How to Get Started Improving your Local SEO

The introduction of the internet significantly impacted the way we conduct business, sales and marketing strategies, and more. With more platforms than ever before and billions of daily active users, businesses can have a nearly limitless reach online.

Compare that with the couple hundred that see a billboard or few thousand that read a newspaper ad, and digital marketing provides an inarguable benefit.

Google currently processes over 40,000 search queries every second. More and more, individuals are turning to Google to find answers, solve problems, and buy goods and services. Just like businesses would opt for names like “ABC Car Wash” to show up at the beginning of phonebooks, you’ll want to put effort into ensuring you show up first on local search results.

There’s no surefire way to land on the top of local search engine results pages (SERPs). Google is constantly updating their algorithm to be smarter. This means that your best long-term play is creating high-quality content that your readers will love, while also keeping the below SEO strategies in mind.

Figure out what your buyers are searching for.

It doesn’t matter if you show up on the top of search results for a keyword no one is searching for. A great local SEO strategy starts by defining your target audience and identifying the search terms they use.

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Consider what questions your audience has at different stages of the buyer’s journey. What are their pain points? Develop content that answers their questions, solves their problems, and helps them accomplish their goals.

Today, Google doesn’t like keyword stuffing, aka putting as many instances of a search term as possible in your copy. Instead, use keywords organically and sensically. Use long-tail and short-tail keywords to diversify your phrasing and increase your opportunity to rank.

Set your site up for success.

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Each page of your website that you want to be found via Google should be optimized for search. Once you’ve determined what your audience is searching for, you can use those keywords to optimize your website pages. Try to incorporate keywords logically in your page titles, headers, meta descriptions, and alt tags.

Each of your pages should have a unique title and meta description. Google only typically displays the first 140 characters of the meta description, so be sure to keep it succinct.

Unfortunately, Google can’t yet interpret images. The best way to help Google understand the content of your website and to support your SEO is by adding alt text to all of your images. Alt text should describe what’s in the image, using a keyword if possible. Adding alt text to your website is also a great way to ensure your content is accessible to individuals using screen readers.

Work on your brand recognition.

Even before finding other sources of traffic, you’ll first need to brand your business the right way. This should include getting a professional graphic designer to design a logo that is not only simple but also easily recognizable. Prospective customers should be able to quickly identify your brand online.

A key element of effective branding is ensuring a cohesive experience across all platforms. From Twitter to Facebook, to LinkedIn, your tone might differ slightly to fit the platform, but your overall brand personality should remain the same. The same goes for your graphic styling. Utilize the same colors, typography, and styling across any content you develop — online and offline.

Build your reputation.

Nothing comes close to reputation as far as marketing is concerned. That explains why businesses donate lots of money to non-profits and spend even more on public relations — a bad reputation can kill a business in a matter of hours. With that in mind, you should make sure you’re investing adequate resources in improving your reputation.

If you’re a local organization, work to get involved with community non-profits and other civic organizations. This is a great way to get your brand out in the local community and show you care.

Whenever anyone shares a bad review about your organization on Google, Facebook, or elsewhere, be sure to reply publicly. Don’t get into a brawl online, but be sure to apologize if necessary, and attempt to make things right. Seeing that an organization listens to feedback and works to improve based on it is actually better in consumers’ eyes than all positive reviews.

Establish backlinks.

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Backlinks take time to develop. The key tenet to building quality backlinks effectively is by creating awesome content that others can’t help but want to share. However, even developing the best content in the world, you still need to get it in front of an audience first.

Adding your company website to your social media profiles should be the first backlink you get. Then from there, you should regularly promote your website content in social media posts. While not as valuable as a link from Forbes or Wikipedia, these are still very important backlinks and are an easy way to start building momentum.

The most valuable links come from outside, high-authority sites. However, these can be difficult to attain. A great strategy is to start by looking at what websites link to your competitors and if there’s any outdated content. From there, you just reach out to the website, point out the content is out of date, and offer to link to your more updated content instead.

Another strategy for building backlinks is with guest blogging. With guest blogging, you and a relevant organization typically elect to swap blog posts. You get the opportunity to reach their audience, and they can reach yours. The SEO benefit here comes from including relevant backlinks in your article.

A final strategy to consider when building your backlinks is PR. Sites like Help a Reporter Out actively seek out subject matter experts to provide commentary on trending topics. Look for opportunities that align with your expertise and share your feedback, then include a link to a relevant article you’ve written or your website. Remember that the most value comes from high-authority sites. Try to focus your efforts there whenever possible.

Improve your internal linking structure.

Many businesses don’t realize the importance of being strategic about their linking structure. How you organize your site content can have a significant impact on your SEO.

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For example, your main website pages should be easily accessible via the navigation menu. Subpages should be tied to a main page with all your content falling in a logical hierarchy. Blog content should link to other articles on your site as well as product pages where relevant. Your product pages should link to contact information and your home page should link to product pages.

Skyrocket your SEO in 2021.

Today, search engine optimization is as important as ever. Unfortunately, it’s also a long play. Google takes ranking content seriously, as they want to always deliver on a searcher’s query. Focus your efforts on developing high-quality content that people will want to read and share, then from there ensure you’re following SEO best practices.

Remember that you won’t see results overnight. You need to be consistent for months, but once you start ranking for a few search terms, it will start getting easier.

Social sharing is a key aspect of SEO. Explore how you can put your blog promotion on auto-pilot with Missinglettr so you can focus more time on getting your site to the top of search results.

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