For any business, being found is key to being successful. For businesses with more of a local presence (maybe headquarters or one physical stand-alone location), being discovered is even more of a priority. Not to bash the guys who stand on street corners waving directional signage to get a potential consumer’s attention, but there are other more targeted ways to attract the right audiences and drive more business. One strategy that can drive huge returns is online search marketing.
Here are 6 search engine optimization (SEO) tips for local search.
1. Be Relevant
Local SEO is all about relevance. Merriam Webster defines relevance is as practical, pertinent and the ability to retrieve material that satisfies the needs of they user. Sounds a lot like what search engines like google.com and bing.com are trying to do, doesn’t it? It’s all about the user and helping them find what they seek. Good news is, relevance is a shared goal for the user, the search engines and your business with just the product or service.
2. Focus On The User
Brands and businesses ought to focus on creating user experiences and content that is highly relevant to user needs. Put the user at the center, what are they searching for? What problem are they trying to solve? Are they researching or ready to buy? Structure and create content focused on user needs and included localized unique content and keywords and your rankings, over time, will be rewarded.
3. Prioritize Your SEO
Prioritize your SEO efforts based on the intersection of business priorities e.g a particular product, website performance i.e. keywords related the product that convert well and consumer demand as demonstrated by local search queries.
4. Include Your Business Address By Location
Maybe your brand has just one location, or multiple locations. Either way, it’s important to let your users and search engines know just where to find you. Ensure your ‘on page’ content includes your business address and local permanent phone number. If you have one location, you can simply include this information in the footer. Ensure the physical business information matches the information on Google+ and other social and directory sites e.g. yelp.com to avoid confusion or degradation by the search engines. Claim the pages as the business owner, periodically delete duplicate listings and ensure the information is correct and complete on valid listing profile pages.
5. Get Specific With Metadata & Structured Data
Search engines use metadata information like page titles and page descriptions as input in determining the relevance of the users search query and a page on your website. The page title, displayed in the browser ‘tab’ label, holds SEO juice and must be 55 characters or less, include priority keywords relevant to page it belongs to, and the city if it for a particular location (this really applies if you have multiple locations). The same applies to the page description, which may get pulled into the search engine results. The page description is recommended to not exceed 115 characters. For headlines and sub-headlines use HTML H1 H2 tags. Structured data, also called micro-tagging, using schema.org syntax can further educate search engines about your website content. It’s critical that local SEO information like addresses, reviews, events and business type are coded into your website.
6. SEO & PPC Work Best Together
Want to ensure your local business is found the moment someone is searching for your product or service? Run paid search advertising, also called pay per click (PPC), in addition to your SEO efforts. According to a 2014 Google Study on Local Search 34% of consumers who sought local information on their computer or tablet made their way to a store within one day, and of those who used a smartphone, the number was even higher at 50%. It may take time to rank locally or nationally for certain keyword phrases, but by bidding on priority searches using PPC and including ad extensions for your address, phone numbers, website links you can ensure your brand is considered and found.
A delicate balancing act is needed between designing and writing for humans, staying true to the brand, and optimizing for search engines. Start with the user, provide helpful and relevant content keeping your priority keywords in play, and soon you’ll be playing with more qualified local organic traffic. Here at Rhythm, we want to know – “Can you come out and play?”
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