Local SEO Fundamentals

Search engine optimization, or SEO has been around since the mid-1990s, but everyone is still trying to figure it out. In those early days, search engines had an automatic method of sniffing out relevant keywords and building links. Now, if you want to get clicks, the heavy lifting is on you.

The key to running a successful online business comes from good SEO practices. Keeping up those practices can be challenging for local business trying to compete with others in their field. For that reason, this article will pinpoint some key fundamentals of Local SEO.

Claim Your Business Listing

Over 40% of Google searches alone are for local merchants and services. 56% of those local businesses have yet to claim their business listings. An unclaimed listing keeps your company off Google’s top local search rankings.

It takes only a few minutes to register your business with Google. Another important listing you can claim is Google Places. Include accurate information about your current location, phone number, and business hours.   

Fine Tune Your Website

You might provide a service that’s in high demand, but your website is inaccessible. In addition to being visually appealing, your website needs to be professional. Any photos or video content should be the highest possible quality. Contact information should include an e-mail address. Maybe even provide links to your social media pages.

Once you’ve finalized your website’s layout, run a test on its connection speed. There are dozens of free speed tests online that can also provide detailed reports on a weak connection that needs improvement. If you’re going to build an impressive website, make sure the public will be able to access it.

Titles & Meta Descriptions

One thing that remains true from the early days is the importance of your site’s title and meta description. The title and meta description provides the user with a small peephole into your website’s content. These can be customized through HTML and can vary in character length.

Due to recent changes to the Google search page layout, title tags are limited at 50 or 60 words. The description text can vary anywhere between 160 to 200. When creating the title, focus on one targeted keyword and place it close to the beginning. Include the name of the city or area your business is located in to place your page among the top four local search results.      

Link Building

Your website is a digital piece of your community. So, it should make sense that you build your base through building links with site relative to your field. A surefire way to build links is through creating guest content.

The outlets for your content are endless, but it would be preferable to find a local source. Try doing a search for local blogs that are open to featuring guest content. Simply enter your current location (city, street, or state) and either “write for us” or “guest post.” The same can be done with industry-specific locations. Replace the location with a trade specific keyword.

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