6 Tips to Improve Local SEO

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In an earlier post, we discussed the why every small business needs a website.

Long story, short: everyone has a smart phone and wants to check if your business is legit. If you don’t have a website, I guarantee you someone is beating you and grabbing those web dollars.

In fact, this whole article is moot if you don’t have a website. Close your browser, navigate elsewhere. If you’re counting on the Yellow Pages and Facebook to help you get found, this article isn’t for you.

Owning and maintaining a website is easier than ever. There are still a few things that can easily trip up the average person – like SEO.

I know what you’re thinking… “SE…. ooooh, what now?”

SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization, and simply speaking, it includes all the little things you do that work together so that your website can rank higher on search engines like Google and Bing.

So what can you easily do to ensure people that are in your area are able to find you online?

SEO work chart with other strategies
This chart does a great job of displaying the pillars of SEO.

The Art of Getting Found: Keyword Research

Researching the keywords that you want to use for your market and industry is probably the most important thing you can do for your local SEO strategy – on your website and in social media.

This is a time-consuming task, but thankfully, there are awesome tools out there that can help you combine the best keywords for your business with local-based keywords as well.

One of my personal favorite tools out there for finding new keywords is the Keyword Planner within Google AdWords because not only is it a great tool, but it is also free.

Please see the infographic below for more information about the importance of grouping together 3-4 keywords.

Google Analytics report
You’ll begin to see your efforts rewarded on Google Analytics reports once you address technical issues like the user experience or technical issues that can bog down your site.

Make Sure Your Website Is Clear and Technically Sound

You can use all the keywords in the world, but if your website isn’t well-written and doesn’t clearly articulate what you do – if it isn’t user-friendly – then you have some work to do.

If you’re not sure where to start, Foster Growth offers a website review for $397.

If your website has many content editors and/or web developers, or you can’t remember if you use Yoast, and you have no clue when WordPress was updated, then you should consider a technical website audit.

Technical website audits tease out all of the nitpicky stuff that sometimes gets overlooked when updating content or during web development. Things like missing titles and descriptions, skipping the alt text box when posting a photo, or that great link to a cat video you posted 10 years ago – you know, the link you click on that no longer exists. …

All of these seemingly small, inconsequential errors add up. If you have too many errors then Google will penalize your website or stop crawling it altogether.

We run a technical audit report before we handoff a website to a client. Our specialty is providing small businesses with detailed technical audit reports. We will fix your site, or you can give the report to your developer to get everything fixed.

I love this checklist for getting more organic traffic to a website, these are the types of factors we look for when as design a site.

Word cloud social media and local SEO
Foster Growth partners with Social Media Managers to help small businesses improve their SEO efforts on social media.

Local SEO and Social Media

Social media is one of the easiest ways that you can boost your business’ local SEO.

Social media expands your audience and builds relationships with your brand.

Facebook and other networks can help you promote your business through local ads.

Foster Growth doesn’t specialize in local social media SEO tactics, but we can connect you with social media professionals.

If you’re not ready for a social media expert, most successful social media tactics that fall within ‘best practice’ for the particular social media platform are also good for SEO, as noted in the Forbes article Six Social Media Practices that Boost SEO.

Word cloud of Local SEO words
Sharing what you know with other websites (e.g., guest blogging, posting comments, etc.) positions you as an expert. The links back to your site (backlinks) can potentially help your SEO. Just don’t forget to include a link to your website.

Backlinks: Linking Back to Your Site Boosts SEO

Did you know that when another website links to your website that it potentially boosts your local SEO?

This is called “backlinking” and it is a very popular and easy way to boost your local SEO. In the past, pages with a lot of backlinks ranked higher than those without. Google uses a different algorithm these days, but it’s still important for boosting your local SEO.

Today, it is important to have backlinks from quality websites. Create links on sites that have authority within the scope of interest of your own website. (Authority means websites that have been around a while and post quality content.)

Getting backlinks can be as simple as writing a few awesome guest blog posts. Or, you could comment on relevant blogs. Just make sure you provide your website link!

Finding local businesses and blogs within your niche could also help drive people to your website.

When you write a guest blog, it’s important to ask for a “dofollow” link (instead of a “nofollow” link). Nofollow links won’t help your local SEO. Nofollow links tell search engines not to follow the link because it is non-authoritative.

You are more likely to get a “nofollow” link from a large entity like ESPN or CNN. A local niche website or blogger is more likely to give you a “dofollow” link.

For example, Foster Growth offers “dofollow” link and guest blogging opportunities (hit me up at jen@fostergrowthpdx.com to learn more about guest blogging opportunities).

Foster Growth can help you generate a list of potential backlinking opportunities for your business based on your industry and area of focus.

Small business desk SEO charts
SEO works for you around the clock. Integrate it into your workflow and rank higher within your community or industry.

Citations Can Boost Also Your Local SEO

One of our go-to sites for brick-and-mortar local SEO is MOZ Local. Moz Local allows you to search for your business and see where the inconsistencies lie.

It’s easy to forget that Google and Bing are computers. Moz Local shows you how confused search engines are if you use different phone numbers. Moz looks at the 3 most important citation factors: name, address, and phone (or NAP, for short). If those three elements don’t match, or are unlisted, it lowers your business’ Moz Local score.

Foster Growth employs a variety of strategies to boost local SEO, including targeted citations, submissions to data aggregators, and industry-specific directory listings.

Long-Tail Keywords: One Way to Crush Your Competition

Use more than 2 keywords together (long-tail keywords) to increase clicks and potential sales

When you search online, how many times do you use 1 keyword? When you search for “cute cat video” do you type in “cat” or “cute cat video”?

Long-tail keywords are combinations of keywords longer than 2 words (e.g., cute cat video). The videos you are likely to find, are the videos that also group together “cute cat video” in its description.

When we optimize individual web pages we integrate long-tail keywords that potential customers have been found to use in searches.

People are more likely to click and convert if you use long-tail keywords (see below).

Sound off in the comments  so we can hear your best local SEO tips!

Value of Long Term Keywords

Infographic Source: https://smallbiztrends.com/infographics/hidden-value-of-long-tail-seo-100011-2

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