2016 Local SEO Small Business Checklist

On this Small Business Saturday, we celebrate the local company, the small business owners who are making it without the massive corporate budgets or advertising. The businesses who aren’t completely worried about being worldwide phenomenons & just focusing on taking care of the local community whom they can build a reputation with over months & years.

In 2015 & beyond, SEO is going to be one of the most crucial elements of your marketing efforts. When a business doesn’t have the massive budget to run TV commercials or billboards, SEO & social media are amazing ways to get your message directly to the target audiences – via TV, social media, mobile marketing, etc.

Today, we will create the ultimate small business checklist that will absolutely get your business into the top of Google search & to make sure your business strong & dominate your web & foot traffic.

improve local seo with google places listing

Any & all business need a Google Places listing. Google Places (now known as Google Business) helps with local SEO due to having your local address listed when someone does a search for your primary keyword for your company in Google. It works similar to the online yellow pages, but it gives a tremendous boost in SEO & helps to establish credibility & substance with your company.

People can leave business reviews, comments on the page & in your Google Places listing, Google automatically gives you a Google Plus page for your location. If you are a business that has locations in various areas locally or nationally, you can make multiple Google Places listings for each individual location – along with a Google Plus business page.

For example, if you had a business in Los Angeles or Chicago but you had multiple locations in the same community – say Santa Monica or Springfield – then you would make a separate page for the people searching from that area.

If you have a small business that is not directly handling customers at your business address, you must use your Google Places listing as a service location. A service location means that you serve customers in a broad area & your business address will be hidden. This is an important part of the system because if Google decides to call to do a check of your company & you don’t offer direct services at your location, your listing could be removed from Google Places.

Many business owners will contend that they would like to be national & grow outward. That is a great goal, but early on, it is extremely difficult to do that. As in regular business, with SEO, it is always better to start small & work your way out. The benefits will be much greater & you will see quicker results in the process.

on-page optimization, website structure foundation for seo

In many of our SEO posts, we talk about on-page optimization & website structure being so critical in terms of building great SEO campaigns.

We will mention it again. If your website structure & on-page content is clear & readable, your SEO will be ahead of the curve while you are building up your content & begin working on other elements of your website.

Website structure simply means the organization of your URLs – are they in file form (/) or does each individual page end with .html. About 99% of websites need to have their URLs ending in / due to Google reading the website as one large file with file folder extensions as opposed to singular webpages that in Google’s eyes don’t flow together.

When your website ends in .html, your SEO efforts are much tougher because you have to optimize & do a campaign for each individual page for the most part, where as with the file extension (WordPress) style, when Google crawls your site, it will crawl content for the entire page, thus helping out your SEO & keyword ranking chances.

In on-page optimization, its about making sure your keywords & content is original and readable. Make sure your content doesn’t contain spammy information or keyword stuffing. When writing, always utilize images, H2 headings & strong copy that contains your target keywords as well as other keywords you wouldn’t mind ranking for & optimizing if the competition isn’t as intense. Later this weekend, we will talk more about the on-page optimization techniques.

Youtube videos, channel are crucial to seo success

As a small business that is primarily local, making sure you are optimizing your budget is essential, and one of the best ways of doing that is with a custom YouTube video or a series of YouTube videos on your company channel.

A great YouTube marketing video is a great tool due to the sheer amount of people that use YouTube & the various ways to gain a certain amount of income. YouTube is the second-largest search engine in the world, right behind its parent company, Google. People enjoy watching video much more than reading content & your brand can build simply through releasing daily videos or getting custom videos made marketing your content.

As mentioned earlier, YouTube is owned by Google, which means that your YouTube video & channel are more likely to rank high earlier than your website. If you look at search engines anywhere, YouTube channels & videos are showing up on the first page in search engines, depending on if there are many ads for a particular keyword.

If you do stream videos or even during your business advertisements, you can also apply for Google Adsense, which allows you to monetize your video content. Making your YouTube video popular through gaining views, comments, & likes will drive up your ad price for advertisers to bid for space on your website, thus allowing you to bring in income while promoting your own business.

utilize twitter engagements

Twitter is one of the most important elements of a social media campaign these days. Earlier in 2015, Google & Twitter came to an agreement where certain tweets will be indexed into Google search to be optimized for higher Google search positioning. Tweets that have higher engagements are going to be the ones that are indexed regularly. If Google see that a business’ tweets are popular in Twitter then they will get strong priority in Google search, just as a website would.

Twitter engagements are the combination of retweets, likes, favorites & link clicks from your tweet. The higher percentage of the engagement, the more likely that your tweet will show up in the top tweets on Twitter. Having a strong following on Twitter will not only help your website & business, but will also help your other social media sites such as Facebook, YouTube & others.

Another reason to have high engagements on Twitter are the social media backlinks to your web properties. Backlinks are looked at in a bad way because of all of the issues over the last few years with spamming bad links & Google lowering the SEO value of many sites because of bad link-building. Social media backlinks – though no-follow, will still have a great impact on your websites as social signals, key components in helping move your website up in search & building up its trust ranking.

Google adwords can be great for quick sales in small business

If you are in the e-commerce game or you sell a certain group of products that you want to push quickly, Google Adwords can be a great tool for that. For around $20 for a day, you can have many clicks on your website from legitimate buyers of your services. We don’t believe that Adwords has many long-term SEO benefits, but for quick sales & results, Adwords is outstanding.  If your Adwords ad is put together the right way, the short-term results will prove to be outstanding.


These are just some of the tips we have for putting the framework together for your new small business venture. We would like to wish you good luck in your journey to business prosperity!