takes time and local PPC takes money, but with due care and enough effort, your business will benefit from the local exposure. You need to have a strong local SEO strategy.

Increased visibility in local search results leads to increased brand awareness, and local SEO as a whole can be less costly and competitive than national or international SEO. Through implementing the steps highlighted in this local SEO checklist, you will be on the road to local SEO success.

Always remember, that local SEO takes into consideration, relevance, and location over business size or reputation. A level playing field.

As featured on: Fresh Business Thinking