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After all, you’re busy running your business—something you know best—and don’t have much time to learn an entirely new marketing technique. However, even though it sounds scary, basic SEO strategies are a MUST if you’re going to have any chance of showing up on local search engine results pages (SERPs) when potential customers search for your business, and it’s especially important if your business is in a larger, more competitive city. SEO includes strategies and techniques you can use on your website and off of your website with the goal of helping your site rank higher when people search for your business, products, or services on search engines.
It involves a slew of concepts and strategies, such as long-tail keywords, metadata, verification codes, HTML, content marketing, online business directories, etc.
When you do a search online you start by entering a search query in the search box, something we’ve all done hundreds if not thousands of times. When you think about how people search for your business, you want to think of the terms your customers actually search and avoid industry jargon that you and your colleagues know and use. As an example, one of my SEO clients was a manufacturer of large commercial buildings and barns. It was challenging, but I was finally able to convince him that we had to write and optimize the content on his page for what his customers were actually searching for—pole barns—not the industry jargon term—post frame building. To find out what people are actually searching for, you can use paid and free keyword research tools such as Ubersuggest and KWFinder. Google also makes it relatively easy to figure out what people are searching for with their free Google Keyword Planner. You’ll notice on the SERPs when you search for a local business that there are paid ads from Google AdWords advertisers as well as Google local business listings (the map area). Keep in mind that you want to get on the search engines’ local listings AND organic rankings if at all possible.
The general rule is to optimize individual pages on your site for two to three keywords at a maximum. Now that you have a better understanding of local SERPs, let’s take a look at some on-site optimization you can do to rank higher in Google.
There are two pieces of HTML code that you must have on every page of your website, and it needs to be unique on all pages based on the content of the pages. The Title tag shows up as the title for pages in search results pages, and the description shows up underneath the title, as seen in the screenshot below with the title in a red box and the description in a blue box.
Thus, your Title and Description metadata tags end up being what people see when they do an online search, so you can think of this as a one-shot chance of capturing the searcher’s attention…almost like a mini ad. If you were searching for a veterinarian in Dubuque, IA, would you click on the above listing based on its Title and Description?
To see how your Title and Description appears for your website—or if you even have them on your site—go to a page on your site, right click, and select View Page Source.
If your Title is simply “Home” you’ve got some work to do and need to work with your webmaster to get this corrected. Keep in mind that all of your page titles and descriptions should be optimized to include keywords and to appeal to searchers in order to improve your click-through rate for organic rankings. Make sure your business name appears EXACTLY as you want it to across ALL directory properties. Setting up your local pages is fairly straight-forward, but you’ll definitely want to follow the three tips above as well as take the time it takes to set up these pages.
There are approximately 70+ other online local business directories that you’re also going to want to make sure to claim and optimize. Optimizing your website and online business directory listings for your business’s physical location gives you a great opportunity to get new customers and increase sales, and can even increase your chances of being found when people do a local search.
Once you claim your online business directories, you’ll be able to interact with customers that may leave positive or negative reviews about your business online. According to BrightLocal 88% of people trust online reviews as much as a personal recommendation. By taking a little bit of time to improve your online reviews and to ensure your satisfied customers leave reviews, you’ll increase the amount of trust potential customers have in your business. Again, if your site isn’t mobile-friendly, you absolutely need a new mobile-friendly site because you’ll get penalized by Google otherwise. Search engines check your site for frequent content updates, and they want quality content, not just a simple brain dump.
Blog posts are also the best way to optimize for targeted keywords and to create new content that can rank in search engines. Start by doing keyword research to find out what people are searching for, such as “how to find the best dentist,” “how do I make chicken noodle soup,” “what’s the best way to lose weight,” etc. This will help to build trust with your visitors while also creating more content that can rank in and get found by search engines. Do a little bit of this guide day by day and little by little and you will help your site rank higher in search engines, which will eventually mean more business for you and less traffic for your competition! While the steps for local SEO optimization aren’t difficult, it does take a mix of both on-page changes and online profile cultivation to get the best results. To increase the chances that your website’s location information is picked up properly by the search engines, Google recommends using structured data markup.
Once you’ve implemented structured data markup for the relevant web pages on your site, you can check to make sure they display properly by using Google’s structured data testing tool. Claiming and optimizing your Google My Business profile should be your first step in order to show up on Google Maps, which in turn gives you the opportunity to rank for local searches related to your business. While Google is a good start, it is by no means the only place online where you can establish a presence for your company. In addition, responding to reviews (negative reviews in particular) builds trust and can influence buying decisions even for people who do not visit your website directly. Once your site is optimized on Google’s placements, consider completing a business profile on relevant review sites and credible citation listings. To get started with optimizing your site for local search, download this quick Local SEO Cheat Sheet and optimize your website step-by-step. We all know that achieving search engine optimisation is vital for businesses and marketers, but it can seem like a difficult task.

When you create a blog, it is important that you do not stuff a lot of keywords into one post.
You can use more than one keyword in a post but the goal of your post should be so focused that you can optimise for one or two keywords.
The use of long-tail keywords is effective because website visitors will search for long-tail words with the aim of buying or finding out something specific. If you are going to include these keyword terms in your post, where should you place them to receive the best benefit? The title of the post is the first place where readers and search engines will look to determine how relevant your content is, so this is the natural place to start.
Search engines also examine your URL to determine what your post is about and the URL should relate to the title. Meta descriptions provide your reader and search engines with information about the content of your blog post, so you need to make sure that you provide them with information here. In the modern day, you need to make sure that your blog can be read by anyone, regardless of how they access your site or the internet.
The best way to ensure that you provide a high standard of experience to every potential user is to opt for a responsive design. The Meta description is the extra text that appears with your search results that provides people with information about what the link will provide.
While you will find many SEO experts tell you that you shouldn’t have duplicate content on your blog or site, there will be times when you have to provide information in a range of different ways to allow users to navigate your site. This should be straightforward but if you need further assistance, Google provides additional information on canonical tags.
While the text content of your blog should provide assistance in appealing to search engines, you will find that text is not the only form of content you can use. You can find out the alt text of an image by placing your cursor on top of the image and then you will see a small box popping up on your screen. Topic tags are a great way to organise your blog content but if you overuse topic tags, you may actually cause harm to your site.
The way to think about this is if that you use the same or very similar tags for all of your content, search engines will consider that you are using this content a number of times throughout the site. You should have a URL structure on your site that makes it easier for visitors to understand the content on your site and what your site is about. If you are able to create inbound links around your site, you will go a long way to showing search engine that you provide consistent and relevant content. If you are keen to find out more about SEO and the ways that you can impact on how search engines view your site, you should check out Google’s Webmaster Tools, particularly the SEO area. The tips I’m about to share are totally things you can do and can learn by reading this post and taking the time to implement these local SEO strategies. But don’t worry, I’m going to avoid the jargon as much as possible, and teach you the basics of local business SEO in under 15 minutes. The owner insisted that the correct term for a particular building was a “post frame building.” What he didn’t know is that more people were searching for the old-fashioned term “pole barn” when they searched online.
Even though AdWords is for pay-per-click (PPC) advertising, you can set up a free account and use their keyword planner tool to determine how many people are searching for your keywords, which works for SEO as well. You can use iSpionage to uncover all of the SEO terms your competitors’ rank for in order to identify which terms you might also want to target. It’s all based on how well Google thinks your site matches what the searcher is looking for. If your site is a WordPress site, you can also install the free SEO Yoast plugin which will make adding Titles and Descriptions to each of your pages a piece of cake. It’s a bit of a pain to get everything set up, but it’s definitely worth the trouble! Just like Google, Bing and Yahoo, you need to be consistent with your Name, Address, and Phone Number (NAP).
Instead, do a few each day or you can hire a professional SEO expert or an hourly worker to do the hard work for you. If you’re able to publish a new blog post at least once a week, that’s a great start that will help your search engine rankings.
Pick out one to two keywords or keyword phrases and write a blog post targeting those keywords. From one business owner to another, I know you definitely can learn to optimize your website (heck, I taught myself SEO 17+ years’ ago).
She’s been featured on the TODAY Show, ABC News, CBS News and other newspapers and radio outlets and is currently the owner of early bird digital marketing, a full-service digital marketing agency located in Cedar Rapdis, IA.
According to data from Google, 50% of mobile searchers, and 34% of people searching from a computer or tablet will visit a store within a day. Structured data is used to various applications identify and parse specific types of information. Various websites and platforms provide the means to further cement your local presence online.
Keep in mind that Google ranks your business for local search based on your physical address, not your mailing address. There are many options for local search including Manta, Yahoo Local and others – don’t discount the ability of niche local sites to bring in quality traffic to your business both online and in person. Having a presence on these sites often contributes to the information shown about your business in a local search.
Starting with your own website, optimize your current content and put a framework in place to ensure any new content is also optimized for local search. Having a Google My Business page is a good start, and provides a centralized way to update your business details across all Google properties. You need to please the Google algorithms while still ensuring that you are promoting your business. This means that the traffic you bring in from using long-tail keywords will be the right sort of traffic.

Your title should include your keyword (as close to the start as possible) and you should ensure that your keyword is under 70 characters.
This means placing your keyword in the URL and if you have to minimise your URL, be sure to retain the keyword.
Using your long-tail term in your Meta will inform your audience and your search engine of what you have to say. The best way to think about this process is to place yourself into the mind-set of the person visiting your site. The Meta description should have your long-tail keyword in it because it should be representative of what the blog post is about. If you have duplicate content but you are looking to ensure that both pages stay live, the use of canonical tags can help. This allows you to provide information that will ensure you are not punished for having content on your site that is available elsewhere on your site.
Images can play a role in explaining your content but search engines do not trawl and search for images, they are on the lookout for images that use alt text.
If your tags are too similar, you may find that search engines will punish you for containing duplicate content. You should try and find a wider range of topics tags, between 15 and 20, that are relevant, and then use these tags on your posts. Search engines prefer URLs that allow them to understand the content on the page, and which enables users to understand the content on the page. You should provide links to your content from all of your platforms, including social media, as this helps to retain visitors on your site and will also help to show that you are an expert and authority on a particular topic. This is a page that answers a lot of questions that people have on SEO and optimising their site so if you want to find out information direct from the source for search engines, this is going to be the place to check out.
He’s worked in Digital Marketing for over 10 years for companies like Utility Warehouse, NHS and hundreds more. Instead, use them around two to three times per page and be sure to use synonyms or other ways to describe the keywords you’re trying to rank for. Spend time completely filling out all of your business’ information on each of the directories, i.e. Put that link in your signature of every email you send out and add: “Tell us how we’re doing.
Remember, you’re writing blog posts for your visitors, so make sure you’re not pitching your business but rather you’re providing valuable, impartial content. And the fact that there are multiple steps to complete means that each box you check off becomes yet another way your business is differentiated from the competition since most businesses won’t put in the time and effort it takes to optimize their website and listings for organic search engine rankings. With local searches playing such an important role in driving more business, it’s no wonder competition is fierce for those coveted spots at the top of search results. For example, an address schema might be used to identify your street address so that it shows up properly on Google Maps. Therefore, if your business has multiple physical locations, you will need to optimize for each one. Items such as reviews, hours of operation, or other details may be pulled from your Yelp or Citysearch listings.
If you feel as though SEO is passing you by or you don’t know how to keep up, we are here to help. You want to make the content read normal, so use your keyword but don’t just throw it in for the sake of using the term. You have a chance to be engaging and creative with your Meta so try and provide as much information as you can in the limited character space.
If you are accessing the site or blog post on a mobile device, such as a tablet or smartphone, you want to receive the same high standard of experience as someone accessing the page from a desktop. One of the reasons for this is down to the fact that a responsive design only requires a single URL, which means that any inbound links you have will be focused on the one page. You should find that words people search for, which are included in the Meta description, will appear bold. This also provides search engines with the chance to link to the dominant or appropriate resource.
This is a related search and a really good way to think about alt text is to consider it as an interpreter for search engines. Using a wider variety of tags will help to minimise the risk of punishment for duplicate content while also potentially drawing more people to your site. The way that the URL is structured should provide a path, allowing users to navigate their way around the site.
For instance, if you’re a florist, you’ll want to try and rank for the search keyword “florist,” but on that page you can also use the terms flowers, flower arrangements, floral, funeral flower arrangements, etc. Make sure that the same is true on your website as well by using the correct name throughout your site and in the footer of your site as well. A rating schema might be used to display stars for a particular product, and a blog post schema might be used to display an overview of your blog post (complete with image) in search results.
This means that Google will have a stronger opinion about this page than they would if visitors were being sent to different URLs for the same content, depending on how they arrived at your site.
This makes your link stand out and it helps to convince people that your page has exactly what people are looking for.
Leave us a review by visiting XXXXXXX” and link directly to your Google My Business page’s URL. You will also find that they are a great way to positively impact on your SEO and this guide will act as an SEO checklist for your blog posts. It’s also helpful to put the exact address on your Contact Us page as well as in the footer of every page of your website.

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