The most basic step of any small business marketing strategy is to effectively position your brand to be found when people search online. It may seem farfetched to dominate in search results, but it’s actually simple once you learn key tips and tricks to boost your visibility on search engines.
It is also true that local business face more competition and challenges when it comes to search engine optimization. Local SEO practices are constantly changing to keep the pace with search engine updates.
If you want to stay in the game, optimize your local SEO strategy with these 5 tips.
1. Create a strong site foundation
Before adding fancy features to your website, a solid foundation should be the first priority. What good is it to rank well on search engines if your website doesn’t convert, load fast or offer a user-friendly experience?
Studies suggest, “nearly half of web users expect a site to load in 2 seconds or less, and they tend to abandon a site that isn’t loaded within 3 seconds. 79% of web shoppers who have trouble with web site performance say they won’t return to the site to buy again and around 44% of them would tell a friend if they had a poor experience shopping online.”
2. Optimize title tags and meta descriptions
Onsite HTML elements like title tags and meta descriptions reflect the contents of the website page and usually display in the form of SERP (i.e. search engine results page) and browser tabs as text.
Google has increased the width of SERP to 600px, while title tags fall between 50-60 characters. If you keep your titles under 60 characters, research suggests that you can expect about 90% of your titles to display properly. Also meta descriptions can be any length, but search engines truncate snippets longer than 160 characters.
With these factors in mind, your page titles and descriptions should be effective as they are visible to both visitors and search engine crawlers. Targeted keywords can be used to create unique, compelling and descriptive copy that drives click-through rates in the search engine results.
3. Leverage keyword research
The base of SEO campaigns include keywords. Proper keyword research will drive traffic to your website and increase page rankings on search engines. Keywords represent the terms and phrases online visitors type into search engines to find local businesses and information.
Almost every web page can be optimized to include geo-modifiers to identify precise names and locations. Geo-modifiers are location specific keywords designed to communicate the local intent of a search query.
When you search Google for a graphic designer, it will detect your location and give you the most relevant results near you. When you start building your keyword list make sure you use the following structure: “Keyword + Geographical Area = Geo-Modified Keyword”
For Example: Graphic Designer (Keyword) + Miami (Geo) = Graphic Designer in Miami
4. Boost local content
Another interesting local SEO strategy is to become a part of the local content scene. If you create a blog to discuss different local topics (i.e., news and events) it will attracts readers from that location; and possibly benefit from social media traffic as well. It doesn’t have to be about your business, but content marketing surely brands a business locally.
5. Outsource local citations
Outsourcing is another bright idea for a local SEO strategy. There are many third party businesses that allow the submission of local business listings. In this way, they use their connections to link submitted data to other associate websites.
Third party citation platforms like Brightlocal, Yext, Whitespark offer local citation services and work with data aggregators (Axciom, InfoUSA, NeustarLocaleze, Factual) to control listings, and give recommendations as to where you can submit, all while monitoring current citations.
If you start with a submission to around thirty websites it can ultimately lead to thousands of local citations through website linking.
This article has been edited.
Jihn Siepen works for a reputed seo company as a Digital Marketing Strategist. He is a regular contributor to numerous online magazines and journals and has been helping small business owners plan their strategies for success since 2009. Connect with @SiepenJihn on Twitter.