Local SEO For Companies Without A Physical Location

Local SEO For Companies Without A Physical Location

In the midst of lockdowns and COVID-19 restrictions, there has been a steep rise in the amount of small businesses and startups popping up in Cardiff and the surrounding area. People have adapted and innovated to finally start their dreams of running their own companies, paving the way for a wave of new business in the area.

No matter how small you start there are key aspects that are vital to running a business in the modern world such as establishing a good digital marketing campaign and online sales/ advertising channels such as social media accounts & of course a well designed, functional website.

A large aspect of developing a digital marketing strategy is how to optimise your website for search engines, especially locally. However, with so many small businesses being run from home, there is a distinct rise in the number of companies that don’t have a physical location. Which begs the question, how do you optimise your business locally without a physical premises?

“We don’t have a shop but we deliver to customers locally, how do I manage local product listings?”

“I run my business from my spare room, how do I optimise my website for local SEO?”

“We don’t have a shop but we deliver to customers locally, how do I manage local product listings?”

“I run my business from my spare room, how do I optimise my website for local SEO?”

“I only sell products online. How do I target my local area?”

These sorts of questions are being asked more and more often and so it’s important to understand how this next wave of SMEs can start to optimise their websites for their local area without having a physical shop or location. The first step is identifying just what sort of business you are. This will help define the areas and tools you should be using for your local SEO.

What Is Your Business Model?

Generally, if you don’t own a shop or brick & mortar location then your business will fall under one of the following identifications. This may change as you grow and develop but focus on the type of company you are now.

Home Based Business

This type of business is based from your home address from which you can serve customers from. Common examples are converted extensions for small beauty salons, child daycare or serving nearby customers in the form of mobile beauty technicians, dog walkers etc.

These businesses are defined as being solely run from your home. This doesn’t include online-only businesses that you run from your home computer but customer-facing companies run from home.

Service Area Business

Typically service industries such as gas engineers, plumbers, carpenters etc. These businesses serve their nearby community and normally don’t have a physical headquarters.

Virtual Business

Becoming more common in recent years, these companies conduct all transactions and business online or via the phone. These companies are solely e-commerce and tend to have all of their marketing efforts targeted through digital channels such as social media, SEO & PPC.

Hybrid Business

A hybrid business is one that incorporates many different factors of the above categories. A great example would be a catering company that both does catering for parties and events as well as adapting to serve takeaways evenings and weekends.

These types of companies have risen greatly during the COVID-19 pandemic due to them needing to adapt fast in order to survive.

Local SEO For Home Based Businesses

Conducting local SEO for home-based businesses can really depend on the type of business you run. It may be that you don’t serve customers at your home and therefore don’t want potential customers showing up at your door.

  • Work From Home & Travel To Customers
  • Work From Home & Don’t Serve Any Customers Face To Face
  • I Serve Customers At My Home
  • I Serve Customers At My Home But Want My Address To Be Private

Working in a similar way to a service area business, these companies can make their address private on their Google My Business (GMB) listings but should show a service area in which they are prepared to work. As well as optimising your GMB listing to make your address private, you can also add postcodes and locations that your services extend to.

When it comes to finding directories to add your business to, it can be difficult to find ones that don’t require an address however they do exist and can help raise the organic rankings of your website.

Your website should include contact information such as an email address and phone number but optimising the onsite content to the town or city that you serve is the best way to improve your local SEO.

Local SEO For Service Area Based

Similarly to home based SEO, the most beneficial way to get your business seen on Google is to optimise your GMB listing. Make sure to keep your address private but add postcodes and locations to your service area. This way anybody in need of your services will be able to find you much more easily from a search.

As service based companies, it requires in person contact which is a great form of marketing. Try adding a QR code to have people find your digital channels when you’re on a job. Utilise a well designed landing page on your website so that people can discover your services and contact information easily.

Use location based landing pages or geo pages as they are sometimes referred to, that specifically target locations close to your service area. This will help search engine crawl bots define your services and the area in which you operate quickly and easily.

Similarly to home based SEO, the most beneficial way to get your business seen on Google is to optimise your GMB listing. Make sure to keep your address private but add postcodes and locations to your service area. This way anybody in need of your services will be able to find you much more easily from a search.

As service based companies, it requires in person contact which is a great form of marketing. Try adding a QR code to have people find your digital channels when you’re on a job. Utilise a well designed landing page on your website so that people can discover your services and contact information easily.

Use location based landing pages or geo pages as they are sometimes referred to, that specifically target locations close to your service area. This will help search engine crawl bots define your services and the area in which you operate quickly and easily.

Local SEO For Virtual Businesses

By definition, this is a slightly more difficult task due to not having an area of operations or serving customers from a fixed location. This means that there are certain aspects of local SEO that aren’t applicable for e-commerce or virtual companies.

Google My Business technically does not support online-only companies as it requires a fixed location in order to set up. That being said, it is possible to use your address or your business address if you have one and set it to private. This way you can be included in the GMB map packs for your designated service areas as mentioned above.

If you sell location-specific products such as locally inspired art, pictures or gifts then it’s vital to optimise your onsite pages with location-based information. This includes metadata and product descriptions.

Social Media Advertising

A fantastic tool for improving local SEO for your e-commerce website is using sponsored social media adverts that target customers in a specific area. This will improve your organic ranking in that area as people click through your advert.

phone on table with white app icons hovering above social media graphic

Optimising Your Non-location Based Business Locally

To really make an impact with local SEO it requires a responsive and well-established website that focuses on the key areas in which your business operates. With such a spike in small businesses and startups popping up in 2020 & the start of 2021 ultimately, the responsibility to stay relevant and serve these companies as best as possible lies with the search engines themselves.

There will likely be many updates that Google pushes out in the near future in support of these types of businesses. It may well be that Google changes guidelines and even adds new features in the future to serve the sharp rise in virtual companies much more.

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