If you’re a local business, search engine optimization needs to be front of mind.

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It’s easy to feel like search engine optimization (SEO) is dead. After all, with myriad social media platforms and paid advertising options available, does it really matter if people can find you on Google?

But the answer is yes. Most consumers still Google something before they buy it, and making sure you have a great ranking is a vital part of business. If you’re a smaller, local business, that ranking matters even more. When people are looking for something locally, they’re going to turn to search engines first—and you want to make sure you can get eyes on your store. If you’re a shop, photographer, or other local business, your SEO should be one of the most important parts of your sales and marketing game plan.

Here are five tips for SEO success that are particularly pertinent to finding local customers.

  1. Make sure your city and state are located on every single page. This can be easily incorporated into your About and Contact pages, but don’t forget your Sales page and Home page. Find a way to make it sound natural, but the more places you can put your physical location, the better. Your headers, keywords, and meta descriptions should include your location, too.
  2. Provide links back to your website as often as you can on your e-mail newsletters and social media pages. Ask happy, loyal customers to share your links, as well. The more links back to your page, the more important Google views it. See if your local Chamber of Commerce has a business directory that you can give a link to, as well.
  3. Add yourself to local listings like Yelp and Google My Business. By claiming local business listings, you’re making it much more likely that local searchers will be able to find your website easily. If you search your town and “business listing,” you may find other places to submit your company.
  4. Develop content that’s focused on your local area. If you have a blog, find a way to rope in topics like your local sports team or other local businesses. The more content you produce, the more opportunities for searchers to find you.
  5. Implement schema markup to make sure your site looks nice on search engines. It’s a line of code you can add to help Google understand what your page is all about. This will help improve your ranking and get more people clicking.

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