How To Do Local SEO
46% of Google searches are seeking local information.*
Do you want to rank your local business on search engines like Google and Bing? In today’s market, the success of your local business relies on the success of your local SEO strategy. To help optimize your business for Local SEO, we’re breaking down the best practices, tools, and what search engines are looking for!
What is SEO & How Does It Work?
Search Engine Optimization, also known as SEO, is a practice of making sure your website (or web page) is attractive and useful for search engines. Some of the most popular search engines are Google, Bing, and Yahoo. These search engines are able to return information to searchers by crawling the content on websites across the web. SEO helps to make sure that those search engines are able to “read” your website, to understand that it is related to the person’s search. SEO practices can change where Google, for instance, ranks you on their results page.
How do SEO websites appear on Google?
When you search for something on Google, chances are the first page includes both organic and paid results. The paid results are from companies paying to display their information as an advertisement for particular search terms. These ads appear at the very top and very bottom of the page.
In between the paid ads are the organic search results. When you focus on good SEO, you can influence where you appear on the page without paying extra for advertising space. Traffic that comes from users who find your link on search engines is organic search traffic.
So what’s the deal with local SEO?
In today’s competitive digital world, SEO is more important than ever! Many businesses know that they need SEO but don’t know how to get it done. If you have a website, online store, or blog, SEO can help to grow your business. It can drive sales, build trust and credibility with potential customers, provide better user experience, and put you ahead of your competition.
With the continuous rise of mobile traffic and searches, local SEO means an increase in engagement, foot traffic, and conversions from people near your location. For small and medium-sized businesses especially, local SEO can help optimize your site to be found in specific cities, regions, and states. To start promoting engagement on the local level, optimize your Google My Business listing as well as social media profiles.
What are Search Engines Looking For?
To find information on the hundreds of millions of pages on the web that exist, search engines use robots, to build lists of the words found on web sites. This process is called “web crawling”. But what exactly are web crawlers looking for and how do they determine what deserves to be on the first page of search engines? It’s simple, they’re looking for words on your webpages and where they’re located.
- Headings: Headings can be used throughout a page to separate text into easy to read sections. These can be added to your website as you create new pages, or update existing pages. Search engines view tags as being terms of emphasis, so more weight is put on these words. Put key terms in the headings.
- Alt Text: Alt text is used to describe photos used on your website. Use descriptive short sentences in your alt tags. If it’s a picture of a red velvet cupcake and you’re a baker, try “Red Velvet Cupcakes – Available at ‘name’ Bakery”, or “Red Velvet Cupcakes Available in ‘your city”.
- Title Tag: The title of a page on your site appears in search engine results and at the top of a user’s web browser when they are on that page. It needs to be relevant and describe the main subject of your page.
- Meta Description: It’s a preview of what searchers are about to read and it helps search engines to determine how relevant your content is to what people are searching for. You can update this to include your search terms.
- Traffic/Visitors: Search engines track how many people follow their links, so make sure you focus your SEO efforts on popular pages of your website.
- Sitemaps: This is a file where you provide information about the pages, images, videos, and other files on your site and the relationship between them. Sitemaps help those robots crawling your website to get all the information you have available.
- Links: The words that are used to show a link in text is important! Include keywords in your links such as your industry, services, location, product names, etc.
- Backlinks: Links placed on someone else’s website that points back to yours. This includes how many people have shared your content on social media. The more backlinks you have, the more trustworthy your site appears.
What are Keywords? How Do You Choose Them?
Keywords are the words a person searches while looking something up on a search engine. Start by brainstorming terms that you think your potential customers might search for. Next, use a keyword tool like Google Search Console or Google Analytics to help discover the keywords your potential customers are already using. You should focus on highly relevant yet low competition keywords. Low competition keywords tend to more specific which makes it easier to craft tailored content for your site visitors.
Now that you have your keywords, where do you use them? Everywhere! Start by including the keyword in your page title, meta description, subheadings, content, images, and URL. Including your keywords in these key places helps to improve your SEO ranking.
Free Tools for SEO
- Google is the most used search engine on the internet and provides free tools and services that help you collect and analyze data about your business’ website and its performance. The tools and services include Google Analytics for analyzing page views and your website’s reach, Google Search Console which search for errors on your and test drives your site map, and Google Trends where you can compare keywords and analyze how users are searching Google.
- Keywoordtool.io is a free online tool that is an alternative to Google’s Keyword Planner. For every search term, over 700 long-tail, relevant keyword suggestions are generated. You can use this tool without creating an account.
- SEMRush is a tool that allows you to view your competitor’s best keywords. With a free account, you’re given access to 10 free analytics requests which includes an overview, organic research, backlinks, and more. Find the exact keywords that your competitors are ranking for and like Keywoordtool.io, enter a keyword and get a list of hundreds to thousands of keyword ideas. This tool is overall useful for simplifying on-page optimization.
Measuring and Tracking Your Business’ SEO Success
Now that you’ve put work into your local SEO strategy, you probably want to see how your efforts are paying off. Note, it does take time, typically months, to see the results of your SEO efforts. You won’t automatically rank at the top of every search engine but you can use Google Analytics to track your progress.
Google Analytics is a free website analytics tool that helps track your top metrics. Key metrics to track include:
- Your bounce rate means a user landed on your page and immediately hit the back button. This could be because your site didn’t include the information they were looking for or they couldn’t find it quickly. The lower your bounce rate, the better. You can decrease this by including internal links and call to actions.
- The time a visitor spends on your site helps to determine which of your pages are doing well. The more time a user spends on your site, the better. This means they like your content and that your site is valuable and contains quality information. If a certain page has a low amount of time spent on it, you may want to improve the copy or images.
- Know which keywords are bringing visitors to your site. If you notice you are ranking well for keywords that aren’t relevant to your business, you may want to change up your content.
- The source of traffic is where your visitor came from. What is organic traffic meaning it came from someone searching a keyword on Google? What is referral traffic and they found your site through a backlink from another website? Did they find you through a social media channel?
It’s clear that investing in local SEO is more important now than ever before. But remember, it takes time and consistent effort to get on top of search rankings and stay there. That’s why it’s essential to stay on top of your business’ SEO to boost your search engine rankings and listings. Start optimizing local SEO to take your business to the next level!
Learn More About Local SEO
Listen to our Marketing Manager, Allison, and Marketing Coordinator, Kristal, talk more about Local SEO strategies on our YouTube channel.
SEO changes rapidly! Stay up-to-date on the latest SEO trends & gain access to our best business resources by becoming an email newsletter subscriber!