Irrespective of the size of your business, be it large or small; you need a customer! Not that alone, but repeated customers! Gone are the days when traditional offline adverts are sufficient; therefore, it is important to know how to get your product or service before your customers using the power of the internet.
What Is Local SEO?
Local SEO simply means targeting your website and online marketing efforts towards the local population, rather than the global population. Although, Local SEO is more than that in a closer look.
For clarity purposes on the importance of Local SEO; I am going to give you a short illustration. Imagine you run a Jewelry store called ‘Mine Jewelry.’ Your Jewelry store has a website and is listed in the online Yellow Pages. If a local customer knew your store’s name and wanted to find your telephone number, he or she could easily type “Mine Jewelry” into a search engine, like Google. Your company’s website would automatically appear at the top of Google’s result page, where your customer could easily view your website and find your telephone number. Awesome! But what happens if the customer does not know your store’s name or does not even know your business exists? How would he or she find a good place to buy the wedding ring? There is a very high possibility that he or she will still use Google, by typing something like “wedding ring for sale” or “original wedding ring in Florida.” If he or she typed in something like this your store’s website would still appear on the search engines results, but most likely there would be dozens or hundreds of other companies that would appear first. Your website may appear on page 40 of Google’s search engine result pages. If your company is listed as number 320 of a list of potential choices, then no one is likely to find your store.
You see, when the Internet first started becoming popular in the late 90s people became excited about the fact that not only could they easily communicate with those in their neighborhood and surrounding communities, but with a global market as well. For businesses, this was big news because they were no longer restricted to the physical borders and boundaries. It wasn’t just big news for businesses, but also for everyone! Unfortunately, there was a problem, as all businesses do not need a global operation. As people running a small local mortgage shop only want to reach the people in their town, because they are most likely to be their customers. However, this might not be easy for both customers and business owners without Local SEO.
What is SEO (Search Engine Optimization)?
SEO is an acronym for Search Engine Optimization; a combination of strategies used to increase a website’s visibility and ranking in the search engines. In another word, it is a way of informing the search engines about the quality of a website, in order to drive organic (non-paid) traffic.
Mind you, SEO depends mainly on the content, structure, and links to a website. We just need to develop these things in a way, a search engine can understand better. But remember! While doing SEO to make your site search engine friendly, you should never ever forget the concerns of your viewers.
Why Is SEO Important?
For the purpose of this post; I am going to share with you some importance of SEO.
- Search engines are the biggest and best sources of web traffic. On this, there is no controversy; as you may already know the major ones, which are:
For sure, social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Google+, etc. can also generate a bunch of visitors to your website. But when it comes to the primary source, it’s always a search engine. And also, a newbie will always open Google to browse anything. Same stands true for regular internet users, whenever they when search anything like an article content, any type of services, products or even any information.
- Targeted Traffic: Another big reason which is making the search engines unique is that they provide highly targeted traffic. You’ll get people on your website, who are looking for your services. Search engines will do that on their own, if you have done your website’s SEO correctly. But if you don’t do that, search engines might not be able to find your site. In short, you’ll not be getting any traffic!
- You Get Free Traffic: Yes, SEO traffic comes at no extra costs. That is why it is very important to make sure your website’s SEO is done correctly.
What If I Don’t Do SEO?
Once your website is live, search engines will crawl it, to find out all about the website. Now, if a user searches for a topic related to your site, search engines will show it in its result pages. Search engines are brilliant and continually improving their technology to crawl a website more efficiently. But if you decide to ignore the power of SEO, here are some of the things that will happen to your business.
- Your Marketing Cost Will Increase: Yes, this is just common sense; the moment you ignore the power of SEO, you must be willing to spend more money on Google AdWords or Social media advert.
- Low Sales: This is inevitable, since the flow of traffic is reduced. In online presence, traffic is money – the more traffic you have, the more sales you will make. It is also certain that your sales will reduce.
Rightly done SEO can give you thousands of viewers, while some wrong moves can lead to your website disappearance from the top of search engine result pages, leaving you with almost zero traffic.
Black Hat SEO Approach V/s White Hat SEO Approach
Whenever it comes to SEO; there are two ways to it. You can either go the right but steady way or the wrong but hasty path. Here is how these may be described…
Black Hat SEO is the approach you use when looking for quick SEO results – it is a get-rich-quick scheme. This type of SEO focuses on optimizing your content only for the search engine, not considering human’s benefits at all. Ultimately this approach results in spammy, crappy pages, which often get banned very fast, often leading to severe punishment for the business owner – ruining their chance of building something sustainable in the future. Although, you might get a few traffic this way, but will continuously have to be on the lookout for search engine updates, and come up with new ways to dodge the rules.
White Hat SEO, on the other hand, is the way to build a sustainable online business – this is a slow but sure path. If you do SEO this way, you’ll focus on your human audience, trying to give them the best content possible and making it easily accessible to them, by playing according to the search engine’s rules. Needless to say, you should always go for white hat SEO!
How Search Engines And SEO Works
In order for search engines to decide on exactly how they are going to index and rank Websites, and the individual pages on these sites, all the major search engines send out a special software program known as a search engine robot (a ‘bot’), or ‘spider’, to see what each of those pages is all about.
While SEO (search engine optimization) is all about trying to understand what the search engines want, when they come to your site, making sure you ‘feed the spider’ exactly what it is looking for!
How To Rank On Google?
For this to be possible, you need to understand the division of SEO available:
- Keyword Research
- On Page SEO
- Off Page SEO
#1 Keyword Research
When it comes to keywords, your business type is irrelevant; as SEO is a game of Keywords. For you rank higher on Google, you know the keywords related to your topic or niche. Different keywords have different value depending on their search volume and competition.
Keyword Research is all about finding the intentions of the users to use search engines. What exactly the users are searching for your topic, are your keywords. Using the right keywords while implementing SEO on your website, is the best thing for your website. As it gives you an opportunity to have a clearer view of your targeted audience. It will increase your site’s relevancy on your topic, and that is a great thing for SEO and search engines.
Besides, you need to do proper research to find valuable keywords related to your topic before starting your website. Even if you already have a website and content on it, you can optimize it by using correct keywords.
#2 On Page SEO
On Page means everything displayed on the web page, and its back end programming. In On Page SEO, you need to optimize your website’s page and posts, etc. for search engines. In Short “Optimizing Content for Search Engine!” It covers a lot of things, so let’s break this into divisions.
Content is the biggest division of On Page SEO. You might have heard that famous quote about content that: “Content is the King,” an there is no doubt about that. Google’s first priority is to provide its users with top quality content, and with best relevant information available on the web. These days, Google also loves the right length of content. So, try to write long and informative. Content on your website isn’t only about the written article. It also includes videos, pictures, animated slides, and infographics, etc.
However, it is important you pay more attention to the followings for better content:
- Titles – Create eye-catching titles that raise the reader’s interest. You only have one chance to make a great first impression.
- Keywords – Pick keywords that are relevant, and will also help to bring people to your website.
- Links – Link to quality sites that compliment what your website is about. It’ll encourage sites in your niche to link to you as well.
- Quality – Try to publish unique and quality content. This prompts users to come to your site because they cannot easily find the content elsewhere.
- Freshness – If you are publishing content that does not age or becomes outdated, that’s great, but you also need to add new content on a regular basis. If you don’t have the time to add content to your website, consider adding a question and answer section or a blog to your site. While writing your content, don’t ever forget to embed your keyword research in the best possible and natural looking way.
- Website Layout
After optimizing your content, Website Layout is the next thing you need to take care of while doing On Page SEO. An example of the worst website layout is when someone has totally irrelevant categories as compared to their topic. Can you just imagine visiting a website with a bad layout, you probably won’t like to visit that site again… so, why would anyone else? That is why you need to make sure your website layout is awesome and beautiful.
- Website Speed
Yes! Website Loading Speed matters a lot! When a user searches for something and your website appears on search engine result page (SERP). Then that user opens your site, but the loading speed determines if the visitor is even going to stay on your website. Remember, Google loves when visitors spend a reasonable amount of time on your website. It is called Dwell time! Remember, it’s one of the factors that search engine uses to rank your website.
- Website Design
Website design is another critical thing to aid good user experience… Your website needs to be Responsive, and should have an Eye Catching Design. However, it’s unfortunate there are lots of websites with excellent content, but bad design. This will probably piss anyone off, and can even be worst when viewing on Smartphone…
You’ll surely get tired and at the end, and will stop visiting that site. Design is not just what it looks like and feels like. Design is how it works! Hence, always use Responsive and Eye Catching Design.
#3 Off Page SEO
Just like you have done the On-Page SEO, you also need to do Off-Page SEO to make your domain an authority before the search engines. In other words, we need to make our website trustworthy for search engines. And it will happen when other famous sites tell the search engine that your site has the best content about your topic. Now, how would it happen…?
You need to get your website referred from other famous resources on the web about your niche. In technical terms, it is called link building. Naturally, it’s an automatic thing! When you post high-quality content on your website, and share it with the interested people. Eventually, whoever like the content will link to it.
The best link building strategy is to create something awesome and let everyone know about it. But Remember: In today’s competitive environment, we need to learn about proper link building strategies. Then plan and execute pre-defined and practical ways adopted by some quality sites. And your hard work in that activity will surely pay you with better ranking in SERPs.
Moreover, here are the things that should be done:
- Use social network to promote your content
- Do some blogging and guest posting
- Refer your suggested solutions in discussion forums
- Photo and video sharing
- Relevant business and local listing
The Dos and Don’ts of Local SEO
Here are a few things that you can do to optimize your website locally for high Google ranking:
- Optimize your website for mobile: This will display your website correctly to customers accessing your website via mobile devices, tablets and Smartphones. Searching for local businesses.
- Include city and state in all of your website title tags: This will help both your organic and local rankings.
- Include your full address on your landing pages: Make sure that the address on your site matches the one you have on your Places Page. Also, make it a point to enter your address in the format used by Google Maps. Additionally, make sure that your address is written in “real text” (i.e., not an image).
- Include your phone number on your landing pages, including your area code: This will indicate to Google that your business is actually where you indicate it is located.
- Offer High Quality Content: This is definitely one of the reasons why customers view your website; so, don’t disappoint them. Your website content should be impressive and useful for your customers. It will make it easy for your customers to leave reviews about your business. Quality and effective reviews leave a good impression on your customers, it also influences your search engine ranking.
- Include Media: Videos and Images increase your appeal in your local market, by making your offers more tangible. Search engines love them! Visuals can boost your business rankings and appeal in the market. You can include customers’ testimonials, product demonstrations and customer service staff in your videos and images to make it more powerful.
- Correctly optimize the On Page Signals: On page SEO is associated with page title, URL, header tags, image alt text, and page content. You can consider the geographic area in which you provide service, including suburbs or nearby towns. You can place keywords, language and content to describe your business and the area with a consistent NAP (name, address and Phone) listing on online directories. This will help local searchers find your business.
- Use social Media: It is an established fact that some people check their Facebook account more often than their mailbox. You can create mini pages to drive your traffic to your business blog and utilize the social platforms to get more traffic.
- Use a Strong call to action: You can include a call to action on your business website. You can run an offer, free coupons, % off on products, etc. People always look for offers. With this you can get a great deal of traffic to your website. You can also include this offer information on your landing page.
- Don’t Use Black Hat SEO: It is true that you may experience temporary success using this method, but it’s long term effect can kill your business. Google and every other search engines frown at Black Hat SEO.
- Don’t Spam your customers: Just because you have the customer’s contact information that does not mean you should go crazy with your marketing strategies and send them an email every hour. If you do this, your customers will definitely unsubscribe from your lead list forever.
- Don’t over optimized: Search Engine Optimization is important, but do not try to over optimize your website. Search engines penalize those who try to game the ranking code to get to the top no matter what. Try to optimize for several keywords at the same time instead of just one.
That is not all! When it comes to SEO; you need to stay up to date. Which is why you need to be glued to a trusted source that will always keep you updated. To be honest, you need there is little or no success for any online business with poor SEO. No wonder smart business people are always updating their knowledge on SEO.
Unfortunately, I can’t help everybody; as I can only help those who are ready to help themselves. Believe me, this is not something you already knew. Do you want to learn the latest tricks of SEO? Do you like to learn the secrets of SEO experts? Do you want to have steady targeted traffic? Do you want to learn what works, and stop the try and error game? Then …..SUBSCRIBE …….
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