While SEO for a local business might sound easy (simply target their local area, instead of broad keywords), there can be a lot of work involved in getting a campaign up and running properly.
The key is to build a plan and stick to it. To help you out, the team at SEOBook have outlined 6 steps below that will help you create a great SEO campaign for any local business.
Step 1. Building the Campaign Framework
When you begin to layout your campaign process you could follow a broader roadmap and adjust as necessary.
While links are still and will continue to be uber-important for the foreseeable future, it is wise to consider the rise of site engagement, social signals, and online PR. This is why when we talk about “local SEO” we talk about things like strategic ad buys, social media plays, and PPC for research purposes.
Step 2. Keyword Research
For an existing site you can pull keyword search data from whatever analytics package the client has as well as from both sets of webmaster tools (Bing and Google). You can cross reference that with current rankings to see where you might be able to score some quick wins.
For a new site, set up accounts on Google’s Webmaster Tools as well as Bing’s. These will come in handy down the road for more keyword data, link data, and site health reviews.
You can get some local and a bunch of broader keywords from tools like:
- AdWords Keyword Tool
- SeoBook Keyword Tool
- Ad Intelligence
- Yahoo Clues
- Google Trends
- Google Insights
- Bing’s Keyword Tool
If you find local volume lacking I suggest the following steps:
- Start with the targeted town’s (or towns) name and/or zip code(s) as modifiers
- Move up to a bigger nearby town or county if needed
- If volume is still sparse, move up to state level keyword modifiers
Step 3. Site Architecture and Content
Quite a few local sites are going to be your brochure-style sites. Site structure can vary quite a bit depending on the size and scope of the site. Since most local sites focus on a particular product or service it is wise to keep the following in mind:
- Stay far, far away from duplicate and NEAR duplicate content
- Avoid using the town/city names as the only modifiers where no difference exists between services or products
- Get the client involved in the content writing, they generally have lots of marketing or product material that you can pull from and give to a writer for topical ideas and industry jargon
- Consider hiring on a well-respected job board like problogger.net for specific content needs
- Don’t overdo internal linking with keyword rich anchors, especially on navigation
- Write your page titles and meta descriptions with click-thru’s in mind while mixing in broad and local keyword variations to help describe the site rather than simply to keyword stuff
Step 4. Tracking
Tracking is key, naturally, so you’ll need to pick an analytics package. While Google Analytics is the most popular, there are some fairly decent alternatives, including:
- Clicky (paid, recurring)
- HaveAMint (paid, one-time fee)
- Woopra (paid, recurring)
- Piwik (free)
Step 5. Planning Out Link Building
As for traditional link building, it’s fairly similar to non-local link building with respect to the broader overview of link outreach but can be niched down to focus on locality for both link equity and qualified traffic.
Some of the things you can do at the beginning of the link planning process would be:
- Make a list of the vendors you use, find out if they have a site and would be willing to link to you
- Local papers tend to have really favourable online advertising rates, exposure runs a close second to links and part of how I like to approach the link building process is to be everywhere (online) locally
- Set up Google alerts for your client’s brand and for local topics relevant to their product/service
- Talk to other local businesses about co-promotions on both your site, their site, and your social networks (if available)
- If you offer coupons and discounts to certain groups or demographics, get those posted on local sites as well
- In addition to competitive link research you can pull the backlinks of local chambers of commerce and local travel/tourist sites to find potential link opportunities
- Run a broken link checker on local resource sites, specifically ones that deal with local events, news, tourism and see if there are link opportunities for your client
Step 6. Expectations and Budget
The reality is that if you do not properly set and you take whatever budget comes your way you will not be able to provide quality service for very long, the campaign will not succeed, and you may do irreparable harm to your brand in your local market.
Plan it out correctly from the beginning and you should be able to produce the results required to keep the client and build up your brand in your local market.