Search Engine Optimization (SEO) runs abound in almost every successful website. It’s become a pillar of the modern-day online marketer, and for a good reason – it works.
It’s a common notion that SEO is daunting and a waste of time to compete against the giant corporations of the world. And, in some aspects, that may be true. You’re not going to be able to snag the keywords “Walmart” or “Target.”
But, that doesn’t mean your website or business can’t be successful in terms of SEO. It’s completely possible to maintain dozens of keywords and phrases that benefit your website.
Not implementing SEO is never a good idea, there are no downfalls to trying. However, there are many negatives to never trying to begin with.
An extremely undervalued niche in SEO is local SEO. Local SEO is optimizing for keywords and phrases that are relevant to a specific geographic area.
Here are some examples:
- Best bars in Westport
- BBQ in Kansas City
- Best cheese curds in Wisconsin
- Where to buy cheese in Callaway county
One of the most beautiful aspects of local SEO is that it isn’t tied to cities or regions, it’s tied to wherever your business is located.
Many of these regional or geographic keywords don’t have a lot of competition as the bigger websites and businesses target broader keywords and phrases to target a larger audience.
If you have a local business, optimizing for local SEO can be an incredible boost to your website and business traffic.
With that in mind, here are 3 steps to take to make your business boom by implementing local SEO to your website.
Select The Appropriate Keywords
The first step to any SEO campaign, local or otherwise, is to find the best keywords to optimize to see the best results for your website.
Begin by just making a list of topics that your website or service provides. For example, if you offer baked goods as a service, here are some things you’d want to include in this list:
- Baked goods
- Christmas cookies
- Wedding cakes
Take this list and go right to the source of information: Google. As you type in the list of topics you’ve created, Google will generate an automatically relevant search to help you complete what you were going to type.
This list is a wonderful sample of keywords you can use. They’re so good because Google is telling you that those keywords are what people are already searching for.
Try taking these keywords and phrases and adapting them to a specific geographic region. The keywords and phrases will have a lot less competition surrounding them with the added benefit of you already knowing that consumers are searching for these keywords.
Using Other Search Engines
Another good idea is to take these same topics and input them into other search engines (Bing, Yahoo, etc,.) or online forums around the internet such as Reddit.
Seeing what other search engines complete the keywords with may give you additional insight into other popular keywords.
By searching these topics in online forums or social media websites, you’ll be able to identify what people are interested in within a niche community. If you see a post about one of the topics you’ve identified gain a lot of attention, try incorporating or at least pay attention to the keyword you’ve come across.
Chances are you’ve uncovered an area of your service that people care about. Thus, that’s an area you could focus on with your keywords to drive more traffic to your website.
You can also create a free Google AdWords account to gain access to Google’s Keyword Planner.
This Keyword Planner will allow you to input your selected keywords to see how much traffic they generate on other websites. The planner will also suggest related keywords that you may not have considered or thought of yet.
Once you’ve identified the perfect keywords to optimize for local SEO, you’re ready to begin the process of implementing them.
Implementing Your Keywords
You’ll need to implement and optimize your keywords into two spaces for your local SEO campaign to be successful: in your website’s content and your Google My Business page.
Google My Business
Google My Business is a service that Google provides to business owners. The initial intent is for business owners to be able to interact with those who are leaving reviews on their website and provide a better experience to the consumer.
However, it’s also great for business owners to use to improve their SEO. You must fully complete your Google My Business account to fully utilize its benefits.
Here are the steps you must take:
- Verify your business: The first step to setting up your account is to verify that you own the business.
- Name, address, phone number: You’ll need to make sure that these are up to date, Google will crawl through this data and verify that it’s correct. Ensuring your information is correct will drive more users to your website.
- Categories: The categories you choose should be focused on the services you provide. Do a quick inventory of all the services you provide to a customer through your website or business and then select up to five categories that are most relevant to you.
- Description: A summary of your business and what you provide. Include the name of your business, contact info, what you provide, and location. Aim or a maximum of 200 words on the description.
- Hours: Communicating your hours of operation is imperative to good user experience and SEO.
- Images: Images will help develop your brand to a consumer. It shows them that you’re more than a business wanting to take their money. All images must be a maximum of 5 megabytes in size and have a minimum resolution of 720px x 720px.
After you’ve successfully added Google My Business into your arsenal of tools to compete in the SEO world, start adding the keywords you’ve chosen throughout the application.
Don’t overuse or stuff your Google My Business with keywords. It can be easy to do but have nasty consequences. Search engines will take note if a service or website is overstuffing keywords into their content and they’ll even lower their “score” and harm their search engine result rankings.
Content On Your Website
The next step is to disperse your chosen keywords throughout the content on your website. Some may see that as a daunting and time-consuming task. However, it can be easily done.
Take into account your title tag, meta description, and the copy on your webpages. Make sure these are reflecting the keywords you’ve chosen.
The keywords should end up being an actual representation of what your website or business provides, so they’ll integrate perfectly into title tags and meta descriptions.
For your webpage’s copy, the content should be lengthy. If you run a blog or provide written content for your website, the copy should be at least 1,000 words long and be relevant and valuable to the reader.
If you’re not providing much-written content, try starting a weekly blog. Post things that are related to your keywords, which should be related to the services you’re providing. This can help generate backlinks to your website, establish yourself as an authority, as well as being an excellent space to implement some of your keywords or phrases.
Reviews, Reviews, Reviews
Did I say reviews? The reviews that are left on Google’s services are incredibly important to increasing your search engine rankings.
The reviews let Google and other search engines know that you have a legitimate business and that people are using the services you provide. It also can encourage other consumers to give your website or business a shot.
Generally, all reviews (positive or negative,) are good for your website. However, the positive reviews are going to be the most helpful in implementing good local SEO.
One of the easiest and simplest ways to get reviews on your profile is to send customers a direct link to where they can leave a review. Try putting this in a newsletter you offer or if you send email confirmations to your customers.
However, Google doesn’t create this link. You’ll have to do it on your own. You can do this by clicking the “Write a Review button next to your business’s name by your profile preview. Use this link to send to people.
There’s also a handy-dandy application called “Google Review Link Generator.” This will allow you to generate a link to send to people. It’ll relieve some of the stress out of the process.
It may be a good idea to start with friends and family at first. Several negative reviews in a row at the start could severely impact a consumer’s perception of you. If you’re starting a new business, this can be detrimental to its success.
By having a solid base to start with, it won’t be long until you have hundreds of reviews for your business or website.
Generally, most people are willing to help others out. So, it can be a good idea to directly ask customers to leave a review. Try doing this in-person to leave a better impression.