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7 Simple Steps to Improve Your Local SEO

You’ve probably heard of the term SEO, especially when it’s thrown around in marketing. But what does it stand for? What does it mean? And why is local SEO what matters most for your small business?

SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization, which is the process of improving traffic to your website. This can mean improving the relevance of the people visiting your page, such as more qualified leads and building a larger audience. The goal of SEO is to essentially get your website to the top of Google’s Search Results. There are a lot of factors that go into improving SEO on your website, but the key to optimized, effective SEO is investing your efforts into what is most important to your business. 

In this blog we explain why focusing on Local SEO is the best investment for business owners and how to improve it. By focusing on Local SEO, you will improve your website traffic from a specific geographic location like a town or state, as opposed to the entire world. Why would you waste extra time, money, and effort on people who won’t end up as leads? Exactly – you wouldn’t!

Read more to learn the seven steps you can take to improve your local SEO ranking.

Understand Your Reach

Most businesses are limited by physical distance in servicing a customer. Google believes this too and focuses its algorithm on displaying the search results that are relevant to how close your business is in proximity to where the individual is. A simple example of this is the growth in the number of searches of “near me“, which represents the cornerstone of local SEO.

In ensuring this search is effective, the Google business listing is a key factor in deciding who is the closest business, and of course along with other aspects such as the location settings of the browser. An important aspect in obtaining a top-ranking position is based on this user intent, expressed as “near me”, and the closest solution.

Try this simple test: enter a search query of your business type, such as pizza places or accounting businesses, and append “near me” to the end. Consider this the first step in the customer journey in deciding who has solutions to their particular pain point or request. It is possible that you could go beyond a local area and target a much wider audience with a portion of your service or product offerings. In this case, it will require some additional SEO work or advanced planning. What is important, is to understand how far beyond a local reach is possible based on the Google search results from a specified location.

Figure Out Your Budget

Getting results with a local SEO strategy will require some effort and a bit of research. Good news! If you have the time to dedicate to this effort, and an understanding of these seven simple steps, you may be able to do this without actually spending any money. If not, we are happy to assist you and improve your ranking using these steps and more! Depending on the complexity of your business, this should be a modest cost.

As the online space becomes more competitive, doing nothing will only push your rankings further to the bottom. Recognize that the search engines have become the starting point in a journey of a customer in finding your business. When was the last time you even saw a Yellow Pages book, let alone used one? The first thing people do when they’re in a new area or don’t already know where they want to order takeout from is use Google.

Do you say toe-mato or to-mahto?

The search terms people will use to find your business is critical in targeting the right opportunities. Google does provide some free tools to research this. Here’s how to find those terms:

  1. You will need to open up a Google Ads account for your business
  2. Select the Keyword Planner tool.
  3. Search for keywords related to your business, or pull up your website’s homepage and find relevant keywords using the URL as a filter.
    Hint: Look for terms that cost the most, because if someone is willing to pay a lot for a click to their website, it must have value.
  4. As you get comfortable using the tool, you should be able to create a list of at least 5 to 15 different terms that best describe the services or products you provide.

Don’t Forget the Basics

You may have heard often of making changes to meta-data along with web copy as a technique for SEO. If you’re wondering, “Does that still matter as everything continues to advance so much?” and the answer is yes!

If your business has a limited reach, the only thing you need to do is make sure you specify the most popular cities within the landing pages’ meta titles, descriptions, and web copy. This is a simple and easy task that returns great results. Drawing from the list of keywords you selected from Step 4, assign 1-3 keywords per page on your website for modifications to the meta-data and web copy.

Hint: Spend some time to craft a compelling message in the titles and descriptions. You’re writing for your audience, not for Google.

Google’s Free Resource Everyone Can Use

Typically “free” means value, with limitations. In the case of Google Business Listing, this couldn’t be more wrong. As mentioned before, Business Listing is used in identifying the proximity of the user searching and your business. Going beyond this, Google uses some key fields within the Business Listing such as Category, to help influence the main search results. This simple function along with additional features such as Social Postings, Photos/Videos, Reviews, Hours of Service, and more, offers an opportunity to generate new sales by having your business listed multiple times on the first page.

Taking advantage of Google Business Listing is simple to do, and at times will display a lot of content about your business. Try doing a search for your business’s name. Are you pleased with the search results? It likely could be improved by adding that simple information. If you’re not sure where to start, give us a call!

Does social media engagement improve SEO ranking?

To answer the question, probably. While there’s no hard data or evidence to prove social media improves SEO, there are many believers (myself included) that this activity does increase the organic/direct traffic to your website. Google has been denying that social media helps since 2014 but companies like Hootsuite have performed their own experiments. This Hootsuite blog shows a positive correlation between social engagements and SEO ranking after an experiment performed using Twitter.

A higher SEO ranking paired with positive customer reviews and a thorough Business Listing help validate you as a trusted business – not just to Google, but your customers too. These are “behind the scenes” signals that Google uses to evaluate and apply in the Search Engine Ranking results.

Content is Still King, But Not First Priority

When trying to improve a website’s Search Engine Ranking, it is often said that having lots of content is critical to see results. Should this not be on the top of your list to be addressed?

For local SEO purposes, the tasks mentioned above could result in positive returns without having to make the investment in creating content. The changes in the Google algorithm, which recognizes local search results first, does require a more targeted approach in selecting keywords that would favor a searcher’s intent. The process of approaching a sensible strategy in creating content should involve utilizing various tools that measure keyword ranking and website analytics.

Are you happy with your SEO or just figuring out where to start? We are happy to offer you a free assessment or a more in-depth audit for improving your results, simply send us a message to get started.