Many small and medium sized business owners think that local SEO is something of a dark art cloaked in mystery, but really it isn’t all that difficult if you have a bit of time to spend. Most webmasters can do a lot of the work themselves without relying on the services of an SEO agency, but for those who do require a bit of expert guidance, we are always here to help. And for those of you who want to have a go, here are a few simple tips to get you on the right path.
Local SEO: Identify Your Target Audience
Different audiences require different approaches to content creation. For this reason, you need to spend a bit of time considering who you are marketing your website at. A more in-depth understanding of your target audience and their buying habits will help you make the right decision when identifying keywords and devising marketing strategies.
Keywords are extremely important. Search engines use keywords to determine what your website is all about, so using relevant keywords will boost your rankings. The Google Keyword Planner is a useful tool. Use the planner to find out what people are searching for in your local area and pick the keywords that most accurately describe what your business is offering. Location based keywords – for example Chicago plumbers – are important, but be sure to include non-local keywords, too.
Create a Blog
Don’t underestimate the value of a blog. All small and medium sized businesses should have a blog. A blog ensures your website is regularly updated with fresh content, which is valuable from a search engine perspective. You can build keywords into your blog posts and link to other website pages, both of which are effective SEO techniques. Including share buttons on blog posts also encourages readers to ‘share’ them on social media, which is good for boosting traffic to the site.
Local Contact Information
All small and medium sized businesses should have contact information on their website. A contact email address is not enough – you need to include a geographical address and telephone number (in text form) on every page of your website. If you have more than one office, list the details of your main office on each web page and include a separate listing for branch offices. These details are crucial for local SEO but, sadly, many businesses overlook their importance.
Local Directory Listings
Directory listings have become devalued in recent years, but for small and medium sized businesses, good quality local directory listings are worth their weight in gold. Yahoo!, Yelp, Yellow Pages and other business directories will help your search engine ranking position, but make sure your listing information is exactly the same as that on your website. Even the smallest of discrepancies will hurt you. It is also worth creating a Google+ and Google Places account.
This is only a summary of how local SEO can help your business. If you would like to learn more, contact us today for more information.