SEO. If you’re a business owner or you have your own website, you’ve probably heard it, but what exactly does it mean? SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. It is used to increase traffic to your website from free and organic search results on search engines, like Google.
Local SEO is an effective way to market your business online. It is slightly different than general SEO practices because it focuses on providing results that are relevant to a search based on their current location. Google recently learned that one in three US mobile requests is a local search. Google also found that 95% of mobile users look up information on their phones and their main purpose is to call or visit a business. As a business owner, you can’t afford not to take advantage of those trends!
Here is how you can get started on improving your local business:
Google My Business
The first step to growing your business locally is by using Google My Business. It’s free and only takes about 5 minutes to set up. This will help people in your area find out who you are and where you are. People can review your business, post pictures, and visit your website or contact you directly.
NAP (Name, Address, and Phone number) citations play a huge role in determining your rank. Your businesses contact info must be identical across all websites, social outlets, or business directories. This will add more credibility to your business. Google can penalize your ranking if it isn’t consistent.
Other Directories and Outlets
The next step to adding local authority is to expand your business on other directories like Facebook, Foursquare, TripAdvisor, and more. Yelp and Bing also show a great deal of search results. Bing Business Places has proven to be a successful tool as well. While ensuring consistency across all sites can be tedious, it is well worth the time spent.
Customer reviews add credibility to your business. Most people will check out reviews before investing in a company. How can you get people to go leave reviews on Yelp or Google? Offer them a deal. People love coupons, discounts, or giveaways. You can pass out coupons or have online coupons. Tell your customers if they leave a review on your page, they will receive a free small coffee, for example. Another way to boost your clientele would be to offer the customers a coupon if they subscribe to your emailing list. Once you have their contact info, you can reach out to them to leave a review in exchange for another deal.
Keywords and Content
Using keywords in your website can help direct traffic to you. Most people add blogs to their website to produce fresh content and write with relevant keywords. Updates help keep your site active and can help you keep a high ranking. This is why blogs are getting more and more popular with businesses. Put yourself in someone else’s shoes. Imagine you own a small, local coffee shop. For example, someone could search “organic coffee” or “cozy coffee shop San Antonio.” Implementing any of those key words in your site can help direct traffic to you.
Improving Local SEO 2017
Getting noticed on Google is harder than ever because of competitors trying to get the same rankings. Google’s algorithm is constantly changing, and that means the local ranking factors from 2016 aren’t effective anymore. If you focus on a few specific ranking factors, you can maximize your SEO efforts. Here are a few ways you can optimize your website for today:
If you have done any research into SEO, you have certainly come across the saying, “content is king!” This phrase gets a lot of use because, unlike many digital marketing tips or tricks, it has stood the test of time. Content has been one of the most important Google ranking factors for businesses. However, the content is starting to change from keyword-focused content towards more relevant content, which is written in a natural language people understand. Studies have shown that focusing on including keywords in your webpage aren’t as effective as they used to be. Google is starting to evaluate content by its relevance rather than keywords. New algorithms are also placing value on relevance and have shown that long-form content ranks higher than short-term content. This is because there is more detail placed on the subject. However, since cell phone usage is at its peak, written mobile content is being cut down by almost 35 percent. So, if you are looking to improve your website, make sure your content is thorough and relevant to your audience.
Another important Google ranking factor is backlinks. More links will help you keep a higher score, but the links must be from diverse and professional domains. To make a successful link building campaign, create content people crave and promote it. Facebook is the social platform with the highest user interaction so it makes a great outlet to promote your content. Once others in your industry read your article and link to your page, Google will consider your content more relevant than your backlink’s content. Doing this will help you hit three important ranking signals: number of backlinks, link authority, and link diversity.
The main steps to take are create high-quality content and promote. Link building is all about marketing your brand, product, or website to your target audience. Links are the largest factor that will add value to search engines and your site. If you feature someone’s website or article in your post, reach out to them, let them know they were featured, and ask them to share. You can also try partnering with other businesses for back-links to benefit each other.
Mobile-First User Experience
Last year, Google made a big change when it shifted towards mobile-first indexing. Instead of searching the desktop version on websites, it will mainly search mobile sites. Mobile optimization is key to businesses today because people are always on the go and will search information directly from their phone. This is going to be the most important change this year. The content on your website must be identical and responsive on all mobile platforms.
If you are building a mobile version of your site, wait until it is completed to release it. If you release an incomplete version, it could hurt your rankings. Another important factor here is speed. On a desktop, a page should take about one to three seconds to load. On a phone, it should take no more than two seconds. If your page is slow, find an auditing tool to help you figure out what is slowing it down so you can fix it. We live in a fast-paced society, and people want things now.
There are many benefits to local SEO and it is an ever-evolving industry. Google is constantly making changes and we need to stay up-to-date. First get the basic local SEO factors down. Then, improve your SEO by adding the trends that will be playing a big factor in this year’s rankings. As long as you prioritize updating and improving your website, you will stay ahead of the competition.
If you have a specific question about local SEO or your business’ SEO needs are too much for you to handle on your own, call Digital Marketing Sapiens at 210-582-5842 to schedule a consultation today.