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Local SEO: Do Small Businesses Really Stand a Chance?

Tess Church

November 13, 2023


min read



Website Desgin

Do you feel like your business is a small fish in a big pond of online competition? Then local SEO is your answer. Let's help you leap into a better pond.

How local businesses can fight back in search engines

In the online world, big and small businesses share a space, but the giants usually control the spotlight. So how do small businesses stand a chance? Local SEO.

 In simple terms, local search engine optimisation (SEO) is like a digital guide helping businesses navigate the online world. As search engines like Google keep evolving, having a well-optimised online presence is crucial. 

Zooming into the local scene, where communities thrive, and businesses are essential, the importance of local SEO becomes even clearer. Whether you run a cozy coffee shop or a tech startup, local SEO acts like a guiding light, directing nearby customers to your business. It's about connecting with the community, building trust, and standing out online.

Now, let's tackle the big question: Can small businesses really compete against big corporations that have more resources to dedicate to their online presence? Can the local bakery or family-owned bookstore stand a chance against industry giants in online visibility? 

The answer lies in exploring the strategies, tactics, and opportunities that local SEO offers.

But before we jump in - Hi! We’re EngineRoom, an SEO agency in Melbourne that helps small businesses nationwide with their online presence, from SEO to PPC Ads, Website Development and more. 

Understanding Local SEO

Why is local SEO so important?

Local SEO is the personalised method of boosting a business's online visibility within a specific area. The digital plan ensures your downtown coffee shop or neighbourhood boutique stands out when locals search for what you offer. 

How does a local search algorithm work?

Have you ever wondered how search engines determine which businesses appear when someone in your area searches for a product or service? It's the magic of local search algorithms. These algorithms consider different factors to provide search results customised to the user's nearby area. The main factors include::

  • The location of the business and the searcher
  • The relevance of the result
  • The popularity of the business

Grasping this process is essential for strategically placing your business in local search rankings.

For example, take a look at our Victorian Dermal Group case study. Although being called “Victorian” Dermal Group, this business operates out of Kew, Victoria. We’ve helped them build a strategy that has helped them reach the top of the search results for dermal treatments in both their local suburb of Kew and their wider target audience, Melbourne.

Connecting the right customer to the right business

Local SEO goes beyond merely being online; it's about making a mark where it counts the most – in your community. When done right, local SEO noticeably improves a business's visibility in local search results. Whether someone is searching for a nearby restaurant, a local plumber, or the nearest fitness studio, businesses optimised for local SEO have a better chance of showing up in these important search results, making them easily accessible to potential customers.

The Advantages of Local SEO for Small Businesses


Local SEO is a budget-friendly solution for small businesses. Unlike broader SEO strategies that can be expensive, local SEO lets businesses concentrate on a specific area. This focused approach ensures efficient resource use, getting the most out of each marketing dollar.

For example, if you’re a plumber that only services a specific area like the south side of Brisbane, instead of targeting keywords on your website like “Plumber Brisbane”, target specific south suburbs to give yourself a better chance of coming up in the search results of potential customers in those areas.

Personalised approach

A key feature of local SEO is its ability to customise strategies for local audiences. Whether it's a neighbourhood cafe or a nearby boutique, local SEO lets businesses speak directly to their community. This personal touch builds a stronger connection with the audience, fostering increased trust and loyalty.


Local SEO gives small businesses the flexibility to quickly adjust and optimise their strategies according to changing market trends or shifts in customer behaviour. This adaptability helps businesses stay ahead and stay visible to their local audience.

The Challenges Small Businesses Face

When aiming for success in local SEO, small businesses face particular challenges that can be tough barriers to their online growth. Let's look into these obstacles and talk about ways to overcome them.

Limited resources

Small businesses often face challenges due to limited budgets and a small team when entering the world of local SEO. Unlike big corporations with more resources, smaller enterprises need a strategic approach. 


For small businesses, dealing with competition is always tough. It's a challenge to stand out when big companies are also trying to get noticed in local searches. 

Online Reputation

In today's digital world, a business's online reputation is crucial. Small businesses must carefully handle online reviews to maintain a positive image. 

Some Local Strategies Businesses Can Implement

Small businesses can compete on an equal footing by using smart strategies to make a big impact. Let's explore three important tactics designed to help small enterprises keep up and stand out in the local SEO scene.

Optimising your Google My Business

To ace small business SEO, start by using Google My Business (GMB). Mastering GMB boosts visibility in local searches, making it easier to attract nearby customers. Here are some great tips on optimising your Google business profile:

  1. Complete your profile

Ensure that all the information in your GMB profile is complete and accurate. This includes your business name, Google Maps address and phone number, website link, business hours, and categories.

  1. Add quality photos

Upload high-quality images of your business, including the interior, exterior, and any products or services you offer. Visuals can significantly impact a customer's decision to engage with your business.

  1. Collect and respond to reviews

Encourage satisfied customers to leave positive reviews. Respond promptly to both positive and negative reviews, demonstrating your engagement and commitment to customer satisfaction.

  1. Include relevant attributes

Add attributes that provide additional information about your business, such as whether it's wheelchair-accessible, offers outdoor seating, or has free Wi-Fi. This helps customers choose businesses based on specific features.

  1. Monitor insights

Regularly check the insights provided by Google My Business. Understand how customers find your business, where they come from, and what actions they take. Use this data to refine your local SEO strategy.

  1. Implement local SEO keywords

Try and do some keyword research and incorporate relevant local keywords in your business description, services, and posts. This can improve your GMB profile's visibility when people search for businesses in your area.

  1. Ensure consistency across platforms

Ensure that the information on your GMB profile matches the information on your website and other online platforms like Facebook and Instagram. Consistency builds trust with both customers and search engines.

For example, check out our client Supa Group Construction, who has filled out their GMB with all the right info and gathered 65 reviews. If you want to know how we helped these guys achieve +50% revenue growth, read our Supa Group case study.

Localised Content

Crafting content that connects with your local audience is a powerful tool in the world of local SEO. Whether it's adjusting blog posts, social media updates, or website content, small businesses can build a personal connection, nurturing trust and loyalty among their audience.

For example, check out this bakery in Adelaide providing a response to a customer asking about gluten-free pie options. Although the baking doesn’t provide them, they do offer other gluten-free products from another bakery in Adelaide. 

👋 Pssst, if you're a small business looking for an SEO Agency in Adelaide - hit us up!

Mobile Optimisation

In today's mobile-dominated era, having a small business website that works well on phones is necessary. Mobile optimisation matters for local searches, ensuring small businesses reach a large part of their potential audience. A mobile-friendly site improves the user experience and fits well with local search algorithms, making the business more visible when customers are on the move.

Here are 3 hot tips for a mobile-friendly website

  1. A responsive design

Make sure your website has a responsive design that adjusts to different screen sizes. This ensures that it works well on all devices, like smartphones and tablets. A responsive design makes your content adapt smoothly, giving users a friendly experience on any device.

👋 Pssst, EngineRoom again - we also help with website development.

  1. Optimise loading speed

Make sure your website loads quickly for mobile users. Speed it up by compressing images, reducing HTTP requests, and using browser caching. Tools like Google PageSpeed Insights can show you where to make improvements. Faster loading makes users happy and helps your site rank better on search engines.

  1. Mobile-friendly navigation

Make navigation easy for mobile users. Use a mobile-friendly menu like a hamburger menu to help users access different parts of your site on smaller screens. Focus on important info and ensure buttons and links are easy to tap. Simplifying navigation makes users happier and more engaged.

For an example of some great website navigation, check out our client, Trav’s Trees. On their desktop website, we’ve implemented easy-to-follow structured navigation.

For their mobile version, we’ve simplified the navigation and provided links to their different service pages lower on the page so the navigation menu isn’t overcrowded. 

And, of course, we’ve also completed a case study on how we helped Trav’s Trees see a 500% SEO conversion growth. You can read the case study here.  

Tools and Resources for Small Businesses

In the journey of mastering local SEO, having the right local SEO tools and resources at your disposal is like having a reliable compass. Here, we'll explore essential tools and resources that can empower small businesses to navigate the complexities of local business SEO effectively.

1. Google My Business (GMB): This isn't just a listing; it's your digital storefront. GMB is a crucial tool that enhances your visibility in local searches. 

2. Google Search Console: Another invaluable tool from the Google suite, Search Console provides insights into how Google views your site. 

3. Google Ads: Google Ads is a powerful advertising platform that enables businesses to create incredibly targeted ads, reaching potential customers through Google's extensive network and boosting visibility in search results.

👋 Pssst, we also help businesses with Google Ads.

4. Local business listings: Adding your business to local business listing websites like BrightLocal, White Pages, and other directories helps provide essential information to local customers and contributes to a business's online presence.

Future Trends in Local SEO

To stay ahead of the local SEO game, small businesses must stay updated. Let's quickly check out the upcoming trends shaping local SEO's future, so you can be ready for what's coming.

1. Voice Search Optimisation: With the rise of voice-activated devices like Siri and Alexa, optimising for voice searches is becoming increasingly important. 

Want to see how it works? Ask Google right now if EngineRoom is an SEO agency in your area.

2. Hyperlocal Targeting: The future of local SEO is getting hyperlocal. Hyperlocal targeting focuses on reaching an extremely specific local audience, allowing businesses to connect with customers at a granular level within a particular geographic area.

3. Visual Search: Visual search involves using images rather than text to initiate online searches, allowing users to explore and find information based on visual content, making it a significant aspect of online search experiences.

EngineRoom Can Help Your Local Business

If reading the future trends in local SEO makes you nervous, or you still think your small business doesn’t stand a chance against the big guys, then we’re here to help. 

At EngineRoom, we can help create a targeted local SEO strategy for your business so you can reach the right customers in the right area. It's time to shine in the digital spotlight; contact us today.

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