Why is it that so many local businesses keep ignoring SEO?
It continues to baffle me. SEO is proven to work, and with a local focus, is a really cost effective way to drive customers to shops and businesses. Yet business owners continue to throw money away at antiquated marketing strategies and ignore SEO.
I can only put it down to fear and lack of understanding.
So hopefully this post will reduce the fear and help people understand how to do their own local SEO.
In terms of SEO, a locally focused campaign tends to yield much faster ranking results as there’s often less competition in cities, suburbs and neighbourhoods. Less competition also means it’s easier and cheaper to achieve the results you need.
So here goes:
Picking your keywords
The first step is getting your keywords right. There’s no rocket science here. Just find the best keywords that describe your shop, products or services and add “local” extensions.
e.g. “cheap shoes” => “cheap shoes pasadena”
And explore suburb level search terms. They might not be massive traffic terms, but they’ll be easier to rank on, and will often be used by people who are more likely potential customers.
Optimising Your Website
Once you’ve got your keywords selected, it’s time to do your on page SEO. Now I’m not gonna go through a full lesson on how to do on page SEO – we’ve blogged about that many times before, but here’s some obvious ways to boost your local keyword focus:
- Contact Us Pages – Make sure your target terms are featured here
- Website Footer - Your footer is featured across your website, so placing your target terms will reinforce the focus across your whole website.
- Title Tags – Title tags are still a very important on-page SEO element, so make sure your relevant pages have “local” terms included.
- Location Specific Pages – Consider creating web pages that focus on specific areas. You can include information on your experience in the area, why you’re the business to choose there etc.
Building Your Links
As per all SEO campaigns, link building is the foundation of your success. While you should follow all conventional link building techniques, Local SEO offers you some additional link building opportunities.
There are several web directories out there that target specific areas. As Google’s looking for relevant backlinks to measure your authority, seek out the local directories that focus on your area and ensure your business has listings in them all.
Many local and regional areas have groups that feature local businesses. Whether it’s a local chamber of commerce, or a community group, get involved in what they’re doing and try to get your business listed in their site. It’s local focus will help deliver a strong link to your business.
Business Review Sites
There’s plenty of business review and directory sites out there focused on local. Try to get your business featured in all the ones relevant to your industry. E.g. if you’re a restaurant, you might look at adding your business to urbanspoon, or if you’re an accountant, get a link from your accountant association.
Expanding Your Search Profile
While the key is to rank your website for your target search terms in Google, it also good to have other web properties you own rank for those terms also. It’ll help ensure potential local customers find your business.
Google Places listings feature at the top of the search results for most local searches. It’s critical that you have a Google Places listing for your business. Within this listing, make sure it include the search terms you’re targeting in your business description.
Most businesses are embracing social media in one way or another. So make sure that when you do you consider your local seo when posting information and links back to your business.
And if you needed further convincing that Local Search is important – here’s a handy infographic that details how Local Search has grown and why it’s such an important strategy.
Infographic by MDG Advertising