At the end of 2015, I shot a video on 12 SEO Tips for Local Businesses in 2016. I received great feedback and some business owners even took my advice and saw some improvements in their Google organic traffic. Trust us, we know that some SEO practitioners out there run rather shady businesses, and others are highly secretive of what it is that they actually do in order to improve your rankings in online searches. Yes, SEO is a skill that takes years to hone, just like any other expertise, but when it comes to improving your local business' online presence, there are a few simple things that you can do on your own that most certainly will help.
Here are 10.
Make sure your website is mobile friendly.
I recently wrote this post on the importance of mobile friendly websites which basically states the utter necessity to be mobile friendly these days. Why? Because the number of mobile searches have surpassed the number of desktop searches, and these numbers continue to grow. Because Google is all about user experience, it prefers mobile friendly sites and has publicly stated on a few occasions that its algorithm will rank those sites that are mobile friendly ahead of those that are not. Don't worry, check out my post above for ways to fix this.
Fix Your Site Speed.
It is no surprise that the slower your site is, the more frustrated your users will be. If Google sees that your website has negative user signals (high bounce back rate or low time on page), it will most likely start moving you down in the rankings - and that is NOT the direction we want. Even if your site isn't turtle-crossing-the-street slow, it can always be better (unless it has a score of 100 of course, in which case YOU WIN!). This especially rings true for e-commerce sites. In fact, just 1 second slower page load time could cost Amazon $1.6 billion dollars of sales!
Get Your Brand Out on Local Business Citations and Business Directories.
As a local business, it is absolutely vital both for your brand and your SEO strength to make sure that your business is listed on as many relevant and high quality sites as possible. That means making sure that your business' Local Facebook Business page, Twitter, Google My Business, Yelp, Yellow Pages, Yahoo, etc. listings are set up completely - with a relevant business description (which include your keywords) and a consistent NAP (Name, Address, Phone Number) across all of your listings. This consistent branding shows Google that you are a trusted business that is serious about getting in front of your customers. Here is a list of the top business listing sites to start with.
Utilize Your Main Social Profiles & Link Them Together
Google loves brands. But how do they know which websites have an online brand? By building out branded social profiles and being active on them. That means spend some time creating your business' Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Youtube, About.me, etc. - by making sure that content is quality, relevant to your business and most importantly links to your website. For added strength, create a branded ecosystem by linking them all together.
Make Sure Your Main Keywords Are In Your Title and Your Content
It is amazing how many websites I see that don't have their main keywords in their title tags or in their content. Your keywords are the main phrases that you want your website to show up for when searching in Google. One of the most important places to put them are in your title tags. Also, you will need to include them in your content at least once. Just don't go overboard. Keep it natural. The days of stuffing a post with your keyword 25 times are long gone (Thankfully!).
Embed Your Google My Business Map
Remember I told you to create and optimize your Google My Business local listing? Well if you did it right, you should have a business map listing that points to the location of your business. Find this map listing, click "share", then click "embed map", then copy the code that it gives you and paste it into the footer of your site (the contact us page works too).
Make Sure Your Contact Information is Prominent and Consistent
No one likes to search around for information that should be easily accessible. So make sure that your phone number is prominently displayed and your contact info is easily found (usually put it in the footer). Remember when I told you to build local business citations with your NAP? Make sure that the contact info on your site is the EXACT same as it appears on these citations.
Develop a YouTube Channel and Embed Your Videos on Your Site
YouTube is a great platform to use to attract more clients. Especially those looking for more information or reviews about your business. If you have a well developed YouTube channel showcasing all of your services, products and testimonials, it adds to your online brand. Make sure that you include a link back to the relevant webpage in your video description and include keywords there as well. Once the video is uploaded, embed it back on your website. Not only does Google like when you use one of their flagship platforms, but it also will increase user's time on your site - which is a ranking factor.
Are Other Relevant & Authoritative Sites Linking to Yours?
Sometimes having a nice looking site is not enough. You need to pass relevance and trust to your site by having other powerful, relevant and trustworthy sites link back to you. How do you find these sites to link to you? Reach out to local bloggers, relevant industry blogs or even friends with websites and ask them to link to you. You can also hire a local SEO agency to help you with your link building efforts.
Get Traffic to Your Google My Business Page
Ever wonder how to get your business to show up in Google's local map listings? Well it has to do with your GMB listing being properly optimized and getting traffic and user signals to it. So how do you do this? Share your local Google Plus page with your friends, family and followers on your other social media profiles.
Investing in proper SEO efforts will propel your business website to the first page of the search engines and increase organic traffic to your site - ultimately bringing your business more customers. Don't rush it. This stuff takes time. Don't expect immediate results. Any SEO company that promises you fast results usually just wants your hard earned cash. Good SEO is a long term game, so make sure that you are ready to partner with whatever company you choose to work with.
Of course, we would love to be that company and are here to answer any questions that you may have. If you want to schedule a free consultation, please fill out this form or contact us with your questions.