Regardless of your type of business, it’s likely that competitors continue to pop up everywhere in your local community making it harder and harder for you to retain customers and find new ones. While traditional advertising methods and networking can still add value to your business, a solid local SEO plan can help put you on top once again as more and more customers start their search for local businesses on Google.
As a business owner, you should never stop looking for the best ways to dominate the market. This ultimate guide to local SEO can help you achieve this goal.
Start with the On-Page Requirements
Throwing up a website with no on-page SEO work can be detrimental to your business.
Make sure the following items have been checked off your list:
- Page Title – Whether it’s your homepage or a subpage, make sure the page title includes your target keyword for that page. For example, if you own a moving company in Dallas, some of the most competitive keywords are “Dallas movers”, “moving companies Dallas”, and “movers in Dallas”. Make sure that one of these top keywords is placed at the beginning of your homepage title. Search engines will know from your title what your page is about.
- Page Headers – Page header should also have your main keywords plugged in at some point.
- URLS – Always pay attention to the URLS you use for each page. Include the keyword in the URL and make sure it’s easy for both the search engine and a human to understand.
- Internal Links – Internal linking should be simple and easy to understand as well. Your website should be constructed in the form of a pyramid; the homepage should be at the top, followed by separate subpages for each keyword, and another set of subpages for your initial subpages. These subpages should also contain keywords that are relevant to each other.
- Content – Content on your main website pages should include your targeted keywords. Don’t overload the page with too many keywords (aka keyword stuffing); three to four mentions per 500 words should be fine. Always spread the keywords out evenly on the page.
In addition to the above-mentioned items, local businesses should also have a “locations” page and a “contact us” page. It’s very important to keep your business information up to date and displayed in the exact same way that it is on other websites, like directories and social media profiles.
Off-Page Local SEO Factors that must be Implemented
Once the on-page factors have been taken care of, start the process of ensuring your off-page SEO factors have been completed.
First, if you haven’t already, create social media profiles with all the major companies (Facebook, LinkedIn, Google Plus, Twitter, Yelp, etc.) and begin to post relevant, daily content that people will enjoy reading. Each post should also contain a link to a relevant page on your website.
Next, add yourself to local online business listings, online maps like Google and Yahoo, and review websites. Call previous customers and ask for reviews, if possible. This will help boost your credibility online. When adding your business into a directory, make sure your contact information looks just like it does on your website.
The Not-So-Obvious: Being Competitive with Google and Recent Changes
A competitive Google ranking has always been a major goal for local business owners. It’s important to be aware of some recent changes that they’ve made to their local listings in search results.
While Google Maps is still extremely important, Google emphasizes the need to continually create content as a way to be found locally. If you and a competitor are the same distance away from a potential customer who is searching for your services, the business that publishes the most relevant content will most likely be displayed ahead of the other business. Back to our mover example, relevant content would include articles on the topic of moving (i.e. “How to Move for Less”, “Tips for Packing Your Home”, “What to Know When Moving with Pets”) or location relevant topics (i.e. “Best Places for Brunch in Dallas”, “Coolest Neighborhoods in DFW”, “Top 7 Family-Friendly Destinations in the Big D”).
The most important thing to remember is it is always necessary to feed Google relevant information about your business. This can come in the form of new content on your website, new links to your website, updated social media feeds and more.