Local SEO - How Can It Help Your Business
14th December 2022
What is Local SEO?
When you hear the term “SEO” do you:
- Scratch your head?
- Get a cold chill run over you?
SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. It is generally understood to be a complicated, frustrating, but necessary thing. If you want to get new customers through online searches, you'll need to focus on SEO. There are several ways you can optimize your website and many tools to help your company get on the coveted first search page on Google. This is what using SEO helps you to do. Many people do not know that there is a process of SEO focused on local searches. Interestingly, 97% of those who use search engines have used them to look for local businesses. If you are a local service industry business, you should be focusing on local SEO. We have put together a list of the most important parts of local SEO.
List Your Company With A Google Business Profile
We cannot emphasize enough how important this step is. Your Google Profile is at the core of local SEO. Without it your local business will not stand a chance at ranking on the first page. The goal isn’t just to be on the first page but to hopefully rank in The Map Pack. These are the top positions for local businesses on Google and they provide your name, address, and pinpoint on their map. So what do you have to do to reach this highly coveted position? Well, the first thing is having a Google Business Profile. This is not the only step but it may be the most critical. You will enter key details about your business like address, phone number, website, and hours of operation. What if you don't have a physical business address but work out of your home? Enter your home address and select the option “I deliver goods”. This will hide your address from others when they see your profile. When prompted to, enter your business type. Think about what your business is. If it's a cleaning company, start to type this and Google should auto-fill for you. You’ll want to add some good photos to your profile that accurately describe what type of services you provide and really paint your company in the best light. Something we should also mention is that responding to reviews, whether they are positive or negative, is very important. You’ll want to post on your profile things like when you're doing promotions, when you are adding new services, or anything your customers might like to know about you. To learn more about Google Business Profiles, visit the website linked above.
NAP stands for Name, Address, and Phone. Make sure that your name, address, and phone number are the same across platforms like your social media pages, Google and Yelp. You also want to make sure on your own website that this information is correct. If Google finds that your information is inconsistent across other sites, this will hurt your SEO.
Prepare Your Website
Have you heard about keywords? This is also something that is VERY important in SEO whether it's local or SEO in general. When someone searches for something on Google, that phrase, or the grouping of words, is called keywords. Let’s say a customer in Tampa, Florida is looking for a carpet cleaning company in their city. They go to Google and type in “Carpet Cleaning in Tampa, Florida”. Google will now go look for websites that have those keywords on their main page or secondary pages. Your homepage should make it clear which communities you serve. Preferably, it should be added in some way to the title tag, meta description, and header tag. Think about words and phrases customers might use when searching for a business like yours. If you are a carpet cleaning company, someone might search for "carpet cleaning", "upholstery cleaning", and the "best carpet cleaners" in your area, The more ways you can add commonly searched phrases, or keywords, into your content the better chances you have of ranking at the top. Do you have a blog? This is a great way of getting keywords added naturally to your website. You can write articles about things that interest both those in your same field and your customers. There are ways of finding out what keywords your competitors are focusing on. Utilizing websites like Wordstream, Semrush, and Ahrefs will help you to use keywords to your advantage. Optimizing your page like this will be important to the process of ranking on the first page of Google.
Content and Backlinks:
Blog content is a wonderful way to increase your ranking on Google. Not only does it give you the ability to use keywords, as we mentioned earlier, but having well-written and interesting content helps your website seem more credible. Here at Squeegee, we use our blog as a way to provide educational material about Squeegee App and also to post about topics those in the service industry might find useful. You can certainly do the same thing on your website. If you can make use of Youtube in your marketing strategy, you can link your videos to your blog posts for related content or even to your other pages. Linking content from your site is another way of using the SEO idea of "backlinks". Backlinks are important because they show Google that your website and content are valuable to other websites and thus build a good standing. Getting backlinks can be a challenge, so do not overstress about it. It can come with time and writing good content. A great way to get backlinks is to guest blog for others and to have others guest blog for you. A word of caution, though. You will need to consistently make sure your backlinks are working as broken links will actually hurt your rating with Google.
Title Tags and Meta Descriptions:
Oh, how important meta descriptions and title tags are! When you search for something on Google those clickable links and descriptions underneath are the title tag and meta description. Here is an example of ours:
You will see the link highlighted in purple. This is the title tag and the meta description directly underneath. The meta description is just a few sentences about the website to create interest and tell the viewer what it is about. There are a few simple things to remember with these two parts of SEO:
- Most experts recommend keeping title tags between 50 - 70 characters. If greater than 70, your title is likely to be cut off. It will not hurt your SEO, though, if your tag is longer.
- According to Google there is no recommended length for meta descriptions, however, just like with title tags, the description will be cut off at some point.
- Don't forget to use your keywords in your title tag and meta description. Especially, locally focused keywords.
- The more interesting your title tags and meta descriptions are, the more likely it is that people will want to click on your link.
Alt text, or alt attribute, is added to images in your content just in case the image is not showing up. It is also helpful for those who are visually impaired. It is used to describe what the image is that is missing or is unable to be seen by the person looking at the screen. It's important that you add descriptions to your images throughout your website as when search engines look through your content, missing alt tags will hurt your ranking.
This Is Just the Beginning!
So there you have it. A simplified explanation of, in our opinion, the most important parts of local SEO. SEO has a lot to it and anyone who owns a business would benefit their company by investing in some good SEO training whether it be online or in person. We've just scratched the surface in this article but we hope you feel inclined to start digging into SEO more. You will start to see good results and hopefully, soon, you'll find your company on the first page of Google!