Local Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
While catering to your existing, loyal customers may be the central portion of your business, you should always make sure that you have new traffic coming in. Keeping your site up to date can be difficult sometimes as well. In addition, your SEO may be in need of an update. For some, that means updating your SEO practices to align with your current sites traffic needs, however for some, it may mean starting from scratch. Many businesses up until now have decided that SEO wasn’t for them, assuming that it’s far too expensive, or too difficult.
Luckily, you don’t have to do it alone.
These steps are key for every business, and put into practice they can help improve the visibility of your site in search engines, bringing you more clients that are loyal.
1. Choose Relevant Keywords
One of the most frequently overlook steps, is to choose keywords that are not only relevant to your business and services, but also relevant to your visitor. If for example, you own a shoe store in Phoenix, Arizona, the keywords ‘phoenix Arizona shoe store’ are going to be helpful to you.
The best way to organize these keywords and ideas is to use an Excel sheet. Depending on the type of competition you have, it might be hard to earn a higher ranking for your key phrase or ‘head term’. It is, however, much easier for you to rank keywords that are specific only to your business. These are called ‘long tail’ keywords.
In addition, one of the better updates to Google’s SEO framework includes a better understanding of how each term will relate to another. For example, someone looking for a ‘course’ will also discover search results for sites optimized with the keyword ‘classes.
At this point, your job is to understand and pick out the words that your customers will use the most when looking for services and business that are like yours.
2. Update Your Content and Website
There is nothing better for your site than original, high quality, custom content. Today, this content is a huge part of your website, for SEO and your visitors. In spots where it seems ‘natural’, be sure to include your city and state. This will help visitors and search engines understand where you’re located. Be sure to update your contact page when necessary and include the name of your company, your address, your phone number and a map if able.
If you’re looking for other ways to appeal to visitors, consider updating your meta information. Some parts you can update are:
Your Meta Title: This title will be seen whenever your page receives a backlink or is shared or social sites. Make sure that this title is something that will draw visitors in and has relevancy for real people.
Your Meta Description: This is the description that shows up when others Google your keywords and your site is shown in the results. Be sure to make it inviting and friendly as well as interesting to read.
You should be adding the best content you can create, and the more, the better. Make sure that your content is not repetitive, that it’s free of mistakes and grammatical errors, in addition to offering valuable advice, information or entertainment value to your potential clients.
Once you’ve finished with your keywords, you can begin looking into other ideas that are not tied into your website directly.
3. Claim Your Local Listings, including Google Local
Be sure that you are creating and claiming all the listings that belong to you, locally. Each listing represents a citation for your business, which are important since they are used by Google to rank you in the search engine results. These citations are counted whether they include a backlink or not. Consider creating business listings for yourself on other sites, including Google, Yahoo Local, Bing and other local forums/directories.
If you need a comprehensive list of all the places your business already appears on the web, consider using GetListed.org in order to check it out.
4. Use your Social profiles wisely and ask for REAL reviews
Along with the upsurge in mobile media, your social profiles and online reviews are great ways to begin earning higher rankings. You should ensure that every social profile you use has your actual location, your business name, and a backlink to your site. Do your very best to make sure that these match across all of the platforms you choose to use.
On Facebook specifically, you can make sure your page is listed as a local business, so that others can ‘check in’ when the visit you. If you encourage others to do this, you can increase your ability to rank higher in the Facebook search. Sometimes, when someone checks in at your place of business and you don’t have a Facebook page, a ‘place’ is created for you automatically. Go through and claim credit for all of these likes!
In addition to social media updates, be sure that you are receiving real reviews of your services from real people. Never, ever, try to solicit or trade services for reviews. Your customers will catch on and it will end in nothing but sadness for you. Save yourself the misery and simply request that clients, who have used your services, leave a short review of their experiences on sites like Google My Business and Facebook. One is enough too. Inform your clients that there is no need to post the same review in multiple spots. Don’t badger your customers for positive reviews either. Genuine reviews will be more beneficial for you than fake sounding reviews that were clearly written by compensated individuals.
5. Go Mobile
There is no denying that mobile is the future. With over 1 million devices being activated every day, businesses need to make mobile support a priority. Many of your customers that you may be missing are on mobile devices, searching and retrieving information while they’re on the go.
If you don’t have a mobile site or even a social profile yet, you really need to catch up.
Begin by looking into your mobile responsiveness. Note how your page looks on multiple mobile devices. Is your website responsive? Is it hard to read? Is the information missing or not loading? View your mobile presence as your customer would, in order to improve the experience the next time they visit.
If you’re just starting to expand into mobile marketing, be sure to include at least your contact page, services page and about page. In addition, try to stay away from Flash or PDF technology, which can be hard to use for some popular devices.
6. Review What Works
This kind of task can be daunting so it’s best to begin small. Make one change at a time and review the results after a week or so, before moving on to another change. Set up tools that will help you track your analytics and give you something that you can understand at the end. One of the best tools for doing this is AWR Cloud. After you start it up, you can add your keywords, set your updates and keep an eye on you progress.
On a weekly basis, go over your information and see what works and what doesn’t. You can check to see if your traffic is improving or suffering, and make the necessary updates to counteract any negative changes.
Although it may seem like a lot to do, these changes can be done over time, so that you can review the results of your hard work and determine what will be beneficial for you in the future. Begin with step one and start implementing your strategies to succeed. The best way to go about these changes is to schedule a dedicated time to complete it, and work hard to meet your deadline. You can do a little bit each day to succeed by the end of the week, but be sure to start on it right away to see the most benefit for your business. Welcome, to the age of SEO.