SEO or search engine optimization is not only for the big companies. Small businesses can also take advantage of this marketing tool. Google does not differentiate between a big company and a small one. As long as you let Google see and feel your presence, you will land a spot on its search engine results pages and attract potential customers. However, the beauty of SEO is unknown and confusing to many.

Most people do not even know where to start. Local SEO should not be too complicated. If you are unsure how local search works, the internet is filled with resources about it. Once you have a working idea of what local SEO is and what it does, the next thing to do is to create a strategy. Listed below are some of the most popular and crucial steps you need to take to build a solid local SEO strategy.

Local Place Pages are Your Starting Point

The three major search engines are Yahoo!, Bing, and Google. The first thing that you should do is to make a local business page for all the three sites. Yes, you would need to manage three different listings and dashboards but the benefits of these pages will be worth the effort and time you will put on them. When creating your business page, make sure that all the contact information and other basic details are correct and updated.

Your potential customers will be relying on these details in order to contact and do business with you and you would not want to dissuade them by giving false information.

Optimization and Categorization of Your Pages are Crucial

After creating business pages, you need to optimize them by putting in quality photos. For instance, Google+ Local allows a person to upload at least 10 photos. Take advantage of this by uploading photos of your actual building location and of course, the products or services you offer. It helps that you put the photo of your actual building so as to aid your potential customers in going to your place.

In connection with optimizing your business, you need to categorize your pages. Categories are important to help sites understand what you do in your business. Local search engines will usually let you put your business into two to five categories.

Claim Your Citations

Citations are similar to mentions or shout outs. The first thing to do before claiming a citation is to check if another business operation in your location also has the same name as yours. Use online tools like Yext or Localeze to check your company’s listings. To ensure that there are no duplicate listings, use the powerful Google Map Maker.

Searching your listings will help to check that there are no incorrect, misleading, or duplicate entries. Online tools like Yext and Localeze can also help you create citations or at least make them uniform so that all mentions of your business will be solely attributed to you.

b>Online Reviews is Your Ally

According to recent studies, customers search for online reviews before making a purchase. Google also looks at reviews when ranking pages. Therefore, positive online reviews are your ally in ensuring that you are at the top of the search engine results page and that you will entice customers to get products or services from you and not anywhere else. You do not need to be desperate and put on any fake reviews.

Author's Bio: 

Torsi Utley is a professional blogger.