Local SEO for small businesses in Nigeria. Think local. leverage the power of local seo to attract paying customers to your business.
Ever used a search term with this structure: “Key Phrase + Location” before to look up local businesses and services in your neighborhood?
Let’s say, you’re searching for all the restaurants in your area; or all the bakeries in Lagos.
You’d either type ‘restaurants near me’ or ‘bakeries in Lagos’ on Google, right?
Then, hit Enter. After a few seconds, the search engine returns several businesses that match your query.
Here’s where it starts getting exciting: Google doesn’t just only show you list of businesses; it includes maps that indicates where each business is located. You’re also provided with further details including phone numbers, and office open hours.
Now, all these information are pretty super-important if you’re in a kind of haste to make a purchase.
As a small business owner in Nigeria, how does this affect you? Why should you care?
First, let’s see what the numbers are saying: 18% of local searches performed on a smartphone or mobile device led to a purchase within a day. Now, compare that against 7% on non-local searches.
In the same vein, 72% of consumers who carried out local searches paid a visit to a store that was located within 5 miles from their residences
As you can see, ignoring local SEO for your business is akin to walking away from a well prepared meal, even when you are hungry.
Here’s what I mean: Take any niche, anyone you can think of – publishers, fashion designers, anything; then type in the search engine “your key words + near me” or this variation “your key phrases + your city”
Do you notice how untapped the space is?
Now, imagine how much growth you’ll experience in your business, if you take advantage of local seo and make it easier for people searching online for your services find you plus, get your phone number, and even direction to your office.
You’d literally, blow your competition out of business.
It’s common sense then that you make local SEO an integral part of your online marketing strategy as it helps you to take advantage of the increasing growth of mobile search, gives you massive exposure on a local scale, and a significant profit-maker.
According to BrightLocal, 97% of people find out more information about an organization via the internet.
92% of searchers usually pick businesses that rank on the first page of local search reports according to Google Local Search Statistics. And with the trend tilting towards local SEO in 2019, you cannot afford to Not ride this ship.
We’ve been talking about local SEO without making any effort to explain exactly what it is.
So, in the next paragraphs, you’ll learn what seo for a local audience is, and most importantly, learn step by step how to optimize your business for local search.
“local SEO refers to the process of ‘optimizing’ your online presence to attract more business from relevant local searches.”
From the above definitions, we can infer the following:
“Local seo is a method that helps businesses use all the tools and strategies of search engine optimization plus more to attract relevant local customers.”
Why Local SEO is Important for your Business?
A picture they say speaks louder than a thousand words.
According to statista, there are an estimated 23.3 million smartphone users in Nigeria.
About 40-45% of Smartphone users that make use of mobile search are aged 18 to 50 years.
From data made available by Google, 50% of mobile searchers for local services or products end up visiting a brick-and-mortar shop the same day, resulting in massive offline purchases annually.
So, as you can see, local seo is a crucial tool in your marketing toolkit to drive more leg traffic to you offline store.
Plus, the increase online visibility you gain from implementing this strategy is invaluable to building a recognizable brand on the web.
Local SEO Tips for Small Businesses in 2019
As more and more internet users in Nigeria rely on local phrased searches to connect with businesses online – you must, as a matter of survival, position your brand to take advantage of this trend.
To do that, here are step by step, detailed guide to optimize your business for local search.
Local SEO Tips: Claim Your Google My Business
It is shocking to see that a lot of local businesses out there are not taking advantage of the immense power of Google My Business.
In fact, Brandmuscle in a new study said that 56% of retailers, small businesses, and SMBs haven’t claimed their Google my Business.
Now, considering that Google My Business is a free tool by Google one wonders why entrepreneurs are not taking advantage of it.
The Google business listing works primarily like a digital address book, only much larger than the regular ones.
Fortunately, it is pretty simple to set up and claim your Google my business listing.
A Step by Step Guide: How to List your business on Google My Business
Step 1: Search for your Business: The goal is to see whether your business is already listed.
Step 2: Check the lower right hand side of the search result, “Click Own this business.”
Step 3: Follow the prompt to sign into your Gmail account. If you don’t have a Gmail account yet; create one. It’s easy to do.
Step 4: Once you’re signed in, a map of your country will appear. Search for your business on the map.
Step 5: If you can’t find it; then, use the “Add Your Business” button. Enter your correct business details.
Step 6: To verify the information entered click “Verify later”
Step 7: You’ll be taken to your GMB page where you can check all details. Follow the Tour guide to familiarize yourself with the features on the page.
Step 8: Select how you’d like to verify your business. You options “By Phone Now” and “By Mail at”
Step 9: If you selected ‘by mail’ verification method; then look out for a package from Google within 1-2 weeks.
Follow the instructions on the postcard to complete your verification.
Step 10: Login to your GMB account, you’ll be prompted to enter the code. Enter the code on the postcard you received. Click “submit.” Congratulations, the verification process is complete.
“As you can see, the process is straightforward but time consuming. And as a busy entrepreneur, you don’t have the time to go through the hassles. Let me and my team help you claim your Google My Business.”
Local SEO Tip: Encourage Customers to Leave Reviews on you Google Page
Do you know at least 88 percent of customers rely heavily on and trust online reviews almost as much as recommendations from family and friends?
That goes to show you the power of positive online reviews.
Many people leave reviews on sites where they have shopped without any prompting.
Others however, will require a bit of nudging before they post their impressions of your services.
So, you may want to take measures that would make it a lot easier for your customers to leave a review.
The first and obvious step is to, of course, ask for the review.
How to Get More Reviews on Google
There are couple of ways to get your customers leave reviews on your GMP. However, my focus is to show you how to generate a nice link to your review page, so anyone with the link can go directly and leave a review.
Step 1: Search for your business on Google
Step 2: On the right-hand side, check below the knowledge graph with your company’s details click “write review”
Step 3: A Google review box will pop up. Copy the link.
Step 4: Shorten the link to look nice and neat. You can use Google link shortening service. You now have a neat link to send to your customers.
Local SEO Tip: Title and Meta Description
Do you know that your title and meta description tags can also impact your local SEO? Title and meta description tags are HTML components that anyone can customize to reflect a webpage.
You don’t need to carry out any coding, though. Incidentally, you have also encountered it, much in the same way you encountered – and probably used – Google My Business.
Have you ever noticed that when you type a search term into the Google search engine, a blue title along with a small description pops up among the answers? Those are the title and meta description tags respectively.
The title and meta description tags act somewhat as a mini-ad and give your prospective customers the opportunity to click on your link to access your website instead of your competitor’s. They also play a crucial role in getting your website to the first page of Google.
A simple rule to keep in mind while writing your tags and Meta-descriptions for local seo is to include in the copy the keyword you intend ranking for.
Local SEO Tip: Get on Online Directories
When it comes to increasing your visibility online, it is more difficult to attract new customers compared to putting yourself in front of your existing clients.
This is where business directories come in; when you get listed, these online directories will do a remarkable job of placing your business in front of prospective customers.
Most business listings on directories require that you provide a short blurb about your business; contact information; reviews for your business; and so on.
There are hundreds of online directories out where you can let listed.
The above listed online directories are free.
Be sure to first run a directory report so you can have an excellent idea of which directory your business is currently listed.
This step is crucial as it helps you avoid multiple listings and a possible disqualification and demotion in SERPs.
Also, double check your entries – business name, phone numbers, company address – for possible spelling errors or mistakes.
You don’t want the search engines and directories to display inaccurate information to potential customers.
Local SEO Tip: Keyword Research for Local SEO
Keywords are at the heart of your local SEO campaign. It’s so essential that it – local SEO keyword research – requires its own full article.
However, for the sake of this post, here are a quick bullet points to keep in mind.
Local SEO vs. Regular SEO keyword research
The primary difference between a local SEO keyword and a regular keyword is that one is location specific while the other is not.
For instance, the keyword, “how to train a dog,” is a good example of regular seo focused keyword; while “dog trainers in Ikeja,” is location-focused.
Step by step guide for Keyword Research for Local SEO
Dig in to see what keywords your competitors are already using
Determine Your Seed Keywords
Create a keyword template to save your phrases
Use keyword research tools – Adwords keyword planner comes in handy to grow your list.
Refine your KW list – use search volumes to weed out ones with low search volume
Dive in deeper – use KWFinder – to uncover more phrases.
Go longtail with Answerthe public – a free tool that throws up valuable longtail search terms.
So, those are basically the steps to conduct a local seo keyword research. Follow this link for a more detailed read.
Local SEO Tip: Optimize Your Content for Local Audience
Although this may be optional, creating more content optimized for your local audience is an excellent strategy to one – rank better on search engines and two – acquired hot leads for your business.
Thing is, your customers use search engines to search for information online. Imagine if, any time they go online looking for solutions you provide, your company pops up.
Now, imagine also, that you do publish valuable, helpful content on your business blog, and over time, your customers have come to rely on the information you provide to solve their challenges.
Who do you think they will turn to when they need help?
Your guess is as good as mine.
So, how do you optimize your content for local search?
First and foremost, do not forget to include your geo-specific keywords in the following sections:
H1, H2, and H3 tags
When you add these on-page features, search engines will have no trouble crawling your site and pushing it up the search engine page ranking on Google.
Local SEO Tip: Ensure Your Website is Mobile Friendly
Today, that number has increased astronomically – such that by 2016, there are more than 2 billion mobile users – with mobile users accounting for over 60% of web traffic.
In Africa – Nigeria to be precise – mobile users were not more than 11 million in 2014. But in 2019, the number of mobile users has increased to more than 23.3 million users.
What does this imply for your business?
The number of mobile phone users has exceeded the number of people who use desktop computers.
This is the primary reason why Google and other major search engines consider and rank mobile-friendly websites higher than those who neglect to optimize their website for mobile.
If your website is not mobile-friendly, there are no two ways about it; you’re missing out on prospective customers.
In addition to the mobile-friendliness of a website, another factor that is equally important to Google and other search engines is page speed. Local SEO will play in your favor significantly if too many things do not slow down the loading speed of your site.
To prevent such an incident from occurring, make sure you optimize all the images on your site, get rid of unused plugins, and actuate Gzip compression.
Tip 8: Local Publications and Citations
Local citations from directory sites and online newspapers have been in existence for years now. They are super relevant for local SEO, but even more so as a result of their relevance, i.e. local news publications.
Almost gone are the days when Google used to give utmost relevance to links that were created manually by adding a site to a directory to get a backlink.
Online publications have more weight and significance in the eyes of Google, and when your business gets featured on an industry-specific online magazine, the giant search engine accords more respect to it by ranking it higher on its SERPs.
You can, therefore, search for local online publications in your vicinity and contact them for a sponsored article or guest post.
While at it, ask if you can also get a permanent do-follow link back to your website.
Local SEO Tip: Take Advantage of PPC Advertising
Having a PPC advertising strategy is crucial for your business and can play a significant role in the success of your business.
PPC (Pay-Per-Click) advertising is highly beneficial to any small business that incorporates it into its marketing strategies.
The primary idea behind PPC advertising is to identify relevant, targeted keywords, figure out your target audience, and then create a marketing strategy that will drive highly-qualified leads.
If you sell a service or product that is somewhat difficult for people to find locally, then your business is a top candidate for PPC advertising campaigns.
Most people these days rely heavily on internet searches to find products.
In addition to this, local searches with high buying intent usually take place on mobile devices, and it will interest you to know that PPC advertising dominates a considerable portion of screen space on mobile devices.
With your paid search ads in place when people search for your products or service “near me,” you will increase your chances of getting in front of your target customers at such crucial moments.
Wrapping it up…
Phew… that was a long read. Regardless, our goal is to provide you with the tools, guides, and steps to optimize your business for local search.
Do you have any questions? An inquiry perhaps? Or a contribution even? Let us know at the comment section.