Search engine optimization, or SEO, has become a milestone of online marketing. But when you're a small local business competing against a global conglomerate, it's easy to feel like you're in the rear.
Good news! A little planning and strategy can help you win the fight.
Here are our quick SEO tips you can get started with:
Get started with the technical aspects of SEO
Whether you use WordPress or Squarespace, there are ways to implement SEO. Start by researching. What keywords do you want to appear on the search engine results page (SERP)?
Get started optimizing your content for those keywords. Your goal should be to provide value to users who find your page because they have searched for your keyword on Google. Keep it in mind.
Another factor of SEO is security, therefore having an SSL certificate is not only important to increase the ranking of the algorithms, but also for the credibility of the brand. A site has SSL if the URL begins with HTTPS (not HTTP) and you see a padlock near the URL.
Find related keywords for your small business
Make a list of 20 to 50 keywords, then go to Google AdWords. Once you've created an account, if you haven't already, you can validate that the keywords you chose are used frequently in online searches.
You can also use a Google product called the Keyword Tool to find more keywords to build your list.
Use your keywords on every page of your website to help them rank higher when potential customers search for those keywords.
Start by using them in the right places:
Keyword in the page title:
First keywords in the content, second in the title (H1), and third in H2 and H3. The H2s come to be secondary titles and the H3 is separated within the previous ones. Should I put the chosen keyword in each title? No. Can I use synonyms and related words? Of course, yes.
Keywords within the page copy:
We tastefully use the keyword and keyword variations throughout the page copy. In doing so, make sure you don't use "keywords" repeatedly and meaninglessly, an old SEO practice now banned where the same keyword was used over and over again on a page. It is spam and earns negative points with Google.
Keywords as image names:
When we are going to upload an image to illustrate the text, it must be named with the keyword or with the title of the post. Once we have uploaded it, the content manager itself will give us the option of giving the photo a title and an 'alt text'. Both must include the keyword.
Create SEO backlinks to your site
The more sites that link to your site, the higher your ranking will be in searches. Ask related site owners to link to your site. Offer to carry a link to yours in exchange for a link.
Focus on the quality of the links. A link to your website from a chamber of commerce or a university website will help you to more than a dozen little-known blog links.
We recommend using an outreach email campaign to create some initial links on your website. You can find some amazing lists online if you look hard enough. As the number of inbound links increases, also make sure these start to turn into leads and sales so that you can track the success of each link for your business.
Post lots of high-quality content
The main goal of search engines is to help people find answers to their questions. Therefore, your best strategy to get a lot of traffic is to create engaging content (articles, videos, and photos) that provides quality information to your visitors. Make sure to update your content frequently to keep it relevant.
If you are in a local service industry, it is crucial that you implement a comprehensive local SEO strategy so that you appear at the top of searches whenever potential clients search for your services.
Remember that you want your content to be unique and useful, do not write lots for the simple fact of creating content. You must implement it to add value to your local community.
A good content strategy will also position you as a thought leader in your field.
Pro Tip: Use social media as part of your SEO strategy
Social media is a great ally in your SEO strategy because people also use social media platforms as search engines.
Oftentimes, they will search for companies or products using Facebook's search function, for example. Your business social media profile will also rank in search results when people search for your business or related terms.
This is a great way to increase your social media following and increase your SEO by sending regular traffic to your site.
Google My Business Optimization For Local Search Ratings
This is extremely important, as the local map package is basically what Google pulls together when they think a search query should display better on a local map instead of normal results.
When this happens, they will rank your business listing and a new set of ranking factors will come into play.
Rather than content, inbound links, or on-page SEO, you should rely on your GMB optimization, local listings, reviews, and other authority signals that let Google know that you are a good deal to display.
Other search engines have their own versions of GMB, so you'll want to create a list on their sites as well. The process will be very similar, but remember, they all have their way of ranking websites, so your results may vary.
Be patient with your SEO results
Monitor results from day one, but don't expect quick results. It usually takes a few months to climb significantly in search engine rankings.
Also, remember that SEO is constantly changing. What works today may not work in two or three years. Keep working on it and stay up-to-date on the latest changes affecting rankings.
We hope the article has been helpful and helps you with your strategies to improve your local search rankings.
If you need to hire an SEO marketing agency, fill out our simple online quote request and we will schedule a call for you.