The search landscape is a living entity. It changes from day to day—sometimes in large and significant ways (like Google’s Panda update), and sometimes changes are smaller and less apparent.
Local search engine optimization (SEO) can be a challenging undertaking with huge potential benefits. Although it might seem simple—update a phone number here, plug some keywords there—many SEO techniques require constant monitoring, modification, and improvement. This might seem a bit imposing, and that’s perfectly OK! Taking the time to understand and implement the tactics outlined below will make your business stand out amongst your competition.
As a small business owner, you may have heard people making bold statements like, “Keywords don’t matter anymore!” While search engines have made significant progress in combating keyword abuse (i.e. the keyword meta tag is all but obsolete), to say that they have wholly stopped taking keywords into account is simply a misunderstanding of how search has evolved.
Potential visitors are using specific terms to find you online. Knowing what those keywords/phrases are is immensely valuable.
Some keywords are more saturated than other, which makes them more difficult to rank for. Focusing on these saturated keywords may be less effective than focusing on long-tail keyword phrases. Couple long-tail keywords with geographical keywords and you have a winning combination.
To find which keywords consumers are searching for to find you, look no further than Google Analytics and Google Search Console.
In Google Analytics, click on the Acquisition tab in the left sidebar, then click the Campaigns option. The Organic Keywords data will show you keywords/phrases that your content is ranking for in the organic SERPs. If you use AdWords, you can also view which keywords you are ranking for in paid search as well under Acquisition > AdWords > Keywords.
This tactic will only show you keywords that your website is ranking for, which is great—but wouldn’t it be even better if you could see what your competitors were ranking for too? The good news is you can.
Using a service like SimilarWeb, Follow.net, or SpyFu allows you to track your competitors keywords and provides tons of other valuable insight into your competition’s strategy. Digging into the data provided by these services can give you some very valuable insight regarding your competitors’ strategies.
Link building is one of the best ways to increase your qualified website traffic. A tried and true SEO method, acquiring high-quality links increases the authority of your brand—but it shouldn’t be done carelessly.
Inbound links are more valuable if they come from reputable pages, such as an industry-leading blog or news outlet. On the flip side of the coin, backlinks from websites with a high spam score can be damaging to your SEO.
Backlinks are something that needs to be monitored. The best way to do this is using Google’s Search Console to assess where links are coming from and if there are helping or harming your website. If your website is being negatively affected by spammy backlinks, you can ask Google to ignore these links using the disavow tool.
So, how do you go about building quality backlinks? It starts with creating high-quality content that other websites want to link to.
Once you’ve created your content, seeking out links is a manual process. Find websites that you want to establish a link on and send them an email or give them a call. Often times you’ll have better luck if you offer to exchange links, instead of just asking them to link back to you.
Generating regular content, such as a weekly blog post, is the best way to attract attention and return visitors to your website.
One of the cornerstones of SEO is providing value to visitors. Posting unique content that offers a different perspective or extra information will rank higher than cookie-cutter home page templates and manufacturer’s product descriptions.
Use Images and Videos
Visitors are more likely to remember information that’s contained in images and video on a website, and they’re also more likely to share that information by linking to it on social media or their own Web pages. Creating and sharing popular images is a key way to make your website more attractive, which earns repeat visitors.
Keep in mind that images on their own won’t help SEO page rankings because search engines can’t categorize them. Making use of image tags to assign keyword descriptions gets around this problem and lets your image quality contribute to page rank the same way your text content does.
Creating content and sharing it with an interested audience is a great way to boost web traffic. Unique content that encourages visitors to like and follow social media accounts keeps them engaged with a business or brand and generates repeat traffic. Building social media accounts can be a time-intensive process, but pays off as an effective marketing tool that reaches a group of consumers that are already invested in the product.
Reviews are essential to a local SEO campaign. Searchers are more willing to trust content provided by businesses with a track record, and trust leads to increased traffic. Even though many reviews are posted off-site, they measurably increase a site’s credibility and ranking.
Cultivating reviews can be challenging. Requesting customer reviews by email is the most effective way to generate positive remarks.
More and more often, people are accessing Web pages from tablets and smartphones, and a web site’s mobile friendliness is becoming increasingly important. Make sure visitors can navigate easily by designing mobile-friendly menus and simpler page elements for small screens, and website traffic will improve.
Keep in mind that the target market for a local SEO campaign is a geographic area. Tailor marketing efforts — such as keyword targeting and link building — to a local area and keep these seven tricks to increase traffic in mind, and any campaign is sure to be successful.