Chances are you depend on your website to send more customers to your local business. This sounds so simple in theory yet requires so much more effort in practice. Although your website plays a key role in driving traffic to your business, a website is only as effective as its search engine optimization (SEO). If you want to stay ahead of your local competition, you need to outrank them for local searches. The only way to do this is to outsmart them in their SEO strategy. Here we explain how SEO services help you do just that.
Prioritizing Your Google My Business Account
SEO services know that your ranking as a local business depends on your Google My Business (GMB) account. As a result, they prioritize your GMB profile and ensure every detail you can provide is completely optimized to help move you up the rankings. This is a free Google service, yet many small businesses fail to leverage its rank-boosting powers.
Your SEO experts will complete your GMB profile so customers see all the details they need to know about your business in the local Google Search results. They’ll ensure you have that neat little red pin showing your location on Google Maps by:
- Providing every ounce of information required for your profile, from an up-to-date logo to operating hours and from the products and services you offer to the payment you accept
- Taking advantage of the post feature to keep your customers up to date on what’s happening or to show off what you can do
- Helping collect reviews to influence customer decisions
- Providing customer feedback for GMB comments
These steps ensure you hold a prominent position in the Google local search sidebar.
Building Local Content
Although you might have engaged, informative content on your website right now, if you don’t include local content, search engines won’t think of you in terms of a local company. This can destroy your local search ranking. SEO services understand the importance of building high-quality local content to attract local customers. This isn’t just about throwing in your town or city name randomly and unnaturally throughout existing content. Instead, it requires authentic content focused on your community.
This is also an opportunity to develop your brand personality and let customers know more about your sense of social responsibility. Local content is very personalized information that might include news on the local events you participate in, the charity work you are involved with, team projects that promote sustainability or help protect the environment, etc. The key is showing you celebrate local achievements, support the local community, and offer specific services in your area.
Building Location Pages
If your business is small but operates a few locations, you can also create location-specific web pages to reflect each location. This is hyper-local content specific to the micro areas in which you operate. For example, you might deliver pizzas and have two or three locations throughout the town. Each location delivers to specific areas and might have specific business information, including the address, phone number, different hours, parking availability for pick-up orders or even special promotions related to a grand opening.
Location pages allow you to draw attention to your location(s) with unique content that avoids duplication. Duplicate content confuses search engines and interferes with your ranking. Although your services might be identical at each location, location pages are optimized with location keywords and tell the same story using completely unique phrasing. Whether you have one location or several, a location page uses local descriptions relevant to your area.
Listing with Relevant Online Directories
Online directories play a significant role in boosting your local SEO. This is because it provides one more place to legitimize your existence and verify your address so local searchers find you. It starts with popular directories like Yelp, MapQuest, and Foursquare and gets even better with a mention of your Chamber of Commerce membership with an external inbound link. It also includes local and industry-specific directories that allow you to provide local SEO-boosting details such as:
- Your NAP (business name, address, and phone number)
- Your business description
- Links to your site
However, even if you already have listed with every possible online directory, if you haven’t ensured every NAP is written out exactly the same on each directory, it actually can backfire on you. Search engines love consistency and get confused by little inconsistencies such as using Ave, Avenue and Ave. across different directories, typos, outdated phone numbers, or not mentioning a unit number for your address. Everywhere your NAP appears should be identical to your GMB profile, website, and social media.
Creating a Local Keyword Strategy
We probably don’t have to mention your SEO depends on the right keywords to draw attention to relevant searches. However, if you aren’t using local keywords, your efforts are wasted. Even if you are in a micro niche you managed to carve out for yourself, if you depend on local customers, they won’t find you without local keywords.
SEO services research local keywords based on your location and industry. This helps drive content that becomes relevant to local customer searches. The content is also improved and enriched to avoid bounces that reduce the effectiveness of your SEO strategy. Increased time on the page is key to rankings. SEO services also consider search intent to include phrases that align with the context of a searcher’s purpose. Local SEO requires three elements:
- Industry-related keywords
- Local keywords
- Keyword modifiers commonly used by searchers (like best or closest)
Combine these elements in your local keyword strategy, and you’re sure to see improved ranking.
Developing More Inbound Links
Inbound links are links leading to your site from another site. When legitimate, trusted sites choose to link to your content, it tells Google they view you as completely trustworthy, knowledgeable, and legit. Getting inbound links isn’t easy and requires some legwork and networking to start building a strong community of like-minded, respected thought leaders. However, it can begin with simple links from easier-to-reach sources such as:
- Trade associations
- Business improvement districts
- Your vendors
- Chamber of Commerce
You can get these inbound links with little effort, but it takes smart planning to approach industry-related leaders. For example, an SEO service can recommend sites you might approach to become a guest blogger. You might also participate in relevant forums to help establish expertise or offer to become a resource in the community. Participating in webinars, working with or interviewing influencers and notable people in your community, or getting listed on affiliate directories also helps build your inbound links.
Creating a Responsive Website
Responsive websites ensure that regardless of what device visitors use, your website remains easy to use and read. Google prioritizes mobile-friendly websites to provide a more enjoyable user experience. An SEO service will design a responsive website that creates a scrollable, easy-to-navigate site that includes:
- Dynamic serving to reflow web pages to create enjoyable experiences for all devices
- Compressing images, so they load faster and appear in high quality
- Well-presented content with scannable headers, engaging images and short, concise paragraphs for easy reading
- Dynamic forms that make it easy to fill out requests for information, quotes, etc.
- Improved page speed to ensure pages load in seconds
- Proper use of titles and meta descriptions
- Improved design with easy-to-read fonts, colors, and images that make pages understandable and relevant
- Correcting all pages with potential 404 errors (file not found)
- Removing content with issues such as videos that don’t play, links that go nowhere, or outdated tech like flash animation or pop-ups that don’t display properly
- Easy to click links within content that are nicely spaced to reduce the risk of inadvertently clicking the wrong link
- Internal links that go to relevant content that is also dynamically displayed
These upgrades improve user experience and optimize SEO.
Ongoing Site Testing and Monitoring
SEO services ensure your site is always functioning at peak performance with regular testing. They will run Google testing tools and monitor your Google console to find and correct errors that interfere with SEO performance. Testing keyword performance is also important as it ensures you remain up to date on the most relevant keywords in your industry. They try new keywords and phrases to help improve rankings and consider keywords that are less competitive that will provide an edge over the competition. You want to know how your keywords are performing and whether they are improving your ranking. They will:
- Monitor your backlinks and ensure they are high quality while removing backlinks to questionable sites that can ruin your SEO
- Compare organic traffic from keywords to traffic generated from ads
- Measure time spent on page to see if their content strategy is helping
- Keep an eye on bounce rates to improve content where people leave the page too quickly
- Measure clicks through rates to identify higher-performing pages and their relation to SEO strategy
In other words, they provide expertise to ensure your SEO strategy continues to improve your ranking to help meet your business goals.
Schedule a complimentary call with our team to discuss your local SEO strategy!